Pioneers head to Kirby Drube Memorial

Posted 5/23/24

A week off from action has paid dividends for the Powell Pioneers ‘A’ baseball team, as a rested group will now head to Gillette Saturday for the Kirby Drube Memorial Tournament.

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Pioneers head to Kirby Drube Memorial


A week off from action has paid dividends for the Powell Pioneers ‘A’ baseball team, as a rested group will now head to Gillette Saturday for the Kirby Drube Memorial Tournament.

“I think that the cold went through (our team) last week,” manager Jason Borders said. “Sickness-wise we are going to be all right by this weekend.”

The tournament will feature teams from around Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska, with a majority of teams featured in the tournament being ‘AA’ level.

Powell (11-5) kicks off action against the Jackson Giants (6-7) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. before taking on the host Gillette Roughriders (19-6) at 7:30 p.m.

“Gillette finished second in the region last year, they’re going to be tough,” Borders said.

Heading into Sunday, the Pioneers will have one game at 5 p.m. when they take on the Bozeman Bucks (10-12).

Things will wrap up on Monday, with a doubleheader starting against the Westco Zephyrs (4-2), a team based out of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, at noon. Powell will then take on the Sheridan Troopers (10-9) at 2:30 p.m. to wrap up the weekend.

“We are going to see better teams than we’ve seen so far but I expect us to compete with them,” Borders said. “I feel like we can go there and compete. Just proving we can play at that level, that’s what gets us ready for state.”

All games will be played at Hladky Memorial Stadium, which will include a Hall of Fame presentation on Saturday night.

To date, the Pioneers have played 16 games and have enjoyed several different spells of victories mixed alongside a couple of doubleheader losses.

That has included two separate win streaks that have totaled five and six games a piece, as the Pioneers will look to move into the main part of their schedule now that school is approaching its end next week.

“I gave them a lot of time off last week. We’ve been back at it this week,” Borders said.

Powell kicks things off with this tournament in Gillette, and will make a quick pit stop at home next weekend for a pair of opponents from Billings. They then head into Montana for a pair of tournaments in Billings and Lewistown on consecutive weekends.

So far the Pioneers are led in hitting percentage and pitched innings by Cade Queen, who is hitting .472 while pitching 25.1 innings on the mound.

Brock Johnson currently leads the Pioneers with a .636 ERA, a .727 WHIP, while striking out 44 batters and only walking nine.

Powell has scored in nearly every game, but will look to rebound and clean things up after an error-filled, low-hitting day at home on May 12 led to a two-game losing skid.

“Our focus is to get better every day,” Borders said. “They know how to win the tough games when they have to. I think they’ll be focused and ready to finish this thing out.”

The Pioneers will have to deal with athletes being gone here and there over the coming weeks Borders said, but he knows the team is continuing to improve while also recovering from some early season injuries.

Now that the team has recovered from some of those early injuries and others continue to rehab in their return, Borders is hopeful that the team can return to its rotation that was established early on.

“I’d just like to get back to our normal rotations,” Borders said. “When we do, we play pretty good baseball when everyone is in the right spots … We have more options that we haven’t had the last couple of weeks.”

Borders said he is hopeful that the team will get back into its normal rotations, with the team focused on winning over the final two months of the season.

“These guys have been down this road the past couple of years where they’re expected to win. That’s where their focus is,” Borders said.