A big pitching performance was the difference, as the Powell Pioneers beat the Laramie Rangers 8-5 at the Class A Legion baseball state tournament Thursday.

Powell starter Ty Whiteman kept the Rangers hitters off balance. That, combined with a key three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh, helped the Pioneers move on in the winner's bracket at Cowboy Field.

Whiteman threw 140 total pitches and scattered nine hits in the victory. He allowed only two earned runs, while striking out seven Laramie batters with just two walks.

Laramie manager Rich Wilson admitted Whiteman's curveball was effective.

"You work all year trying not to swing at that nasty pitch. There it is right out there in front of you; can't lay off it; it looks really good. He (Ty Whiteman) did well throwing it."

The Rangers struck first with two runs in the top of the second. Powell answered with three in the bottom of the frame. Laramie came right back with RBI singles from Nate Hill and Reid Baty for a 4-3 in the third. Then, the Pioneers scored twice and took the lead back at 5-4 through three complete innings.

Neither team scored until the Rangers tied it at five on Hill's RBI suicide squeeze bunt that plated Drew Burman.

Powell responded with an RBI triple, an RBI ground-out and an RBI single for the 8-5 lead. Laramie wasn't able to get anything going in the final two innings.

Hill led the offense with two hits and two RBI. Noah Hammontree took the loss on the mound.

The Rangers fall into the loser's bracket and will have to battle their way back if they want to defend their title. First up is a match-up today at Noon versus the Casper Drillers.

Wilson believes his squad has the mental prowess and capability to fight back.

"I know that for a fact. I just told them, keep your head up; we got a lot of work to do now; it's a long road, but it can be done, so let's get after it."

Coverage of Laramie Rangers baseball can be heard on KOWB (AM 1290) or on-line through our live stream by clicking here. The broadcast with David Settle will start at 11:45 a.m.