Heartland, Illinois dealt the Pioneers an 8-4 loss.
Three teams are left in the double elimination tournament, including Western, Heartland and LSU-Eunice, who all have one loss. The Pioneers have the tie-breaker for a buy into the finals, because they have played more games than Eunice and Heartland. The Pioneers will take the day off today and await tonight’s winner between Eunice and Heartland. The Pioneers will play that winner in the National Championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
It was not a good night for the Western pitchers who yielded seven runs, 13 hits, and issued seven walks.
Offensively the Pioneers also struggled. They had only six hits, far below their average, and struck out 14 times.
The fourth inning was an indicator on how the night went for Western. Trailing 6-3, the Pioneers had an opportunity for a big rally. They loaded the bases with no outs. But, Hazeal Wessin, Estoban Paula, and Marty Dunlap all struck out.
All the Pioneer’s offense came in two innings. Western scored three times in the second inning on a two-run scoring single by Shawn McAndrews and a run-scoring single by Wessin. The other run came from a solo hommer from Elvis Rodriguez in the 7th inning.
Despite the loss Western coach Kurt Russell was optimistic after the game.
“Sure we would have rather won the game,” said Russell. “But if we had won that one, and for whatever reason lost the game tomorrow (tonight) you might not have any arms left for Saturday. Eunice will have their number-one (pitcher) on the mound tomorrow, and we need an extra day of rest. We’ll be fully loaded. Right where we want to be.”
Russell said he will have a full staff of pitchers ready for Saturday, including his two top starters Erlin Santos and Skyluar Neal, along with Michael Peoples, Cesar Figuereo, and Victor Mendez.
Western has landed it’s first player ever in the Major Leagues. Andrelton Simmons has been called up to the Atlanta Braves. Simmons is scheduled to start at shortstop in tonight’s game at Washington.
Simmons played for Western in the 2010 season.