Now that was the Alex Ruxlow that McPherson High’s baseball team had anticipated at the start of the season.
Through the first half of the schedule, Ruxlow had struggled to find his expected form, that of the staff ace.
But here Monday, on a treacherous day weather-wise, Ruxlow was totally dominating in an 11-1 Bullpup run-rule second-game victory over Buhler.
It was terribly important since MHS had lost the first game 12-10, nearly overcoming an early 11-0 deficit.
Ruxlow’s tailing fastball was enhanced by the wind, as when it left his hand, it appeared to be right down the plate. But once it got near the batter, it broke a mile, leading to an 11-strikeout performance.
“Alex did a great job,” said MHS coach Grant Myers, whose team is now 4-8 on the year and has split all three home doubleheaders. “He’s a big kid and that wind was bothering him. But he battled. His arm slot was a little different all night long trying to find a rhythm with this wind. The wind was helping him. It was tough.”
Ruxlow took a no-hitter into the fourth inning when the Crusaders’ Zac Stiles beat out an infield hit. He gave up another hit in the fifth and was touched for a run in the sixth. However, MHS was able to close out the game early with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Ruxlow’s batterymate, Cody Starkel, had a man-sized offensive performance in the second game to aid his pitcher. He was 4 for 4 with a triple, double and two singles, good for five RBIs. His bases-clearing triple in the fourth inning keyed a five-run frame, which gave Ruxlow the ability to relax and throw BBs.
Logan Schrag got a ball up in the jet stream to right field for a homer, as MHS broke out of its offensive slump on this day with 21 runs in two games.
In the first game, the Bullpups fell behind 11-0 after 2 1/2 innings, but got right back into it with an eight-run third inning, greatly aided by Crusader walks as MHS accounted for just four hits in the inning, two apiece by Marcus McDaniel and Brodie Burney. Both players finished the game with three hits. The killer stat was that MHS left 12 runners on base, as it littered the bases all game.
Griffin Myers did a nice job in relief, allowing just two runs over the final four innings. Micah McCulley took the loss, though he was betrayed in part by his defense as the Bullpups handed over some unearned runs early.
MHS hosts a very good Mulvane team on Thursday.
“The kids battled,” Myers said of the evening. “We showed some toughness. We hit the ball. The sticks broke out a little bit. We’re batting .206 as a team (going into Monday). It’s got to come up. It had to come up.”
The MHS JVs split, winning 11-1 and losing 11-2. No game information was available.
MHS (10) — McDaniel 5-1-3-2, Myers 2-2-1-0, Schmidt 4-1-1-0, Burney 4-1-3-0, Starkel 4-1-0-0, McCulley 3-1-0-1, Ruxlow 3-1-0-1, Nadeau 2-2-1-1, Schrag 4-0-2-1, Reed 0-0-0-0..
MHS (11) — McDaniel 3-2-1-1, Myers 4-1-0-0, Schmidt 3-2-1-0, Burney 2-1-0-0, Starkel 4-1-4-5, Loecker 0-1-0-0, McCulley 4-0-1-2, Nadeau 3-1-1-0, Schrag 3-1-1-2, Reed 2-1-1-0.