You can say this about McPherson’s Senior American Legion baseball team — it will keep its fans on the edge of their seats.
For the third straight game Post 24 played a white-knuckler as reliever Jacob Lackey was called on to finally finish off the pesky Salina Falcons 10-8 here Tuesday night.
Loecker entered the game with the bases loaded and McPherson leading 10-6. He walked the first batter to make it 10-7 and a wild pitch then made it 10-8. But Loecker steadied himself to get a strikeout and pop-up to end the game.
Post 24 had entered the final inning up 10-5 as Dylan Werries was trying to complete four scoreless innings of relief after replacing winning starter Raine Reitsma, who had toiled the first five. After retiring the first batter in the ninth, an error, single, walk and another single led to his exit.
The Falcons, who had offered little resistance in the two earlier games between the teams, slugged the ball all night as they actually had more hits (16-14).
“They hit the ball better than we did, but we ran the bases better (11 steals) than they did,” said McPherson coach Tony Schmidt, whose team takes a 15-2 record to Fort Scott this weekend for a powerhouse tournament that features a first-game matchup with mighty Lawrence Free State. “We’re leaving too many runners on base. We can’t keep doing that.”
Post 24 was remarkably consistent offensively, however, scoring at least a run in each of the first six innings.
Caleb Schmidt powdered four hits to lead the way, while Loecker and Jeff Reed had three apiece. Werries had two hits and two RBIs while Marcus McDaniel and Mikey Saverino drove in two apiece. Eleven of the 14 McPherson hits were singles, with Schmidt, Loecker and Casen Hoover stroking doubles.
“I think we were a little flat,” Schmidt said. “We beat this team like 16-0 the first time and think we had some of that (overconfidence) going on. But, I thought we pitched OK. They just hit and showed they’re a lot better hitting team than they showed the first time.”
McPherson (10) — Schmidt 5-2-4-0, Werries 4-1-2-2, McDaniel 4-0-0-2, Hoover 4-1-1-0, Loecker 4-2-3-1, Saverino 5-0-1-2, Reed 5-2-3-0, K. Reed 1-1-0-0, Kalkhorst 2-0-0-0, Sitts 4-1-0-0.