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Pioneers players come up big in Expedition League All-Star Spectacular

Pioneers players come up big in Expedition League All-Star Spectacular

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CASPER, Wyo. — The Western Nebraska Pioneers delivered plenty of fireworks during the Expedition League All-Star Spectacular.

On Monday, Western Nebraska’s JT Waldon took home the home run derby trophy.

The Clark Division, led by several current and former Pioneers, rallied to take the 5-3 win over the Lewis Division at Mark Lansing Field.

Both teams took a little bit to get their bats going, but the Lewis Division All-Stars built up a 3-0 inning lead after five innings of play.

The Clark Division started to make its move in the top of the 7th picking up a run to cut the lead to 3-1.

In the top of the eighth, former Pioneer Trevor Mattson scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Another Clark Division score on a passed ball tied the game up at 3-3, and an error gave them the lead.

Pioneers third baseman Cade McGee had a timely double that gave his team the 5-3 lead. The Clark Division would hold on for the win.

Pioneers coach Antonio Garcia skippered the Clark Division in its win over the Lewis Division. He said it was great to have a great group of talent for the All-Star Spectacular.

“I knew all these players were really good ballplayers. I was really excited to get them together as a group,” Garcia said. “They meshed the second we got on the field. They just love playing baseball, and you can tell it on their faces from the Home Run Derby to the end of the game (Tuesday night). They were just excited to play baseball with the other best players in the league. It was a really awesome two days for me.”

Garcia said he was never nervous about the outcome of the game.

“I, obviously, got some great ballplayers in this dugout. I knew we would find a way to chip back and get back into the game,” he said.

Garcia said it was a great first all-star experience as a coach.

“I’m really excited. For my first year, you couldn’t really ask for anything better,” he said. “It’s been an honor and I’m really excited that (the Pioneers players on the Clark Division team) got to share it together, and I got to share it with my staff as well.”

The Pioneers won’t have much time to celebrate. They are traveling to Fremont to take on the Moo for a two-game series starting on Thursday, July 22.

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Jeff Van Patten is the sports editor of the Star-Herald. Jeff can be reached by calling 308-632-9048 or emailing jeff.vanpatten@starherald.com.

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