The first-round game for McPherson’s Senior American Legion baseball team seemingly got easier.
But Post 24 coach Mark Reifschneider said his team won’t be looking past anybody.
Due to a clerical error by tournament officials, McPherson now opens zone tournament play at 11 a.m. Saturday in Great Bend against Hutchinson instead of Hays. At the time of the pairings, Hutchinson was 4-22 compared to Hays’ 17-11.
“We are not looking past Hutch,” Reifschneider said. “They have been playing better lately. In last weekend’s tournament, Hutch lost to Buhler by one and lost to the (Wichita) Aeros 3-2. The Aeros beat us in the championship 11-0.”
Still, being 3-0 against Hutch would appear to make Post 24 the favorite in the game, with Hays and Great Bend meeting in the other game. The two winners meet at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the winner being the winner of Zone 8. The loser of the 4 p.m. game drops into the loser’s bracket for a shot at being the Zone 7 representative as two teams are being taken from this tournament.
Post 24 is now 13-8 on the year. Reifschneider said Dylan Werries will most likely start the opener and he’s been pitching well all summer.
Reifschneider said it’s going to be strange going back to aluminum bats since the Central Kansas League was a wood bat league this summer.
“We will be using aluminum bats for the first time since opening the season in Manhattan at the beginning of June,” he said. “Hopefully, we will transition well. We will be practicing with them tonight and tomorrow.”
Reifschneider’s concern is that the team will be short-handed on Saturday.
“We will be without a few players for Saturday,” he said. “There is a wedding, work obligations and 7-on-7 (football) tournament.”
Post 24 has the pitching, though, to come back through the loser’s bracket if that’s required.
The winner advances to the Class AAA State Tournament at the end of the month in Ottawa.