Behind solid pitching and a monster day at the plate, the Powell Legion A baseball team snapped a three-game skid Tuesday afternoon, sweeping a day/night doubleheader against the Lovell …
Behind solid pitching and a monster day at the plate, the Powell Legion A baseball team snapped a three-game skid Tuesday afternoon, sweeping a day/night doubleheader against the Lovell Mustangs.
On the road in Cowley, Pioneer starting pitcher Ryley Meyer pitched a gem in the first game. He threw six scoreless innings while giving up just five hits and striking out six in the 10-2 win.
“Ryley [Meyer] has become confident in his ability to throw strikes, and it showed,” said Powell manager Joe Cates. “He threw 17 first-pitch strikes that game. He’s dialed it in, and his confidence is there.”
In the nightcap, Powell plated six runs in the first inning, setting the stage for a 16-5 rout that was called after five innings. The Pioneers smacked 14 hits in the contest, with Colin Queen and Ashton Brewer driving in three runs apiece.
“The guys played well and did what they needed to do,” said Cates. “I think their confidence at the plate has been much better. They came into these games and swung the bats well. We still struggled a little bit with runners in scoring position, but for the most part, they got the job done. We did everything the right way tonight.”
Solid on the mound in his three previous starts, Meyer was still searching for his first win for the Pioneers heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader. Behind a defense that committed just two errors and an offense that smacked 14 hits, he finally got it as Powell took a 10-2 win over the Mustangs.
“Ryley [Meyer] was cruising, he was doing real well,” Cates said. “His pitch count got high, so we had to go a different direction. We had a couple of errors that extended his pitch count, otherwise he could have gone the distance. He threw great. It was just a good night for him.”
Powell got on the board in the top of the first, on an RBI single by Cameron Schmidt that scored Kobe Ostermiller. Ostermiller scored again in the third on a Jesse Brown sacrifice fly, and the Pioneers plated another run in the fourth to push their lead to 3-0.
After a scoreless fifth, Powell broke the game open in the top of the sixth, plating five runs. Back-to-back singles by Meyer and Noah Blough opened the inning, followed by a hard single by Ostermiller to clear the bases. Ostermiller then scored for the third time on a single by Queen to make it 6-0. Queen advanced to third on a Jesse Brown single, then stole home to make it 7-0. Brown scored on a Schmidt double, and the Pioneers led 8-0. The Mustangs loaded the bases on an error and two singles in the bottom of the sixth, but Meyer pitched out of the two-out jam by inducing a fly out to Brewer at first base.
The Pioneers scored twice more in the top of the seventh. Meyer smacked a double to lead off the inning, followed by a single by Brewer. Meyer scored on an RBI by Cameron Wentz and Brewer scored on a passed ball to make it 10-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. With Meyer’s pitch count hitting triple digits the inning before, Jesse Brown came on in relief for his first appearance of the season on the mound. He got off to a shaky start, plunking the first batter he faced and giving up two runs on three walks and a single. But after a vist to the mound by Cates and Schmidt, Brown settled in, striking out the next two batters to end the game.
“Jesse’s been sick, so he hasn’t thrown a bullpen in a while,” Cates said. “We went to him with a big, comfortable lead, and I think in the early stages he was trying to aim the ball. When Schmidt and I went out there, I told him just to rare back and throw, see where it goes. It changed his mindset a little bit and he struck out the next two.”
The Pioneers finished with 14 hits, led by three hits apiece from Ostermiller, Schmidt and Meyer; Schmidt and Ostermiller drove in a pair of runs each. Brewer had two hits, while Queen, Jesse Brown and Blough each had one.
“The guys are seeing the ball good, they’re swinging the bats good,” Cates said. “We’ve been hitting a lot at practices, and it’s paying off. They’re showing patience, they’re not so anxious to swing. Confidence is a big part of that — when you start hitting, it’s contagious. They’re stepping up to the plate knowing they can hit.”
Meyer picked up his first win of the season. Brown gave up two runs on one hit in relief, striking out three.
Picking up where they left off in the opening game, the Pioneers continued to dominate at the plate in the nightcap, hammering 11 hits en route to a 16-5 win over the Mustangs.
Powell got off to a fast start, plating six runs in the top of the first. Ostermiller led off the game with a double, and was driven in by Schmidt, who reached on an error. An RBI single by Meyer followed, and with two outs and the bases loaded, Brewer doubled to clear the bases, making it 5-0. Zane Cordes scored Brewer on the very next at-bat, and the Pioneers led 6-0.
“That first inning just came down to us putting the ball in play and making things happen,” Cates said. “It was great to see them jump out and keep rolling from game one, they never let up.”
Wentz got the start, and pitched well, giving up just one run in four innings. The game became a pitchers’ duel after the first — until the Pioneers exploded for nine runs in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a bases-loaded triple by Queen.
Up 16-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Wentz walked the first two batters he faced and was pulled in favor of Landon Sessions. The Mustangs scored four runs before Sessions closed the door, striking out two to end the game by the mercy rule at 16-5.
Every player in the lineup had at least one hit, with Schmidt and Cordes finishing with two hits apiece. Queen and Brewer knocked in three runs each, while Schmidt and Meyer drove in two. Ostermiller, Queen, Brown, Meyer, Sessions Blough and Brewer all had one hit.
On the mound, Wentz gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and struck out five in four innings of work.
“Wentz threw great. That was the best outing he’s had,” Cates said. “He found his curveball finally, and was throwing that for strikes. His fastball had a good downhill angle, and with a big, tall kid like that with that downhill angle, he can be tough to hit. And he’s throwing harder than he has been.”
Sessions gave up two runs on four hits and struck out two in his inning of relief.
The Pioneers head north today (Thursday) for the Harold Gjerde Memorial Tournament in Lewistown, Montana. Cates said he hopes the momentum from Tuesday’s games will carry over into the weekend, though the most important thing for his team at this point is to have fun.
“We enjoy the Lewistown tournament a lot, so we’ll go out there and have fun, get some guys some extra work,” he said. “Everyone’s going to throw — guys that don’t throw very often will get their chance to throw, and we’ll go from there.”