Mustangs drop two doubleheaders

David Peck

The Lovell Mustangs have been scuffling a bit lately, dropping four games in a pair of doubleheaders this week, though three of the four were close.

Saturday in Laurel, the Mustangs fell to the home team 7-3 and 4-1, and at home Tuesday, the Lovell nine fell to the Billings Expos 6-4 and 18-6.

The four losses leave the Legion A team 4-9 on the season.

“We are playing competitive games, but the expectation needs to change from being happy that we are competitive to expecting to win them,” Mustangs manager Michael Jameson said. “Those little plays turn into game changing plays in those types of close games.

“We have a lot of good baseball players who will do what it takes to be successful. Some maybe haven’t started the season off the way they maybe hoped, but I have all the confidence that they will get it figured out. We are just now getting our full team together, and it takes time to build that chemistry. We have big expectations for this group and are confident they will be right in the mix at end of the year.”

Lovell was clinging to a 3-2 lead after 5½ innings in game one Saturday, only to see Laurel score five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead and go on to win.

Hot Lovell bats produced 11 hits in the game led by Carlos Rodriguez and Matthew Newman with three hits each, Cash Wassmer and Jacob Bischoff two each. Rodriguez, Wassmer and Newman each ripped a double.

Lafe Files started on the mound and took the loss for the Mustangs, allowing five runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out a pair in five innings. Alex Hedges pitched one frame, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk, fanning one.

In game two, Laurel led 1-0 after two innings, then expanded the lead with three in the third. The Mustangs couldn’t put a run on the scoreboard until the sixth inning when Hedges singled to score Files.

Once again, the Mustangs had plenty of hits – 10 total – but had trouble getting baserunners home. Wassmer, Rodriguez, Tucker Jackson and Hedges had two hits each.

Blake Wilson was the starting pitcher and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks while fanning three in 3 2/3 innings of work. Newman pitched in relief, blanking Laurel over the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and walking just one.

Expos sweep

The Billings Expos pulled into town Tuesday and pulled off a sweep of the Mustangs, 6-4 and 18-6.

One bad stretch of baseball cost the Mustangs in the first game. Lovell led 2-1 and had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the fourth but failed to bring a runner home as the number two, three and four batters in the lineup each struck out.

Then in the top of the fifth, Billings took a 5-2 lead with four runs, aided by four Lovell errors and a hit batter.

To their credit, the Mustangs battled back to score two runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Rocco Rael and a double by Wassmer. Billings added an insurance run in the sixth to lead 6-4, and Lovell loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but could not bring the tying or winning runs home.

Wassmer led the Mustangs with three hits, and Bischoff, Rodriguez, Jackson, Kyle Wilson and Rael had one apiece.

Jackson pitched a strong game for the Mustangs, allowing six runs, but only one earned run, on two hits and two walks while fanning seven in six innings of work. Hedges blanked the Expos in the seventh.

One huge inning doomed the Mustangs in the nightcap. Billings led 8-5 going into the sixth inning, then exploded for 10 runs to put the game away.

Jackson had three hits, including a double, to lead the Mustangs, and Bischoff, Wassmer, Hedges and Files had one hit each. Hedges, Rodriguez, Bischoff and Rael labored on the mound for the Mustangs as Billings rapped 15 hits.

Busy schedule

The Mustangs have a busy week ahead of them. They travel to Riverton for a tournament Saturday and Sunday, playing Rawlins and Green River Saturday and host Riverton Sunday. They will travel to Cody for a doubleheader Tuesday at 5 p.m.

The Mustangs will travel to a tournament in Watford City, North Dakota, June 6-9.