McPherson American Legion Post 24’s chance to avenge its only loss in the Hooper Showcase Baseball Tournament was spoiled by the rain on Sunday at Grant Complex.
After defeating Hays 5-3 in a terrific game Sunday that ended just before noon, the sky opened up and play was cancelled for the rest of the day after just three games were completed.
Post 24 had finished pool play 2-1, the only loss to Paola 8-7 on Saturday after it had led 6-0. It was to have played Paola in the 2 p.m. rematch.
At least McPherson was able to secure an important victory as the Hays game Sunday morning had a championship feel.
“That was fun,” said McPherson coach Tony Schmidt, whose team is now 14-2 on the year. “I’m glad we didn’t get nipped again. We needed to beat a good team and those guys are good. I’ve never seen so many foul balls hits. Out of (Caleb Schmidt’s) 62 pitches, Scott (assistant coach Graham) said at least 25 were foul balls.”
Cody Starkel gave Post 24 a 2-0 lead when he crushed a monstrous two-run homer in the first, only to see Hays come right back with two runs.
After the Eagles took the lead with a run in the third, McPherson retaliated with two runs in the fourth for a 4-3 lead, with “small ball” again paying off as Post 24 took advantage of two errors and ran the bases well. In the seventh, McPherson scored another run on a double by Marcus McDaniel.
Schmidt worked only 2 1/3 innings, but the bullpen was marvelous. Jacob Loecker unfurled 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before walking the first two batters in the seventh. McDaniel came on and the first batter sacrificed the runners to second and third. But he was able to work out of the jam to preserve the win.
Schmidt was very pleased with the work of his relievers.
“I’m going to say this and you can quote this — Loecker is sloppy, but almost always gets the job done,” he said with a laugh. “He has pitched really well for us all year and he did a great job today. Marcus is the guy we wanted to have in there in that situation because he wants to win. He’s a great competitor.”
Werries and Schmidt had two hits apiece for Post 24.
In the other completed games on Sunday, the Mo-Kan Giants hammered Arkansas City 10-2 and Wabaunsee knocked off Bonner Springs, 9-4.
Paola and Great Bend were the only two teams that had completed pool play with 3-0 records.
• McPherson (5) — McDaniel 4-0-1-1, Werries 3-1-2-0, Starkel 3-2-1-2, Kalkhorst 4-0-1-1, Eilts 0-1-0-0, Schmidt 3-0-2-1, Loecker 3-0-0-0, Saverino 2-1-0-0, K. Reed 2-0-0-0, J. Reed 3-0-0-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Sitts 0-0-0-0.
• Saturday’s Box vs. Paola •
McPherson (7) — Schmidt 4-0-0-0, Werries 2-1-0-0, McDaniel 4-3-2-1, Starkel 4-1-1-1, Kalkhorst 3-1-2-1, Steinert 01-0-0, Eilts 0-0-0-0, Loecker 3-0-1-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, Saverino 1-0-0-0, J. Reed 4-0-1-1, Sitts 4-0-1-0.
• Friday’s Box vs. Bonner Springs •
McPherson (11) — Schmidt 2-2-0-0, Werries 3-2-1-0, McDaniel 3-2-2-2, Starkel 4-1-1-0, Kalkhorst 2-1-2-5, Loecker 4-0-3-1, Sitts 4-1-0-0, K. Reed 3-1-1-1, Reitsma 2-0-0-0, Myers 0-1-0-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Eilts 0-0-0-0, Steinert 0-0-0-0.