BUHLER — It took McPherson’s Junior American Legion baseball team just 3 1/2 innings to advance to the semifinals of the Zone Tournament.
Post 24 pounded out a 16-4 decision over Russell on Wednesday to advance to today’s 3:00 semifinals against Great Bend, which stunned Pratt 17-16 in a wild game.
McPherson, now 18-7, spotted Russell two runs in the top of the first. Post 24 scored a run in the bottom of the inning, then lit up Russell for five runs in the second and a whopping 10 in the third to end it early.
“We most definitely did not get off to the start I would have liked and we looked like we hadn't played in a week, which is true, but proud of our kids for getting a win to open up zone play,” McPherson coach Heath Gerstner said. “Offensively we left a little to be desired, but our ability to take advantage of their miscues helped us create a big inning all with two outs. I thought Jakob Feil looked really good at the plate and Honestee Whittker had a big two-out hit to kind of open up the game. We need both of those guys to have a big tournament the next few days."
Kaleb Hoppes was 3 for 3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, while Kourtney Craig drove in four runs. Whittker and Gabe Hoover added two RBIs. Jakob Feil had two hits and scored three times. Will Powers and Chandler Wiard chipped in with two hits.
Feil, Hoover and Brayden Stout all took turns on the mound.
“We were able to use all three guys just a little bit so they can all throw again tomorrow or Friday if needed,” said Gerstner, who has plenty of pitchers he can throw.
If Post 24 defeats Great Bend, it advances to Friday’s 5:00 championship game. A loss and it falls into the loser’s bracket tonight at 7:30.
McPherson (16) — J. Feil 3-3-2-1, Whittker 3-1-1-2, Stanford 0-0-0-0, D. Feil 2-2-1-1, Eilts 1-0-0-0, Starkel 1-1-1-0, Hoover 2-1-1-2, Powers 3-1-2-1, Hoppes 3-3-3-2, Craig 2-2-2-4, Wiard 2-2-2-1