Jr. Legion stuns top-seed Hays at Zone

By Steve Sell
July 12, 2016


• At Salina •

• Monday’s Games •

McPherson 14, Andover 2

Great Bend 9, Salina 8

McPherson 8, Hays 7

Salina 12, Andover 2

• Tuesday’s Games •

2:00 — McPherson vs. Great Bend

5:00 — Salina vs. Hays (loser eliminated)

8:00 — Loser Great Bend-McPherson vs. winner Salina-Hays (loser eliminated)

• Wednesday’s Games •

5:00 — Winner of Great Bend-McPherson vs. winner of Tuesday’s 8 p.m. game

7:00 — Extra championship game (if needed)

SALINA — It was a lost regular season for McPherson’s Junior American Legion baseball team as it struggled to just four victories — three of those against Newton.

But the second season — the Class A Zone Tournament — has been a different story.

McPherson followed up its 14-2 rout of Andover on Monday morning with a stunning late-day 8-7 victory over top-seed Hays, which had come in 18-4, according to McPherson coach Heath Gerstner.

“We played our best two games of the year,” Gerstner said. “Corbin Steinert threw Game 1 and really pitched well and then in Game 2 Trey Hanken pitched extremely well.”

Post 24 now plays Great Bend in today’s 2:00 game at Dean Evans Stadium in a battle of unbeatens. If McPherson loses, it’s still alive since it’s a double-elimination tournament.

Should McPherson make the finals against Great Bend, both teams would advance to state regardless of the outcome because Great Bend is hosting the state tournament and receives an automatic berth. Two teams must come out of this zone.

McPherson stunned Hays even though it was short-handed.

“The story of the day was a total team effort in the nightcap as we had only had 10 guys and all played,” Gerstner said. “We needed everyone to pull it off. The kids have been very resilient.”

What especially pleased Gerstner was that the team pounded out 16 hits against an obviously stunned Hays pitching staff. Zane Myers and Jorge Hanschu smashed three apiece, with Myers driving in two runs as did Tyler Scott. Joel Muhs, Shane Starkel and Honestee Whittker had two hits each. 

There was some pop in those hits as Myers had two doubles (he had hit two doubles earlier in the day against Andover), while Muhs and Whittker also had doubles.

Hanken fanned five in his 5 1/3 innings before tiring. Myers and Steinert finished it out. Down 2-0 early, Post 24 erupted for five runs in the second inning and tacked on two more in the fourth. Hays had only three runs through five innings before scoring two in both the sixth and seventh.

McPherson (8) — Reiss 3-1-1-0, Myers 4-2-3-2, Hanschu 4-0-3-1, Hanken 4-0-1-1, Steinert 3-1-1-0, Muhs 4-1-2-1, Starkel 3-1-2-1, Whittker 3-1-2-0, Scott 3-1-1-2, Wiard 0-0-0-0.