Pioneers play way to Bozeman

Posted 8/3/10

“We get to keep playing for one more week,” said a jubilant Pioneers head coach Mike Jameson, after watching his team score nine unanswered runs in the championship contest.

The Pioneers grabbed the lead early in the title contest, …

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Pioneers play way to Bozeman


Regional returnAfter a momentary third-inning hiccup, the Powell Pioneers American Legion baseball team emphatically played itself back into the Northwest Regional Class A tournament with a 13-5 victory over Laramie on Friday. The win delivered Powell its second Wyoming state Class A title in as many seasons.

“We get to keep playing for one more week,” said a jubilant Pioneers head coach Mike Jameson, after watching his team score nine unanswered runs in the championship contest.

The Pioneers grabbed the lead early in the title contest, using three consecutive two-out singles to chase home a pair of runs. Powell's lead would have been greater had Laramie not made an accurate throw to home plate to retire Auston Carter for the third out of the inning.

After the Rangers got a run back in the bottom of the second, Powell padded its margin, again with two outs. Olie Olson delivered the shot this time, bringing in a pair with a double to the outfield gap for a 4-1 Pioneers lead.

Laramie's only real threat came in the bottom of the third. The Rangers tagged Pioneer starter Scotty Jameson for a pair of third-inning home runs as part of a four-run inning that lifted the team to a 5-4 advantage on the scoreboard.

The moment proved to be the lone bright spot in Laramie's quest for a title. Powell immediately regained the lead on a Grant Geiser sac-fly to center field, followed by an RBI single off the bat of Jameson. Powell went on to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to carry an 8-5 lead into the final three innings.

The Pioneers went on to put the game away with two runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth inning. At the same time, defensively, Powell held Laramie without a hit in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames.

That didn't mean Pioneer fans didn't have their moment of late-game anxiety. Powell endured a few nervous moments in the bottom of the eighth as Jameson slumped to the ground with one out in the inning after suffering a leg cramp. Play was stopped for several minutes while coaches worked to loosen the muscle.

With gametime temperatures in the low to mid-90s, cramping was an issue both teams had to contend with. Play in the championship game was stopped a total of three times as players suffered the effects of the heat and Jameson could do little more than walk from third base to home plate while scoring a run in the top of the ninth.

Following Jameson's cramp, the Pioneers' starter handed out three of the four walks he issued in the contest. None of those came back to haunt the Pioneers, however, as he was also able to register three of his 13 strikeouts during that period.

“Scotty showed a lot of heart to finish it out the way he did,” said Mike Jameson. “Obviously he wasn't at 100 percent to end the game, but there was no way you were getting that ball out of his hand. He wanted it.”

Jameson also displayed that he wanted the victory at the plate as well. He finished 4-for-6 at the dish with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Colter Bostick added a 3-for-5 showing with another two RBIs and Auston Carter was 2-for-4 as the middle third of the Pioneers' batting order went a collective 9-for-15 in the championship game with six RBIs and another six runs scored.

In all, Powell connected for 14 hits off Laramie pitching. The Pioneers also capitalized on seven walks issued by Ranger pitchers and had a trio of batters reach base after being hit by pitches. Six of the 10 free base runners came in to score for Powell.

With the victory, the Pioneers improved to 42-14 2 on the season. After clinching the Class A title, the Pioneers opted to not play further on the tournament bracket and attempt to win the outright state championship. Powell would have had to defeat Gillette and then post back-to-back wins over Cheyenne in order to accomplish that feat. Tournament officials canceled the game to avoid the Pioneers being charged with a forfeit, calling the contest “unnecessary.”

“We're getting low on pitching arms and there's no need to play the game,” said Mike Jameson. “We did what we came here to do and now we have to go home, rest up and get ready for the week ahead.”

Opening banquet for the 2010 Northwest Region Class A tournament will take place Thursday night in Bozeman. The Pioneers will play their first game at 12:30 p.m., Friday, against the eventual winner of the Oregon Class A tournament. That state title game was scheduled to be played on Monday evening, after the newspaper went to press.