Pioneers battle back to .500 record

Posted 5/11/23

After an 0-4 season start, the Powell Pioneers have battled back, winning five of their last six games to reach .500 — splitting a road doubleheader with the Sheridan Jets on Saturday 5-4 and …

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Pioneers battle back to .500 record


After an 0-4 season start, the Powell Pioneers have battled back, winning five of their last six games to reach .500 — splitting a road doubleheader with the Sheridan Jets on Saturday 5-4 and 7-5 before sweeping Miles City in a doubleheader Sunday 10-5 and 3-1.



Beginning the weekend on Saturday in Sheridan, the Pioneers (5-5) got a preview of an ‘A’ East opponent in the Jets (3-3).

After a scoreless first inning, the Pioneers got on the board in the top of the second.

Trey Stenerson led off with a single, and advanced to second after a steal during Cade Queen’s at bat.

Cole Fauskee drove in Stenerson on a single and the Pioneers led 1-0 early.

The Jets had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, wracking up five hits and a walk to bring in four runs and make it 4-1.

An error in the third allowed Ryan Cordes to get on base to lead off. He stole second during Jhett Schwahn’s at bat to get into scoring position.

Cordes advanced to third despite a ground ball into a double play for Brock Johnson, and he was brought in by a Stenerson single to make it 4-2.

Powell wasn’t able to cut into the lead any further until the top of the sixth, when Stenerson led off with a single to get on base. He stole second during Aidan Wantulok’s at bat and was brought in on a Wantulok single to make it 4-3.

Ethan Welch singled to start the top of the seventh, and Cordes followed up with a single of his own to put two on with no outs. Johnson doubled to bring in Welch, but Cordes was tagged out at home — not allowing the Pioneers to take the lead.

Powell was unable to get another run in the inning — giving the Jets an opportunity to walk away with a win.

A single led off the bottom of the seventh and then a steal put a runner in scoring position for Sheridan. The runner advanced to third on a ground out.

A ground out into a fielder’s choice allowed the Jets to score and win the game 5-4.

“It was a questionable call at the end that could have gone either way,” manager Jason Borders said.

Schwahn finished giving up five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched with six strikeouts.

Johnson, Stenerson, Wantulok and Fauskee finished with RBIs for Powell.



In the second game the Pioneers again got on the board early, starting with Stenerson reaching first after being hit by a pitch in the second inning.

Stenerson stole second during Queen’s at bat, and scored on a Fauskee double to make it 1-0.

Jacob Gibson was walked, and Fauskee was brought in after a single by Welch.

A Cordes single drove in Gibson, and the Pioneers took an early 3-0 lead.

In the third, the Pioneers lead grew out further.

Stenerson singled with one out, followed by a Queen single and a walk to Wantulok to load the bases.

A double by Fauskee brought in Stenerson and Queen, helping Powell grow the lead to 5-0.

“With Fauskee playing well that gives us more freedom with the lineup to do different things,” Borders said.

Sheridan started cutting into the lead, scoring one in the bottom of the third to make it 5-1.

In the top of the fifth the Pioneers lead grew, starting with a Queen double with one out.

A Wantulok single advanced Queen, and a balk during Fauskee’s at bat brought in Queen to make it 6-1.

Walks and errors piled up in the bottom of the fifth, allowing Sheridan to get baserunners and cut the lead down significantly to 6-5.

A double by Cordes in the sixth and another double by Johnson scored a run to give Powell a little breathing room up 7-5.

Sheridan loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but a pop out to Wantulok at second ended the scoring threat and gave Powell a 7-5 victory.

Powell used five pitchers in the game, giving up three earned runs combined.

Fauskee led the way with three RBIs, alongside Cordes, Johnson and Welch each earning an RBI.



Returning home Sunday for another set of doubleheaders the Pioneers welcomed Miles City, a team Powell was supposed to have already faced this season but the contests on the road were canceled due to weather conditions.

Powell came out and got on the board early, after a single by Cordes led off the bottom of the first.

He stole second during Johnson’s at bat and to third on an error by the pitcher before Johnson drove him in on a single.

Miles City answered in the top of the third, after two errors, a walk and a single helped the Outlaws bring in two runs and take a 2-1 lead.

A single by Cordes led off the bottom half, and he advanced to second on a pitcher’s error and a bunt by Schwahn advanced Cordes to third.

A single by Johnson brought in Cordes and the game was tied 2-2 after the third.

Dalton Worstell reached on an error to start the fourth and advanced on a sac bunt by Caden Diaz.

Another error put Fauskee on base to give Powell runners at first and third with one out.

Cordes hit a sac fly to score Worstell, starting a string of runs for the Pioneers.

Three straight doubles by Schwahn, Johnson and Stenerson scored three runs, and an error scored one more on Queen’s at bat to make it 7-2 after the fourth.

In the sixth Powell got three more insurance runs after an error put Schwahn on base, a double by Johnson brought in Schwahn and a single by Stenerson brought in Johnson.

Queen singled to get on base, and a single by Wantulok brought in Stenerson to make it 10-2 heading into the final inning.

Miles City made things interesting in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs, but Powell was able to hold the visitors there for a 10-5 victory.

“Miles City is pretty competitive,” Borders said. “They put a good team on the field.”

Johnson finished 4-4 with four RBIs, Stenerson finished with two RBIs, and Cordes, Schwahn and Wantulok each earned an RBI.

Gibson pitched a complete game, finishing with four strikeouts and giving up zero earned runs.



The second game was much tighter between the two teams, with neither team finding a run until the third inning.
Powell got on the board first when Gibson was walked, Schwahn singled and Johnson singled to load the bases.

Three straight wild pitches scored all three on base, and Powell took a 3-0 lead.

Miles City answered with one in the top of the fourth, but neither team could find offense from that point forward.

Powell held off any scoring chances from the Outlaws, and walked away with a 3-1 victory.

“Any time we can sweep them I feel pretty good,” Borders said. “They are definitely a team that tests you.”

Johnson pitched a complete game, giving up two hits and one earned run while finishing with 10 strikeouts.



Powell remains at home this weekend, set to take on the Billings Cardinals at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’ll be nice to see them on our home field and see what we can do with them,” Borders said.

The Cardinals defeated the Pioneers in their first matchup of the season 4-3 on a walkoff three weeks ago in Billings.

Borders said the Pioneers are nearing full strength, and should have Kolt Flores returning to the lineup over the next couple of weeks.