MAIZE — The Maize South Mavericks are no longer undefeated, thanks to the McPherson Bullpups.
In a battle Monday of baseball powerhouses that are both ranked No. 2 in their respective classes (South in 5A, MHS in 4A Division I), the Mavericks improved to 11-0 after a 9-4 first-game victory, but then the Bullpups dealt them their first loss with a 12-8 second-game success.
"Maize South is really good and they were undefeated for a reason," Bullpup coach Heath Gerstner said. "They play a very tough schedule and we got better just by playing them. Extremely proud of the guys for scratching and clawing and finding a way to get a split. I firmly believe they will compete and have a great chance to win 5A. They are solid 1-9 in the lineup and really have a nice ball club."
MHS is now 12-4 with two doubleheaders left.
The day didn’t start well for the Bullpups as Maize South jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one inning, 7-0 after two and 8-0 after three.
The Bullpups also managed only four hits in the game and were sloppy in the field with five errors.
"I thought Game 1 left a lot to be desired," Gerstner said. "I thought we had a chance early in the game to create a big inning and really did not compete at the plate. As a team, we were not very good. Our guys knew the caliber of team we were playing and instead of focusing on us and our performance, we got caught up in how good they were. We played tight and without a lot of enthusiasm."
Jacob Loecker was a bright spot with two hits. MHS had runners on all day as it was the beneficiary of 11 walks. Marcus McDaniel took the loss, with Raine Reitsma doing a good job in relief by allowing only a run over the final three innings.
The Bullpups exploded at the start of Game 2, tallying 10 runs over the first four innings to build up a 10-4 lead. Maize South did make things interesting with four runs in the bottom of the sixth after MHS had stretched its lead to 12-4.
Alex Kalkhorst and Casen Hoover had two hits apiece. Kolby Reed drove in two runs. Micah McCulley worked into the sixth for the win, with Dylan Werries and Jack Reifschneider also taking their turns on the mound. Reifschneider had three whiffs in 1 1/3 innings.
"I thought Game 2 was an opposite of Game 1 and really proud of our kids for responding the right way," Gerstner said. "The energy and focus was where it needed to be and I thought our aggressive nature on the basepaths allowed us to create a couple big innings. I thought Kolby Reed had a big hit in the game that seemed to put in a dagger in them and then our ability to add a couple runs late in the game really helped including a nice hit by Alex Kalkhorst after he had struggled most of the day at the plate."
The Bullpup JVs are now 13-3 after a split. They won Game 1 in a 12-11 shootout, then the Mavericks captured Game 2, 8-2.
The first game sent chills down the MHS spines as it led 12-5 going into the final inning when the Mavericks scored six times.
Tyler Scott was 4 for 4 with three RBIs. Trey Hanken drove in three runs on two hits and Zane Myers added two RBIs. Myers was the winning pitcher.
It was all Mavs in Game 2 as MHS managed only two hits, one apiece by Myers and Jeff Reed.
The Bullpups return home on Monday to face state-ranked Andale-Garden Plain.
• Game 1 •
MHS (4) — McDaniel 2-1-0-1, Werries 2-1-0-0, McCulley 2-0-1-0, Eilts 1-0-0-0, Reitsma 0-0-0-0, Loecker 4-0-2-1, Hoover 2-0-0-0, Kalkhorst 3-0-0-0, Reiss 1-1-0-0, Seidl 4-0-1-0, Saverino 1-1-0-0, Reifschneider 0-0-0-0, Giddings 0-0-0-0.
• Game 2 •
MHS (12) — McDaniel 4-2-0-0, Werries 4-1-1-0, McCulley 4-1-1-1, Loecker 5-1-1-1, Hoover 4-2-2-1, Kalkhorst 4-0-2-1, Sitts 0-1-0-0, Reed 2-2-1-2, Reiss 3-1-1-1, Reifschneider 3-1-1-1.