OMAHA, Neb. — McPherson’s Junior American Legion baseball team, which included a sprinkling of players from the Senior team, came away with a highly respectable 3-2 record from the Battle of Omaha U-17 Tournament this past weekend.
The record was punctuated by easily the best win of the summer.
“The biggest highlight of the weekend was probably beating the Northern Knights out of Chicago,” McPherson coach Heath Gerstner said. “This is an All-Star team that takes the best players from roughly 20 Chicago high schools. Their margin of victory over their four opponents before us was 40-6. They had kids with multiple D-1 offers and on this day our kids just outplayed them. We made all the hustle plays and just competed the right way."
Post 24 opened with a 7-5 loss to Lakewood, Colo., which went on to win McPherson’s pool. Oswego then edged McPherson 7-6 as it fell to 0-2.
But it was clear sailing from there. A 9-1 win over Prime Time of Illinois was followed by the win over Northern Heights. Post 24 completed the weekend with a 9-2 rout of Clearwater.
“To start 0-2 and come back and win our next three games really speaks volumes about our kids,” Gerstner said. “We lost two extremely close games on opening day and did not feel we played our brand of baseball. Our kids showed some resolve and came back and really played well the following two days."
Gerstner said there were some areas that excelled.
“Defensively we were very consistent through the weekend and played good defense for the most part, but that is really set up with good pitching and I thought Zane Myers, Chandler Wiard, Jakob Feil, Trey Hanken and Dylan Werries all really competed on the mound for us,” Gerstner said. “Offensively, Kaleb Hoppes missed hitting a single for the cycle in our final game on Saturday. He is really seeing the ball well."
Post 24 is now 11-3 for the summer. It will be home on Tuesday to take on Hutchinson, with the first game starting at 5 p.m. at Grant Complex.