Pioneers launch Sabre Dogs into galaxy far away

Western Nebraska Pioneers’ Josh Robins pitches during an Expedition League baseball game against the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs on Saturday night at Oregon Trail Park Stadium.

The Western Nebraska Pioneers launched the Souris Valley Sabre Dogs into orbit in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on Saturday night at Oregon Trail Park Stadium in Gering.

Wearing moon-landing jerseys, the Pioneers rolled to a 16-0 victory. They will go for the four-game series sweep on Sunday at 4:35 p.m.

The Pioneers auctioned off their jerseys with the proceeds going to the Panhandle Special Olympics. Over $3,700 was raised for the organization.

The win proved to be a total team effort behind the three-hit pitching performance from Josh Robins and a 14-hit offense attack that included a home run in the eighth inning by Colin Ludwig to cap off the scoring.

Robins said it was a special night and the team played well.

“Everything was going the right way,” Robins said. “We got the early lead in the second and the hitting was really on tonight. I was out there trying to work quick and get through the inning quick. The guys were fresh coming out onto the field, and when they haven’t been on the field too long they hit really well.”

Robins said the crowd generated plenty of energy for the team.

“It was great to have a crowd that supported us and they were very loud tonight,” he said.

Robins was a big reason for the win. The right-hander went 7 2/3 innings allowing just three hits while striking out eight. The bullpen also was strong with Ty Callahan, Welinton Mariano, and Frankie Montesino keeping the shutout in tack.

“The pen was great tonight, too,” Robins said. “Frankie Montesino, an infielder by trade, came in and closed it out. That was really special. All around it was a great game.”

It didn’t take long for the Pioneers to take control of the contest, scoring six times in the second and a single run in the third for a 7-0 lead.

The Pioneers sent 11 batters to the plate in the second with six hits. Jordan Rathbone plated the first Pioneer run with a double to score Ludwig. Kole Kaler made it 3-0 with a 2-run single and the Pioneers kept scoring at will to lead 6-0.

Western Nebraska added a single run in the third as Carter Dobrinski scored on a Jacen Roberson single.

And, unlike Friday night where they let the Sabre Dogs claw back into the game, there was no letting up after the Pioneers added another six runs in the seventh on just three hits.

The Pioneers added another three runs in the eighth. The big shot was a rocket sent over the fence by Ludwig for the final margin.

Six different Pioneers collected two hits in the contest. Zack Peterson, Roberson, Alonzo Bibiano, Ludwig, Chance Medina, and Kole Kaler each had two hits. Ludwig had three RBIS and two runs scored to lead the team. Peterson, Cole Gambell, Bibiano, and Rathbone all had two RBIs.

The Sabre Dogs had just three hits in the contest. Lead-off hitter Phillip Childs had two hits while the second hitter Josh Paino had the other hit.

Sabre Dogs 000 000 000 – 0 3 3

Pioneers 061 000 63x – 16 14 0

WP – Josh Robins.

2B – Jordan Rathbone.

HR – Colin Ludwig.

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