McPherson’s Senior American Legion never trailed against Paola on Saturday except when it mattered most.
Up 6-0 early and 7-5 late, Post 24 saw Paola tie the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, and then it squeezed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in the third day of the fourth annual Hooper Classic at Grant Complex.
McPherson finished pool play with a 2-1 record. Its opponent for Sunday is not known at the time of this posting.
“They’re a good team, they did what they needed to do to come back,” said McPherson coach Tony Schmidt, whose team is now 13-2 on the year. “I’m disappointed we lost, but that was a tough game and we lost to a good team. We haven’t faced a lot of tough teams this year other than Buhler. They (Paola) made it to state for a reason.”
Triples by Marcus McDaniel, Cody Starkel and Alex Kalkhorst helped propel McPherson to a 6-0 lead. But a three-run double in the fourth halved the score and then Paola pulled within 6-5 in the fifth.
In that fifth, Dylan Werries came on in relief of Kalkhorst and worked out of a second-and-third with only one out jam to preserve the lead.
But a monstrous two-run homer by Donavan Sutti in the bottom of the sixth tied the game at 7, his second bomb of the game.
After McPherson was scoreless in the top of the seventh, Paola strung together two singles and then a bunt where Post 24 tried to get a force at third, but the runner was safe. A squeeze bunt scored the winning run.
Scores will be updated on Sunday.