Pioneers split pair with Green River

Queen shines on the hill in 8-4 win over Knights

Posted 5/30/19

After dropping a home doubleheader to the 406 Flyers to open the 2019 season, the Powell Pioneers Legion A baseball team hit the road over the weekend in search of its first win.

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Pioneers split pair with Green River

Queen shines on the hill in 8-4 win over Knights


After dropping a home doubleheader to the 406 Flyers to open the 2019 season, the Powell Pioneers Legion A baseball team hit the road over the weekend in search of its first win.

The Pioneers found exactly that at Green River, splitting a doubleheader with the Knights to give both teams their first wins on the season.

“It was a pretty good weekend, I’ll give it that,” said Pioneers’ manager Joe Cates. “The pitching in both games was phenomenal.”

A Green River run in the fifth inning of the opening game of the day-night doubleheader broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Knights a 2-1 win, their first in 11 games. The second game was all Powell, as starter Colin Queen pitched a gem. The Pioneers’ starter allowed just one hit and one run in the 8-4 win, striking out 10 in five innings of work.

“Colin walked three and struck out 10 that game,” Cates said. “That was a great day for him. His curveball was OK; we gotta work on that a little bit, get that curve back where it needs to be. His changeup was good when he thew it for strikes. He just had a great game for us.”


Pioneers 8, Green River 4

After a rough outing against the 406 Flyers opening weekend, starting pitcher Queen took the mound in Sunday’s nightcap against the Knights with a renewed focus. The lefty got off to a fast start, fanning six of the first 10 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the third inning.

The Pioneers also figured out a few things at the plate, resulting in a lot more contact and cutting back on strikeouts.

“We as a team put the ball in play a lot more [than the first game] with just five strikeouts,” Cates explained. “We also had 12 walks, showing much better discipline at the plate. Their ability to recognize balls and strikes was a lot better.”

After two scoreless innings to start the contest, Powell got the bats going in the third, plating three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Kobe Ostermiller got things started in the third with a one-out single. Ostermiller promptly stole second and Queen walked; an infield single by Jesse Brown loaded the bases, setting the stage for Cameron Schmidt. The Pioneers loaded the bases twice against the Flyers a week earlier with nothing to show for it; capitalizing on scoring opportunities was something Cates said the team addressed prior to making the trip to Green River.

The recently-graduated Schmidt didn’t disappoint, jumping on a 1-1 pitch and driving a double to center, scoring Ostermiller and Queen.

“The guy threw Cameron [Schmidt] a curveball, and he did a great job of keeping his hands through the ball,” Cates said. “He hit a good line drive that just cleared the shortstop.”

With just one out and runners on second and third, Ryley Meyer bunted down the third base line, scoring Brown to give the Pioneers a 3-0 lead.

Powell plated another run in the fourth as Queen continued to help his own cause at the plate, singling in Garrett Stutzman to take a 4-0 lead. The scoring continued in the fifth, with a one-out single by Cameron Wentz that scored two, pushing the Pioneers’ lead to 6-0.

“Cameron Wentz came through with a great hit there,” Cates said. “It was nice to see one of my soccer guys hit the ball well.”

Green River rallied in the sixth and the seventh, scoring two runs in each inning. But the Pioneers plated two more runs of their own in the seventh, holding off the Knights’ rally to win 8-4.

“Getting that first win takes the pressure off,” Cates said. “We’re getting to where we need to be. Defensively I think we were pretty solid with three errors on the day. That’s a lot better than five errors in an inning.”

The Pioneers finished the game with seven hits, led by Queen (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Ostermiller (2-for-3, 1 RBI). Schmidt had the hit of the game with a two-run double that broke open the scoring for Powell; Wentz’s two-run single and a single by Jesse Brown rounded out the Pioneers’ day at the plate.

Queen picked up his first win on the season, giving up just one run on one hit over five innings, striking out 10. Jesse Brown pitched an inning and two-thirds in relief, giving up three runs on two hits (two earned) and striking out two.


Green River 2, Pioneers 1

The first game of the day-night doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel, with each team managing just three hits apiece for the game. The Knights scored a run in the third and one more in the fifth, winning 2-1.

“We had guys on base, we just couldn’t move them around when we needed to,” Cates said. “I think we struck out four times with runners on second and third with less than two outs. We definitely had a chance to win that game and blow it open, we were just unable to do so.”

Ryley Meyer got the start on the mound for the Pioneers, looking to atone for a disastrous first inning the team suffered in the season opener against the 406 Flyers. The right-hander was able to shake off that 10-run inning a week ago to pitch six solid innings against the Knights, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and fanning four. Meyer was credited with the loss, but Cates was pleased with his pitcher’s resiliency.

“He [Meyer] threw great, he battled all game long,” he said. “That was awesome as a coach to see. One of the things that I told him after the game was that I was proud of him; he’s had that ability to pitch like that for a while, to be able to go in there and pound the zone. I think he’s gotten over that hump he needed to get over, and I’m really hoping he’s going to have a breakout year. He has that ability.”

After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Knights finally broke the stalemate in the bottom of the third, taking a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers tied the game in the top of the fifth, when a sharply hit single to left by Schmidt scored Ostermiller. The tie was short-lived however, as the Knights plated the winning run in the bottom of the fifth. The Pioneers were unable to get anything going in their final two at-bats, and Green River held on for the 2-1 win.

The Pioneers finished with just three hits on the game, led by Schmidt’s RBI single. Ostermiller and Stutzman also finished with a hit apiece.

Next week is a busy one for the Pioneers, with home doubleheaders against the Billings Angels and 406 Flyers Monday and Wednesday, followed by a road doubleheader Saturday at Riverton. With a lot of baseball scheduled for a short period of time, Cates said the team will continue to work on the fundamentals.

“The nice thing is the Monday and Wednesday games are non-conference games,” he said. “Colin [Queen] and Riley [Meyer] will start on Monday, and the Wednesday game, I’d like to get some of my other guys who don’t pitch very often a ton of innings. I’d like to get Cameron Wentz ready to go, he could be a very good arm for me. I gotta get Nate Brown going, I gotta get Ashton Brewer throwing some. He’s [Brewer] a great athlete, but I don’t think his coordination has caught up to his body yet. He’s a great kid, he works his butt off when he’s out there for me.”

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