LOVELL, Wyoming (STPNS) -- The Lovell/North Big Horn Mustangs American Legion baseball squad picked up their first two wins of the 2007 season Monday, winning the consolation championship at the Powell Memorial Day Wood Bat Tournament.

With a few players missing for various reasons, the Mustangs got off to a slow start in Powell, dropping their first three games.

They played well Saturday morning against a tough Billings Lobos squad but fell to the Lobos 4-0. After being crushed by Gillette 16-1 Saturday afternoon, the Mustangs played better Sunday morning but fell to Worland 9-6.



In consolation bracket play Monday morning, the Mustangs ripped the Powell Babe Ruth All-Stars 15-5, and they capped the tournament with a 9-4 win over Casper.

Coach Kelly Spann said Casey Pickett turned in a solid performance on the mound against the Billings Lobos Saturday, allowing three runs in an error-filled first inning before settling down to allow only one more run the rest of the way. The Mustangs struggled at the plate, managing only one hit.

One huge inning spelled doom for the Mustangs against Gillette Saturday afternoon. Trailing 1-0, the wheels fell off for the Mustangs in the fourth inning as they allowed 15 runs. Gillette got to starting pitcher Henry Sanchez and reliever Zach Scheid, who were let down by sloppy fielding as they fell victim to five errors in the inning.

The Mustangs got their only run in the fifth when Jordan Peterson doubled and scored on a base hit by Bryce Dickerson. Lovell had seven hits in the game but hit into some bad luck, hitting the ball right at Gillette fielders, Spann said.

Lovell got off to a shaky start against Worland Sunday, allowing five runs on three errors in the first inning, then allowing three more in the second against starter Mikey Hernandez. The Mustangs, meanwhile, hung in with one run in the first inning, two in the third and three in the fourth. Hernandez then settled down and allowed only one more run in the third and none over the last four innings.

Derik Rasmussen led the Mustangs with two hits in two official at-bats, and Pickett and Peterson scored two runs each.

Two victories

The Mustangs jumped on the Powell Babe Ruthers for four runs in the top of the first inning Monday then added one more in the second inning and three in the third to lead 8-0. They plated three more in the fifth and four in the sixth.

Sanchez started and went three innings for the Lovell nine. Erik Brimhall pitched two innings, Rasmussen one.

Pickett went 3-3 at the plate, Rasmussen 3-5 with a triple and Peterson 2-3 as the Mustangs out-hit the Powell squad 19-5.

Solid pitching by Pickett and timely hitting helped the Mustangs to a 9-4 win over Casper in the consolation title game. Pickett went the distance, allowing four runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in seven innings. Pickett didn?t allow a run over the first five innings, while Lovell built an 8-0 lead with four in the first, one in the fourth and three in the fifth.

Jake Lohof and Sanchez had a pair of hits each to lead the Mustangs.

The wins boosted the Lovell/North Big Horn record to 2-5. The Mustangs dropped a pair against the Billings Lobos on May 5, 7-6 and 12-1.

?Right now we?re trying to fight through the errors and the mental stuff,? Spann said. ?One bad inning kills them. I think they?re so used to losing that they need to learn how to win.

?We just need to turn that corner. We?re young and we?ll keep building.?

The Mustangs are off this weekend, then travel to Lander May 9 for a double-header beginning at 1 p.m.

Babe Ruth update

The north Big Horn County Babe Ruth program is growing, with two teams now playing in the Powell League.

The Rockies are coached by Ray Peterson, Brad Baxendale and Pat Wambeke, while the Athletics are coached by Devin Peterson, Reese Peterson and Brent Rasmussen.

The Athletics are 1-4 with their only win coming against the Rockies, 9-7, on May 10. The Rockies were 0-7 heading into Tuesday night?s game against the Reds.

Peterson said he is pleased to see 28 players out for Babe Ruth baseball. He credits the surge in interest to the new field being built in Cowley, as well as the consistency of the program over the last several years.

?The kids realize we have a consistent program and they want to play Babe Ruth baseball,? he said.

Peterson also said the players and coaches are excited about the new field, which has been graded, laid out and fenced. Some 60 spruce and deciduous trees have been planted around the field through a State Forestry Division $5,000 grant matched by the Town of Cowley.

The league put in a bid on the old lights being replaced around the Lovell football field and has trucked in 11 loads of red sand from Sheridan. The sprinkler system is just about in, and the backstop and retaining wall have been back-filled. Sod will be laid down soon.

Dugouts will be built this summer and will be major league style, with players able to step up to the fence to watch the game.

Also to be constructed is a utility building that will include water heaters, electric panels, a storage room, two restrooms, a concession stand and an announcing booth.