A walk, an error, a single and another error.
That’s how McPherson High cobbled together its winning eighth-inning rally in the second game of its doubleheader split with Augusta here Monday night.
The Bullpups escaped with a thrilling 4-3 victory after having been shackled on four hits by Orioles ace Garrett Hutson in the 3-0 opener.
“That was two good games, really,” said MHS coach Grant Myers, whose team is now 3-7 at it’s at the halfway point of the season. “We battled, though, we battled both games. And we found a way to win... we do have to start hitting the ball a little better. We showed perseverance, guys played well, we pitched well, pitchers kept us in the games. Just a lot of fun tonight.”
MHS led the second game 3-1 until the seventh inning when the Orioles strung together five hits to score two runs for the tie. But Bullpup relief pitcher Caleb Schmidt left the bases loaded, then worked out of another jam in the eighth, aided when Augusta’s Mason Hiser was ejected from the game after reacting to a strike call. Hiser and the home plate umpire had been at odds earlier in the game and he apparently said the magic word to get booted.
The Bullpups’ bottom of the eighth started with a walk to Logan Schrag. After Marcus McDaniel’s grounder to second was booted, Griffin Myers sent a single to right. Schrag actually was held at third by Grant Myers, but when the throw to the plate was wild, Schrag skated home with the winning run.
MHS had scratched out single tallies in the first, third and fifth innings. Schmidt and Cody Starkel picked up RBIs.
MHS’ Alex Ruxlow worked the first five innings on the mound, allowing only two hits. He was effectively wild, but ran his pitch count up and came out after giving the Bullpups a solid performance.
Myers had two of the four MHS hits in the game, with Starkel and McDaniel coming up with the others.
The first game was all about Hutson, who earlier had committed to Wichita State before withdrawing his pledge. He’s only a junior and regularly ran the ball to the plate at about 85 mph. He fanned 13 and really carved up the bottom half of the order with nine whiffs of the last four hitters.
MHS received singles from Schmidt, Starkel, Myers and Brodie Burney. Amazingly, no Oriole outfielder had a putout as all the outs were strikeouts or outs on the infield.
Micah McCulley worked five effective innings for MHS, allowing just two runs, and McDaniel gave up one run in two innings, as both pitched well enough to win.
“That Hutson kid is good,” Grant Myers said. “We were looking forward to seeing Hutson. It was good for us because we’re going to see kids like that. We want to see those good pitchers. We’ve got to figure out a way to hit them and not walk back to the bench so many times. It was a challenge for us.”
Myers was pleased with his team’s defense, especially a catch in the sixth inning of the second game by Ethan Nadeau, which at the time saved two runs and kept the Bullpups in the lead.
“I don’t know if he knew he had caught the ball,” Myers said. “It was a great catch. Thankfully the wind was still pushing it and it pushed it back to him a little bit because he got a great jump on the ball and that was a heck of catch. It saved two runs.”
MHS remains at home on Monday when Buhler comes to town for a pair. The Crusaders swept the Bullpups last year, so MHS definitely has redemption on its mind.
The MHS JVs split as well, winning 7-6 on a walkoff hit by Jeffrey Reed, then losing 6-3 in the second game. No other information was available.
MHS (0) — McDaniel 3-0-0-0, Schmidt 3-0-1-0, Burney 3-0-1-0, McCulley 3-0-0-0, Starkel 3-0-1-0, Myers 3-0-1-0, Ruxlow 3-0-0-0, Nadeau 3-0-0-0, Schrag 1-0-0-0, Reed 0-0-0-0.
MHS (4) — McDaniel 5-0-1-0, Myers 3-2-2-0, Schmidt 3-1-0-1, Burney 2-0-0-0, Starkel 4-0-1-1, McCulley 1-0-0-0, Ruxlow 3-0-0-0, Reed 1-0-0-0, Nadeau 3-0-0-0, Schrag 2-1-0-0.