The young Lovell Mustangs continue to improve. First, they picked up their first wins of the season with a 3-2 record at the Green River Tournament June 17-19, and then it was their first conference win of the season Friday afternoon in Cowley.
That first conference win against the Riverton Raiders Friday came thanks to a dominating performance on the mound by Dylan Hultgren, who shut out the Raiders on three hits, 6-0. Riverton took game two 4-2 as Lovell Coach Bill Pickett played a number of younger players to get them some experience.
Hultgren was on top of his game in the first contest early Friday afternoon as he struck out six, walked only two and scattered three hits.
“Dylan did really well,” General Manager Ray Peterson said, who received a birds-eye view of Hultgren’s performance as the home plate umpire. “He had good control and he mixed up his pitches. He changed speeds and he was hitting the corners.
“It was just a well-pitched game.”
And when Riverton did hit the ball, the Mustang fielders were there to back Hultgren up.
“The defense stepped up,” Peterson said.
The game was knotted 0-0 until the bottom of the third when the Mustangs plated three runs. Dillon Pickett doubled home Hunter Hinckley, who had singled, and McKayan May singled to score Brandon Dickson and Pickett.
The Mustangs added three more in the fourth as Hultgren singled, Nathan Ballard was hit by a pitch and Hinckley singled. That set the stage for Jake Adey, who tripled to score three runs.
That was more than enough for Hultgren, who finished out the seven-inning gem.
Steven Pickett was strong on the mound for the Mustangs in game two, but he didn’t get the offensive (or defensive) support that Hultgren enjoyed. Riverton scored one in the first thanks to a pair of Lovell errors, two in the third and one in the fourth to lead 4-0.
The Mustangs got runners on base in each of the first five innings but didn’t score until the bottom of the seventh when Hinckley and Dillon Pickett singled and scored.
“We started slow,” Peterson said. “We hit the ball but didn’t find the holes. We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. We should have had a win.”
Steven Pickett took the loss for the Mustangs on the mound, and Hinckley pitched in relief.
Now 4-12, the Mustangs were scheduled to play in Riverton Friday, but that double-header has been postponed until July 7-8, with the first conference game set for July 7 in Riverton and the second as part of the Douglas Wood Bat Tournament July 8.
The Mustangs are scheduled to host Rock Springs in a non-conference twin bill this Saturday, July 2, at 1 and 3 p.m., then host the Cody Cubs Tuesday, July 5, at 3 p.m. for a conference pair.
Lovell will play Riverton, Douglas and Torrington in pool play July 8-9 at the Bolin Memorial Wood Bat Tournament in Douglas, then enter bracket play on Sunday, July 10.
Babe Ruth update
In a pair of Babe Ruth games played last Thursday, June 23, the A’s hosted the Powell Royals in Cowley and fell 10-0, while the Rockies traveled to Powell and fell to the Giants 14-4.
The Rockies were scheduled to play a double-header in Greybull Tuesday night, while the A’s were set to play two in Worland Tuesday.
The A’s are scheduled to play in Greybull tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m., and the Babe Ruth All-Stars are scheduled to host Cody on July 7.
By David Peck