Pioneers reign as Region IX champions comes to an end

For the first time since 2005, the Miles Community College baseball team will not be playing in the North Plains District Series.

The Pioneers had won the last eight regional titles, including the last seven Region IX championships. And after Saturday, the Pioneers looked to be in prime position to add another banner.

But a pair of losses on Sunday to Southeast Nebraska ended the Pioneers season. MCC beat Glendive 11-1 and Southeast 13-3 on Saturday, but fell to the Storm 15-8 and 7-2 in the championship on Sunday.

“I thought we had a good day and a bad day,” Pioneers Head Coach Jeff Brabant said. “Unfortunately our bad day, it’s hard to not define our season by it, but we can’t. It was just a roller coaster of a weekend.”

The tournament got off to a wet start, with thousands of gallons of water needing to be pumped off the infield tarp on Saturday morning. The tournament was pushed back a few hours, but that didn’t bother the Pioneers much.

After Southeast beat Dawson in the first game of the day, the Pioneers eliminated their rivals from Glendive with an 11-1 win.

The Pioneers led 3-0 going into the fourth when they exploded for five runs to push it to 8-0. In the top of the fifth, the Pioneers went ahead 11-0 on a three-run blast from Dillon Peterson.

Michael Gahan allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth, but the game was still called early with the mercy rule. Gahan scattered six hits. He walked three and struck out 10 in five innings.

The Pioneer offense had 13 hits in the game, six went for extra bases. Brayden Matheson was 3-4 with three doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Myles Wesener hit a pair of triples to dead center field and Peterson ended up 2-4 with three RBIs. Zach Cortese went 2-3 and scored twice.

Against Southeast on Saturday, the Pioneers broke open a pitcher’s duel with a huge fifth inning.

The Pioneers trailed 1-0 going into the fourth when Peterson and Gahan each had RBI singles to give MCC the 2-1 lead.

In the fifth, the Pioneers took advantage of two costly Southeast errors early in the inning that allowed the inning to continue. The Pioneers made them pay with nine runs, all unearned. 

Brandon Kemp came through with a three-run double and Wesener hit a three-run home run into the football grandstands that made the game 11-1.

Riley Horn allowed two runs in the bottom of the fifth that extended the game into the sixth inning when the Pioneers added two more to end the game after the sixth.

Kemp had a great game, going 3-3 with four RBIs to lead the Pioneer offense. Peterson and Gahan each went 2-4 and Wesener drove in three.

Horn got the win on the mound, going all six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

With the sweep on Saturday, the Pioneers were one win away from the region title. Southeast needed to beat the Pioneers twice on Sunday, and they did just that.

“I thought we went away from our approaches at the plate,” Brabant said. “And we didn’t do what we did the day before. That doesn’t discredit Southeast and their pitchers, you have to give credit to their kids.”

In the first game on Sunday, the Pioneers fell behind 4-0 going into the bottom of the second. They rallied for three runs in the second and two more in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead.

Southeast scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 6-5 lead and then they ran away with the game late, scoring four in the eighth and five in the ninth.

MCC pitchers allowed 16 hits in the game, allowing a season-high 15 runs. The offense had 12 hits, led by Peterson and Scott with three each. Peterson, Cayden Napierala and Kemp each drove in two runs.

With the season on the line, the Pioneers took an early 2-0 lead in the second championship game. MCC scored on an error and a Kemp single in the top of the second. But Southeast answered with five runs in the bottom of the second.

The Pioneer offense went quiet in the final seven innings, mustering just three hits.

Kemp continued his strong weekend, going 2-3 with an RBI and a double. Matheson and Peterson each wrapped up their MCC careers with doubles in the loss.

The Pioneers finished the season with a 36-10-1 record. The 10 losses are the fewest in school history. Kemp and Gahan will return as regular starters for the Pioneers next year. MCC loses 16 sophomores to graduation, including six every day starters in the field and three of their four starting pitchers.

Miles 11, Dawson 1

MCC 2 1 0 5 3 - 11 13 1

DCC 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 6 2

Batting

Miles (35-8-1)- M. Wesener 2-3, 2 runs; C. Napierala 1-4, run, 2 RBI; B. Matheson 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Z. Cortese 2-3, 2 runs, RBI; D. Peterson 2-4, 2 runs, 3 RBI; A. Scott 1-3, run; T. Reitz 0-0, 2 runs; B. Kemp 1-3, RBI; A. Ibanes 1-3, run.

2B- Matheson (3), Kemp. 3B- Wesener (2). HR- Peterson.

Dawson (16-22)- Hoch 1-3, run; Fischer 0-2; Young 1-3; House 1-2; Misrasi 1-3; Kautzman 1-3; Bird 0-1; Buckway 1-2; Sturgis 0-2.

2B- none. 3B- none. HR- none.

Pitching

Miles- M. Gahan (W) 5 IP, 1 run, unearned, 6 hits, 10 strike outs, 3 walks.

Dawson- Bean (L) 3 IP, 6 runs, 6 earned, 8 hits, 1 strike out, 2 walks; Pickler .2 IP, 2 runs, 2 earned, 3 hits, 0 strike outs, 0 walks; Hoyt 1.1 IP, 3 runs, 3 earned, 2 hits, 0 strike outs, 1 walk.

Miles 13, Southeast 3

MCC 0 0 0 2 9 2 - 13 10 3

SCC 0 0 1 0 2 0 - 3 6 5

Batting

Miles (36-8-1)- M. Wesener 1-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI; C. Napierala 1-4, run, RBI; B. Matheson 0-4, run; Z. Cortese 1-3, 2 runs; D. Peterson 2-4, 2 runs, RBI; A. Scott 0-2, 2 runs; M. Gahan 2-4, run, 2 RBI; B. Kemp 3-3, run, 4 RBI; A. Ibanes 0-3, run.

2B- Cortese, Kemp. 3B- none. HR- Wesener.

Southeast (35-23)- Regan 0-1, run; Moore 2-3, run; Dorn 0-2, RBI; Wilke 0-3; Vermeer 1-3, RBI; Johnson 1-3; Yost 1-3; Dooley 0-3; Palensky 1-3, run.

2B- none. 3B- Yost. HR- none.

Pitching

Miles- R. Horn (W) 6 IP, 3 runs, 1 earned, 6 hits, 8 strike outs, 2 walks.

Southeast- Conrad (L) 4.1 IP, 10 runs, 1 earned, 7 hits, 6 strike outs, 3 walks; J. Torell 1 IP, 3 runs, 1 earned, 2 hits, 1 strike out, 1 walk; A. Mourdant .2 IP, 0 runs, 0 earned, 1 hit, 0 strike outs, 0 walks.

Southeast 15, Miles 8

SCC 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 4 5 - 15 16 3

MCC 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 - 8 11 4

Batting

Miles (36-9-1)- M. Wesener 1-4, RBI; C. Napierala 1-4, run, 2 RBI; B. Matheson 0-4, run; Z. Cortese 1-5, run; D. Peterson 3-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI; A. Scott 3-4, 2 runs, RBI; M. Gahan 1-5, run; B. Kemp 1-4, 2 RBI; A. Ibanes 0-4.

2B- none. 3B- Peterson. HR- none.

Southeast (36-23)- Regan 1-2, 3 runs, RBI; Moore 3-4, 2 runs; Dorn 3-6, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Wilk 2-4, 3 runs, RBI; Vermeer 3-6, run, 4 RBI; Johnson 1-5, 2 runs; Yost 2-5, run, 4 RBI; Palensky 0-4, run; Morrow 1-3.

2B- Regan, Vermeer (2), Yost (2), Morrow. 3B- none. HR- none.

Pitching

Miles- D. Cortese 6.1 IP, 5 runs, 2 earned, 6 hits, 1 strike out, 6 walks; Z. Horton (L) 1 IP, 5 runs, 5 earned, 7 hits, 0 strike outs, 0 walks; T. Church 1.2 IP, 5 runs, 5 earned, 3 hits, 1 strike out, 3 walks.

Southeast- Valdez (W) 9 IP, 8 runs, 4 earned, 11 hits, 5 strike outs, 3 walks.

Southeast 7, Miles 2

MCC 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 5 0

SCC 0 5 0 1 0 0 1 0 x - 7 8 3

Batting

Miles (36-10-1)- M. Wesener 0-4; C. Napierala 0-4; B. Matheson 1-4; Z. Cortese 1-4; D. Peterson 1-3, run; A. Scott 0-4; M. Gahan 0-4, run; L. Webb 0-1; B. Kemp 2-3, RBI; A. Tennant 0-3.

2B- Matheson, Peterson, Kemp. 3B- none. HR- none.

Southeast (37-23)- Regan 1-2, run, 2 RBI; Moore 0-2; Dorn 1-3, RBI; Wilke 1-4, run; Vermeer 0-3, RBI; Johnson 2-4, run; Yost 1-4, run; Palensky 1-2, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Morrow 1-2, run.

2B- Palensky. 3B- Wilke. HR- Regan.

Pitching

Miles- K. Barras (L) 6 runs, 6 earned, 8 hits, 3 strike outs, 1 walk; B. Rook 2 IP, 1 run, earned, 0 hits, 2 strike outs, 2 walks.

Southeast- Adams (W) 9 IP, 2 runs, 0 earned, 5 hits, 5 strike outs, 1 walk.