ROSE HILL — McPherson High’s baseball team entered Tuesday’s doubleheader at Rose Hill having lost three in a row.
That and the fact the Rockets have been third in the state each of the last three years made for a potentially ominous combination for the Bullpups.
But MHS reverted back to its early season form by dominating both games with the Rockets, winning 8-1 and 12-1 decisions in what could be a landmark point of the season.
“First and foremost, we’re excited about the sweep over Rose Hill,” said MHS coach Heath Gerstner, whose team is now 5-3. “They have placed third in state for three straight years and we know what they are capable of. When our pitchers throw strikes and let our defense work, we have the ability to be pretty darn good."
Dylan Werries threw a strong game in the opener, with relief help from Trey Hanken.
“Dylan started Game 1 and just came out attacking the strike zone and making quality pitches,” Gerstner said. “We were able to jump on them early with a big inning and that just kind of set the tone for the night."
Werries and Casen Hoover smacked three hits apiece, while Alex Sitts had two and Gunnar Reiss had two, along with two RBIs. Jeff Reed also drove in two runs. Werries pitched five shutout innings and fanned five, but most importantly didn’t walk a batter while throwing just 60 pitches.
MHS ace Jack Reifschneider flashed his old form by fanning 10 in the second game as he worked into the sixth before handing the ball off to Raine Reitsma.
Mikey Saverino and Zane Myers pounded out four hits apiece, with Myers driving in two. Werries added two hits.
MHS’ offense came alive to take command of the game.
“I told our guys between games that I was nervous for Game 2 as I knew they saved their best pitcher for Game 2 and they definitely did,” Gerstner said. “I did not want us to lose our focus from Game 1. (Rose Hill pitcher) Griffin McBride is one of the best pitchers in the league and has been an All-State player since his freshman year and the past few years he has really overpowered us. Our guys just flat battled him and wouldn't give in. We had multiple two-strike hits, including a couple perfectly placed safety squeezes to give us a little cushion to allow Jack to go to work on the mound and let his defense work. Tonight we ran the bases like I know we can. We work on it every single day and we stole a ton of bags and went first to third all night.”
MHS’ JVs won 16-6 and 15-1. Spencer Whitfield and Brayden Stout combined to pitch the first game, with Shane Starkel and Landon Crews stifling the Rockets in Game 2.
MHS is scheduled to host Salina South on Friday, but heavy rain is in the forecast.
• Game 1 •
MHS (8) — Werries 4-1-3-0, Saverino 4-2-0-0, C. Hoover 4-3-3-1, Reed 3-1-1-2, Reiss 4-0-2-2, Seidl 3-0-0-1, Sitts 4-0-2-1, Myers 3-0-0-0, G. Hoover 1-0-0-0, Reifschneider 4-0-1-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Hanken 0-0-0-0.
• Game 2 •
MHS (12) — Werries 4-2-2-1, Saverino 4-3-4-1, C. Hoover 3-1-0-0, Reed 4-2-1-0, Reiss 2-0-0-0, Hanken 1-1-0-0, Seidl 3-1-0-0, Sitts 2-0-0-0, Myers 4-2-4-2, Reifschneider 1-0-0-0, G. Hoover 2-0-0-0, Reitsma 0-0-0-0, Wheat 0-0-0-0, Wiard 0-0-0-0.