AUGUSTA – McPherson High baseball coach Heath Gerstner felt more like a master juggler on Monday.
Knowing his team faces its busiest week of the season, Gerstner had to manage his pitching staff judiciously with all hands on deck.
The result was a Bullpup sweep of Augusta in a matchup of teams ranked Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, in Class 4A Division I.
“The story of the day was our pitchers and trying to manage them with the new KSHSAA rules,” Gestner said. “With basically six games this week, we have to have pitchers be able to throw more than once for the week so we really had to use everyone and I thought our pitchers all attacked the zone and did a great job giving us a chance."
The decision was made early Monday to move the games to Augusta’s turf field because of Grant Complex being saturated, though MHS was still the home team on the scoreboard.
Game 1 didn’t start well as the Bullpups were down 6-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, but they stormed back with four runs, then added another in the sixth to get the game tied at 6-all. In the eighth, Mikey Saverino delivered a walk-off hit.
Dylan Werries stayed on a tear by going 3 for 5 with three RBIs, including a triple and double. Saverino also drove in three. Jeff Reed was 3 for 3 with three runs scored from the No. 8 spot in the order.
Werries worked the first three innings, Raine Reitsma pitched 2 1/3 and Gunnar Reiss was eventually the winner.
The Bullpups led Game 2 early 2-0, but the Orioles tied it with two runs in the fourth. It was all MHS from there, though, with a run in the fourth and pair in the sixth.
Gerstner employed four pitchers in this one, with Reiss earning his second win of the day. Trey Hanken threw three scoreless innings to start the day, then Reed, Reiss and Jack Reifschneider all toiled.
“I would be remiss not to mention Gunnar Reiss,” Gerstner said. “That is his first two appearances on the mound this year and picks up two wins for us in relief. He has worked his tail off in his bullpens and flat ground and was just waiting for his chance to go compete for his team."
Werries again drove in three runs and had a key double. Reifschneider and Tyler Wheat also had doubles. Saverino chipped in with two hits.
MHS is now 6-0 in Division III with sweeps of Winfield, Circle and Augusta. But Monday’s wins were huge since they were against a ranked team.
MHS will hopefully be able to get in its suspended games with Salina South here Wednesday. The Bullpups will have to make a huge comeback as they’re down 5-1 in Game 1, which will be resumed at 2:30 at Grant Complex. A second game will follow. MHS also goes to El Dorado on Thursday.
There were no JV games on Monday.
• Game 1 •
MHS (7) — Werries 5-1-3-3, Saverino 4-0-2-3, C. Hoover 4-0-0-0, Hanken 2-0-0-0, Seidl 3-0-1-0, Myers 1-0-0-0, Reitsma 2-0-0-0, Reiss 1-0-0-0, Reifschneider 3-2-1-0, Reed 3-3-3-0, Sitts 3-1-1-0, G. Hoover 0-0-0-0.
• Game 2 •
MHS (5) — Werries 3-0-1-3, Saverino 4-0-2-0, C. Hoover 4-0-0-0, Hanken 2-0-0-0, Wheat 1-0-1-0, Seidl 3-0-0-0, Myers 2-2-0-0, Reifschneider 1-1-1-0, Reed 2-0-0-1, Sitts 2-2-0-0.