McPherson’s Junior American Legion baseball team hopes to live up to its No. 1 seed, but coach Heath Gerstner said it will be a difficult task as the Zone 4 District Tournament that begins Tuesday in Buhler is loaded.
Post 24, 17-7, has drawn the No. 1 seed and won’t play until 1 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of Hays and Russell.
“Excited to see our kids compete at zone this week. No question this is the highlight of the summer and our kids have a sense of belief they can make it to the state tournament,” Gerstner said. “I think Buhler is probably the team to beat. They have a nice team sprinkled with Hutch and Buhler kids and they have played tough competition all summer.”
Buhler is 2-1 against McPherson this season, including a sweep in Buhler.
“Anytime you get into tournament play you just really have to eliminate the big inning,” Gerstner said. “As an offense you want to try to create the big inning, three runs or more, and eliminate (errors) on defense. I think our biggest asset right now is our ability to run. For the most part everybody on our team can run. That means we are better defensively and a little crazy on the bases, which I like.”
Gerstner has not set his pitching rotation, but Chandler Wiard, Jakob Feil and Gabe Hoover are the leading candidates to start. Brayden Stout, Shane Starkel and Devin Feil can work in relief as Post 24 will be as deep on the mound as any team there.
The winner moves on to the state tournament in Hays.
“It will be a tough tournament, but we would not want it any other way,” Gerstner said.
• Tuesday’s Games •
1:00 —Russell vs. Hays
3:15 — Buhler vs. Pratt
5:30 — Great Bend vs. Cunningham
7:45 — Loser’s bracket game