Pioneers Win Independence League Championship

(Written, Contributed By Chris Cottrell, KNEB Radio, Scottsbluff)

On the strength of a 3-2 win at home over the Spearfish Sasquatch on Saturday night the Western Nebraska Pioneers are the 2022 Independence League champions!

In a hard fought contest to close out the season the Pios got a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk it off for the title clinching win.

The Pioneers take home the title in the inaugural season for the league earning a sweep after a thrilling 15 inning win in game one of the series on Thursday night in Spearfish.

The title game featured top notch pitching all the way around. For the Pioneers Griffin Allen tossed eight strong innings allowing no runs on two hits with four walks and he struck out 10 while Brian Wrenn, the starter for Spearfish, struck out six in six innings allowing one run on four hits.

The Pioneers started the scoring in the bottom of the second inning as Antonio Nanez plated Ty Mead with a RBI single.

As pitching dominated the rest of the way it would stay 1-0 into the eighth inning when the Pioneers added, at the time, what looked to be a big insurance run as Stevie Hom drove in Ryan Callahan with a sacrifice fly.

In the ninth Allen was lifted for Ignacio Reynoso and the Sasquatch were able to rally and tie the game on a Bailey Bordas two run homer..

Also, want to thank Jake Sirkus for his dedication and hard work throughout the summer handling the broadcasts for us on KNEB.

Best of luck to all the Pioneers players and coaches moving forward and congratulations on the 2022 title season!

But in the bottom of the ninth the Pioneers got a leadoff double from Eric Smelko and then back to back walks set the stage for Ty Mead, who just had to show a good eye as he drew the bases loaded walk to bring home the winning run and secure the second title in Pioneers franchise history.

Head Coach Antonio Garcia will now leave for his assistant’s job at St. Louis University while the players scatter about the country to get back to campus to continue their college careers