By David Peck
The Lovell/Greybull Mustangs are off to their best start in many years and showed their strength by sweeping the Powell Pioneers last Wednesday, June 8, at Ed Lynn Field in Powell.
The Mustangs have been gaining on once unbeatable Powell, beating the Pioneers twice last year, once in Cowley and once at a tournament in Billings, but the Mustangs hadn’t swept the Pioneers in Powell for as long as followers can remember.
Lovell/Greybull won game one 15-2 as the Mustangs put together a pair of huge innings. Mustang starter Cole Wambeke and Powell hurler Ezra Andreason engaged in a pitching duel for four innings before Lovell broke the scoreless tie by plating six runs in the top of the fifth.
“I think we were a little bit tight with this being the first conference game,” said manager Michael Jameson, a former Powell player and manager. “Cole threw real well. He struck out seven. They had nine hits, but he did a good job not getting into any real trouble, minimizing threats and getting out of jams.”
The Mustang bats heated up in the fifth as Riley Hill doubled home Gehrig Sweat, Wambeke doubled home Hill and Will Lillard and Dawson Forcella tripled to score Trey Dickerson and Wambeke, then came home on a Jeremy Schneider single.
“Dawson hit one to the deepest part of the field,” Jameson said. “It was a legit triple. We got some momentum going and fed off of each other.”
After Powell got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the sixth Lovell/Greybull exploded for nine more runs in the top of the seventh. Powell walked home three runs in the inning, and Wambeke and Justin Bacus had RBI singles, Nic Haskell a sacrifice fly.
Lovell/Greybull won game two 3-2 as Jeremy Schneider pitched a gem for the Mustangs, allowing only one hit.
A throwing error allowed Powell to score first in the bottom of the first inning, but Lovell/Greybull scored two in the top of the fourth when Haskell “crushed a triple” to score Bacus, Jameson said, then scored on a passed ball.
Powell knotted the score 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Mustangs answered with a run in the top of the sixth when Hill tripled with two outs to score Sweat.
Schneider blanked the Pioneers in the bottom of the sixth, and Hill closed out the game in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory.
“We had excellent pitching,” Jameson said, noting that Schneider finished with 17 strikeouts, Hill two. “Nineteen of Powell’s 21 outs came on strikeouts. Jeremy had 17, Riley two. We struck out everyone on the team at least once except Carson Asher, and we struck out three players three times. It was a dominant performance by Jeremy, and Riley did a good job coming in and closing it out. He had two strikeouts and left the tying run on third.
“Powell has a longtime series edge, so to come in and take two on the road is good for our confidence.”
Rainout at Riverton
The Mustangs came into the week 8-9 overall and 2-0 in conference play ahead of a conference doubleheader at Cody Tuesday night. A twin bill at Riverton Monday was rained out after the team drove all the way to Riverton. That doubleheader has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 29, at 4 and 6 p.m.
Jameson said the rainout may be a blessing in disguise since the Mustangs are playing without Forcella and Hill this week due to a football camp and without Haskell because of a wisdom tooth operation.
The only scheduled date next week is a doubleheader against the Cody “B” team Tuesday, June 21, at 5 and 7 p.m. in Cowley.