Baseball Bullpups have uber-tough regional at Buhler

By Steve Sell
May 15, 2017
Kendall Shaw

McPherson High and Buhler tried on two occasions to get in their regularly scheduled baseball doubleheader this season.

But both times it was rained out.

They could still meet, however, if they both win their semifinal games on Tuesday in Buhler in the Class 4A Division I Regional Tournament.

The Crusaders, the defending state champions, would appear to be a lock to make the 6:00 championship game. They play Ulysses in the first round at 2:00 and it would be an upset of seismic proportions if the Tigers would prevail.

MHS, though, has to get past tradition-rich Hays in its 4:00 semifinal game. In what was thought to be somewhat of a rebuilding year, the Bullpups closed the regular season with a 12-6 record.

“The single-game-elimination format is tough especially in a regional with Hays and Buhler,” said MHS coach Heath Gerstner, whose team is trying to get back to state for the first time since 2015 when it took second to Topeka Hayden.

Gerstner said he’s not even thinking about Buhler since Hays has been a perennial power for as long as it’s had a program.

“Hays is a well-coached team that can play with anyone,” Gerstner said. “They are a young team, but have beaten some good teams this season and we expect their best shot on Tuesday. Our focus is to throw strikes, play good defense and really stay aggressive at the plate and hopefully get some timely hits.”

MHS and Buhler met in last year’s regional championship game at Grant Complex and while the Bullpups led much of the game, the Crusaders rallied for the win, then stormed through the state tournament field.

“If we are fortunate enough to beat Hays, I do expect to see Buhler in the championship game,” Gerstner said. “Buhler as we all know is a quality team. Winning state last year shows they know how to get hot at the right time. They have quite a few faces back from that state championship team and trying to get a lead early in any postseason game is our goal. They have a deep pitching staff and their kids really compete.”