GODDARD — McPherson High baseball coach Heath Gerstner said his Bullpups are in a stretch of games against top-flight teams that will be a true measuring stick of his club.
It started on Friday with a road triangular against Salina Central and Goddard Eisenhower and the No. 1-ranked Class 4A Division I Bullpups came away with a split to leave their record at 8-2 as they have reached the halfway point of the season.
Caleb Schmidt continued MHS’ fabulous season-long pitching in Game 1, dealing the Bullpups to a 6-0 victory over Central.
“I thought Caleb Schmidt had another outstanding start on the mound for us and got his first win after two other great starts had gotten him no-decisions,” Gerstner said. “We were able to create two nice big innings with our bunt game and some timely hitting. I thought we ran the bases extremely well and it was nice to see Dylan Werries have a bit of a coming out with some great at bats.”
Werries had two hits and two RBIs to pace the offense. MHS’ two big innings were the second and fourth with three runs in both.
In the nightcap, No. 6-ranked (Class 5A) Eisenhower jumped on MHS early and handed the Bullpups only their second loss of the season, 12-6. The Tigers scored five runs in the first and MHS came back with three in the second. But four more Eisenhower marks in the second inning blew the game open as the Lions pounded out 16 hits.
“The tale of the game was probably the first inning and our hats were off to Eisenhower as they came out swinging the sticks,” Gerstner said. “They hit some balls hard and also were able to hit a few dinkers that just fell in at bad times. They flat hit the ball that first inning and we weren't able to stop bleeding when we had the chance. Super proud of our team for battling the rest of the game and we never once felt like game was over. We had a chance to get right back into game in top of second, but they were able to work out of some jams. Today was a great challenge for our team. We wanted to see some high-level pitching and baseball teams and thought our guys stayed together as one team and really competed."
Mikey Saverino drove in three runs in Game 2 and Marcus McDaniel added two RBIs. Schmidt contributed two hits. Jack Reifschneider took the loss, and McDaniel and Jacob Loecker also pitched. McDaniel had five strikeouts in his 4 1/3 innings.
The Bullpups continue their gauntlet on Monday when Buhler comes to town for the annual rivalry doubleheader.
“We have turned 100 percent of our focus to Monday for a 5-1 Buhler team who comes to town,” Gerstner said. “It has turned into a nice rivalry game and I know our guys are excited to get out and compete again on Monday."
The MHS JV team came away with a split as well, but its win came against Goddard Eisenhower, 2-1.
The Bullpups scored a run in the top of the seventh to win it. Alex Sitts was 3 for 4 and Zane Myers contributed a key RBI. He had two hits, as did Wyatt Seidl. Raine Reitsma worked the first three innings, then Trey Hanken came on for four scoreless innings. Both struck out six.
MHS committed an uncharacteristic seven errors in a 9-2 loss to Central. A six-run fourth inning keyed the Mustangs’ win.
Seidl had two of MHS’ four hits.
• Game 1 •
MHS (6) — McDaniel 4-1-0-0, Werries 3-0-2-2, Hoover 3-0-0-0, Loecker 3-1-1-0, Schmidt 3-1-1-1, Saverino 3-1-1-0, Reed 3-0-0-0, Kalkhorst 3-0-1-1, Sitts 0-1-0-0, Reifschneider 1-1-0-0.
• Game 2 •
MHS (6) — McDaniel 3-0-1-2, Werries 4-0-0-0, Hoover 3-0-1-0, Reiss 1-0-0-0, Loecker 3-1-1-0, Reed 1-1-1-0, McCulley 1-1-1-0, Giddings 1-1-1-0, Schmidt 2-1-2-0, Eilts 0-0-0-0, Saverino 3-1-1-3, Kalkhorst 3-0-0-1, Reifschneider 4-0-0-0, Reed 0-0-0-0.