After splitting a doubleheader with the Billings Halos to start the week, the Powell American Legion A baseball team ended the week on a three-game skid. The Pioneers dropped a home game to the 406 …
After splitting a doubleheader with the Billings Halos to start the week, the Powell American Legion A baseball team ended the week on a three-game skid. The Pioneers dropped a home game to the 406 Flyers on Wednesday and lost a doubleheader Saturday at Riverton.
Two of the three contests saw the Pioneers score in double digits, plating 14 runs in a 17-14 loss to Billings and 16 against Riverton, losing 26-16 in the second game of the doubleheader. The third was a 13-3 loss to Riverton.
“It was a wild week,” said Powell manager Joe Cates. “We didn’t play really good or really bad; it was a mixture of both. A couple of things happen here and there, and we have a couple of different ball games.”
The Pioneers are back on the road today (Tuesday) for a doubleheader at Lovell, starting at 5 and 7 p.m.
In his last two starts, Pioneers ace Colin Queen had looked almost unhittable, picking up a pair of wins and recording double-digit strikeouts in both contests.
For the first four innings of Saturday’s contest against Riverton, Queen was solid again, as Powell played the Raiders to a 3-3 tie heading into the bottom of the fifth.
And then the wheels came off. Queen gave up seven runs on five hits, including a grand slam and a pair of doubles, as the Rangers plated 10 runs total in the inning. That pushed the Raiders’ lead to 13-3 and ended the game via the mercy rule.
“He threw really good,” Cates said of Queen. “He was cruising until the fifth. That’s where he ran into a little bit of trouble.”
Riverton was aided by gusty winds blowing out toward left field.
“In the fifth inning, what they [Riverton] were hitting started to drop,” Cates said. “Then Queen gives up that grand slam with that wind just cranking out to left. It’s a routine fly ball on any other day. If that ball gets caught we’re only down by two.”
Both teams got off to a fast start, scoring two runs apiece in the first inning. With two on and one out, Garrett Stutzman doubled to score Kobe Ostermiller for Powell’s first run of the game. That was followed by a Noah Blough single that scored Cameron Schmidt, and just like that the Pioneers had a 2-0 lead.
After Riverton answered with a two-run inning of their own, the Pioneers re-took the lead in the top of the third. Stutzman and Blough opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and after a Cameron Wentz sacrifice, Stutzman scored on a passed ball, giving the Pioneers a 3-2 lead.
Riverton tied the game again in the bottom of the fourth, and broke the game open an inning later.
The Pioneers smacked nine hits in the contest. Blough led the charge, going 3-for-3 with an RBI. Stutzman and Ashton Brewer picked up a pair of hits apiece, with Stutzman driving in a run. Schmidt and Colt Florez also had a hit each in the contest.
Queen picked up his second loss on the season, giving up 10 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits and striking out six. Florez came on in relief, giving up the game’s final three runs on two hits.
Hits (and runs) came early and often in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, a 26-16 slugfest that gave the Raiders the sweep.
The two teams combined for 29 hits on the game, with 14 coming from the Pioneers. Once again, however, a big inning by Riverton proved to be the difference, as the Raiders plated 11 runs in the third to put the game out of reach.
Despite the score, Cates said there were a lot of positives to take from the game, especially at the plate.
“We put up a lot of runs,” he said. “Then we’re down 16 runs in the final inning and we put up a five-spot. The thing that killed us once again was that big 10-run inning in the third.”
As they did in the first game of the doubleheader, the Pioneers jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Back-to-back singles by Queen and Schmidt and a walk by Stutzman loaded the bases for Blough, who continued to be aggressive at the plate. After Queen scored on a wild pitch, Blough singled in Schmidt to make it 2-0. Stutzman scored on an error for the final run of the inning.
The Pioneers went on to score five runs in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth and four in the fifth. But with 11 Riverton runs in the third and eight in the fourth, Powell was unable to close the gap.
The Pioneers had a stellar game at the plate, with four players recording multi-hit games. Brewer had a game, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Queen was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Schmidt and Blough collected a pair of hits each, with Blough knocking in three runs. Ostermiller, Stutzman and Wentz each had a hit.
“We swung the bats well, we put the ball in play, we put pressure on the defense,” Cates said. “We had hits drop. There was never a second in this game that I thought we couldn’t hit the ball. We kept battling.”
The Pioneers used four pitchers in the contest, with Wentz getting the start and the loss. He gave up five hits and eight runs in two innings of work. Stutzman, Blough and Zane Cordes all pitched in relief, giving up a combined 18 runs.
The Pioneers welcomed back the 406 Flyers Wednesday, looking for a little payback for the Billings team‘s opening-weekend sweep.
But as much as the Flyers tried to give the game away with their dismal play in the field, they made up for it at the plate. The Billings club feasted on Powell pitching to the tune of 14 earned runs on 16 hits in an ugly 17-14 shootout.
Nate Brown got the start on the mound for the Pioneers and struggled from the start, giving up nine runs (six earned) on nine hits in two innings. The Flyers led 10-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth, and were poised to end the game early. But Powell battled back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs to cut the lead to 10-6.
Both teams scored five runs apiece in the fifth inning, and the Pioneers trailed 15-11 after a scoreless sixth. The Flyers scored twice more in the top of the seventh, and after allowing Powell three more runs in the bottom of the final inning, held on for the 17-14 win.
The Pioneers managed six hits on the game, led by a 2-for-4 performance by Blough that included a triple and an RBI. Ostermiller and Queen each had a hit and knocked in a pair of runs, while Landon Sessions doubled and Cameron Schmidt singled to round out the hits for the Pioneers.
Wentz and Sessions both pitched in relief, with Wentz going 3 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and six earned runs. Sessions pitched one inning, giving up one hit and one run.
The Flyers had eight errors on the game, with 11 of Powell‘s 14 runs unearned.