The Miles Community College Pioneer baseball team is back in Miles City after spending 10 days soaking up the sun in Arizona, and playing 11 games.
The Pioneers return home with a 5-5-1 record following their trip to Arizona. Although they lost the last five games of the trip.
“We played okay,” Pioneers Head Coach Jeff Brabant said. “We played to where we are at in the season. If there’s a disappointment, we didn’t compete in some spots. And that’s a testament to the quality of teams we played. I thought we played expecting to lose, rather than playing to win.”
Following a 5-0-1 start to the season, the Pioneers lost games to Arizona Western, GateWay, Pima, Central Arizona and Cochise College. In the latest NJCAA polls, Central Arizona is ranked 11th in D-II, while GateWay is eighth in D-II. MCC was ranked 14th in D-II last week.
The Pioneers will be at home in Connors Stadium this weekend, hosting the Napa Classic. Games will be held Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Connors Stadium and will feature fellow MonDak conference teams Dawson, Williston State and Dakota College. The games will all be non-conference games.
GateWay 5, Pioneers 4
Following their first loss of the season, the Pioneers and GateWay played like a pair of teams ranked in the top-20.
The Pioneers overcame a 4-0 deficit, but rallied with a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings to send the game into extras.
After three scoreless innings, GateWay pushed a run across in the bottom of the 11th to win 5-4.
Trailing 4-0 in the sixth, the Pioneers loaded the bases with one out and Zach Cortese came through with an RBI single to score Myles Wesener. Dylan Peterson then singled in Alan Ibanes to cut the score to 4-2.
In the top of the seventh, Lorenzo Webb led off with a single to center and Brandon Kemp reached on an error. But the next two PIoneers were retired, leaving the Pioneers one-out away from the loss.
But then Brayden Matheson, who had a base hit in each of the first seven games of the season for the Pioneers, came through with a double that scored both Webb and Kemp. The rally ended on the next batter, but the Pioneers had done enough to send it to extra innings.
The Pioneers best opportunity to take the game came in the ninth when Kemp hit a one-out double and was moved to third on a fly-out from Wesener. But Kemp was stranded, keeping GateWay alive.
In the 11th, GateWay took advantage of a base hit and an error, that was then followed by another single to score the winning run.
Austin Tennant took the tough loss for the Pioneers, throwing four innings of relief. He scattered five hits, striking out three and walking one. Riley Horn started on the mound for the Pioneers, allowing three runs on nine hits. He struck out six and walked three.
Peterson led the Pioneer offense, going 3-5 wiht an RBI. Matheson went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs and a double.
Pima 10, Pioneers 0
Following their heartbreaking loss, the Pioneers didn’t do much against Pima Community College.
Pima scored 10 runs on 11 hits, while the Pioneers aided them out with six errors.
Offensively, the Pioneers were held in check with just two base hits. Sean O’Connell doubled and Chad Mackay singled. Matheson was held without a base hit for the first time this season.
C. Arizona 14, Pioneers 2
The Pioneers got on the board first, but Central Arizona rattled off 14 straight runs against MCC.
Matheson made up for his hitless game against Pima with a first-inning solo home run, the first for a Pioneer this season.
That 1-0 lead was short-lived as Central Arizona scored five in the second, four in the third and five more in the fourth.
MCC got back on the board in the fifth when Wesener doubled in Ibanes.
Facing one of the top teams in all of junior college baseball, the Pioneer offense did muster nine hits in the loss. Andy Scott was 2-3 with a double and Wesener was 2-4 with a double. All but two starters had base hits in the loss.
Central Arizona rattled off 16 base in the win.
Cochise 11, Pioneers 1
In their final game of the lone roadtrip, the Pioneers could not overcome a long fifth-inning.
Entering the bottom of the fifth, the Pioneers trailed 1-0. But then Cochise sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on six hits. Four of those hits were for extra bases.
The Pioneers were held to just two hits in the game, a single from Peterson and a triple from Ibanes.