GREAT BEND — It couldn’t have been a more agonizing way to end the season.
The McPherson Senior American Legion baseball team had two chances to advance to state this weekend, but suffered two punch-in-the-gut losses to see its season come to a conclusion.
“We didn't end the way we had hoped,” said McPherson coach Mark Reifschneider, who gave credit to assistant coach Matt McCasland for helping him this season. “For most of the older kids this was their last time playing competitive organized sports. I've watched them grow as athletes and young men. They are a great group of kids and I will certainly miss watching them compete.”
It was an incredibly competitive tournament.
McPherson, the No. 1 seed, rallied to outlast Hutchinson 6-4 in its first game on Saturday to take on Great Bend for a state berth. In that game, Great Bend overcame a 4-0 deficit and eventually scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh for a stunning 9-8 victory. With two state berths available, Post 24 still had a chance to advance by beating Hays and carried a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning. But the Eagles scored two in that frame, two in the seventh to send the game into extra innings, then pushed across a run in the ninth for a 5-4 victory.
Here are the game details:
McPherson 6, Hutchinson 4 — Post 24 had been 3-0 against the Colts, but Hutch had upset on its mind until a big three-run sixth inning by McPherson. Dylan Werries and Alex Kalkhorst had two hits apiece and Jack Reifschneider drove in two runs. Warries fanned nine in six innings and Reifschneider earned the save, striking out two in his one inning.
• Great Bend 9, McPherson 8 — This was the game that hurt the most. Post 24 jumped out to a 4-0 lead on three-run homer by Reifschneider. But the Chiefs answered with three runs in each of the first three innings. Post 24 eventually took an 8-7 lead into the seventh, but the Chiefs scored twice for the victory, which punched their ticket to state. Reifschneider finished the game with four RBIs and Nathan Robl had two hits.
• Hays 5, McPherson 4 — A 4-0 lead apparently was a kiss of death for Post 24.
It scored twice in the first and singletons in the second and third innings and appeared to be on its way.
But Hays scored twice in the sixth and seventh innings to tie it up and won it in the ninth.
Reifschneider and Kalkhorst had two hits apiece.
McPherson finished its season with a 14-10 record.
• Vs. Hutchinson •
McPherson (6) — Werries 2-2-2-0, Sitts 4-1-1-1, Kalkhorst 3-1-2-1, Myers 2-1-0-1, Reifschneider 2-1-1-2, Saverino 3-0-1-0, Robl 3-0-0-0, Reed 3-0-1-0, Wheat 2-0-0-0, Hanken 1-0-0-0.
• Vs. Great Bend •
McPherson (8) — Werries 4-1-1-0, Sitts 2-2-1-1, Kalkhorst 3-0--0-0, Myers 1-1-0-0, Reifschneider 2-1-1-4, Reed 3-1-0-0, Hanken 4-0-0-0, Wheat 2-1-0-0, Steinert 2-0-1-0, Robl 4-1-2-1.
• Vs. Hays •
McPherson (4) — Werries 3-1-0-0, Reiss 4-0-1-0, Kalkhorst 3-0-2-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, Reifschneider 3-1-2-0, Sitts 3-0-0-0, Saverino 3-0-1-0, Reed 3-0-0-0, Robl 3-0-0-0, Name not posted 0-2-0-0.