McPherson's American Legion Post 24 baseball team will test its pitching depth this weekend when it plays five games in the second annual Bob Hooper Classic.
Fortunately, McPherson is combining its two summer teams for this tournament, as the U-17s and U-15s will unite to compete in the U-16 division. Injuries to some key players forced the decision to be made, as Post 24 could be without Marcus McDaniel, while Cody Starkel and Kolby Reed are not 100 percent.
The tournament will be contested Friday, Saturday and Sunday both at Grant Complex and the venerable Light Capital Diamond. All of McPherson’s games, however, will be at Grant.
“I think it’s going to be a real good tournament,” McPherson U-17 coach Tony Schmidt said. “This weekend will probably be really good for us, that we dropped back down with the injuries we’ve got. It’s going to be competitive. We’re going to play five games and if we win three of them I’ll be real happy.”
McPherson opens at 3:30 p.m. Friday against BTL Academy Gray. Two more games are on tap for Saturday, 12:30 against Kansas Cannon 16 and 3:30 against El Dorado. Post 24 then plays the Wichita Sluggers at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, then turns around and plays BTL Academy White at 3:30.
McPherson takes some momentum into the tournament after sweeping the Wichita Aces here Tuesday, 6-2 and 9-0. Griffin Myers was economical in a solid first-game victory, while Caleb Schmidt flirted with a perfect game before settling for a two-hit shutout in a 9-0 success. Starkel and Brodie Burney were the big hitters on the night.
Pitching depth will be a concern, though, since McDaniel is expected to be out and Starkel is somewhat ailing. Schmidt is hoping his pitchers can be on top of their games and be efficient. He said the strength of the team has been its defense, as it has been making the plays behind whomever has been on the mound.
The tourney schedule:
• At Grant Complex •
1:00 — Wichita Sluggers vs. Buhler Nationals Blue
3:30 — BTL Academy Gray vs. McPherson
6:00 — El Dorado vs. Salina Sliders
10:00 — BTL Academy White vs. Wichita Sluggers
12:30 — BTL Academy Gray vs. Wichita Sluggers
3:00 — McPherson vs. El Dorado
5:30 — Kansas Cannons 18 vs. Buhler Nationals Blue
10:00 — Wichita Nationals vs. Wichita Sluggers
12:30 — Salina Sliders vs. Wichita Nationals
3:00 — BTL Academy White vs. McPherson
1:00 — BTL Academy Gray vs. Salina Sliders
3:30 — Wichita Sluggers vs. Kansas Cannon 16
6:00 — Air Capital Legends vs. Kansas Cannons 18
10:00 — El Dorado vs. Wichita Nationals
12:30 — McPherson vs. Kansas Cannon 16
3:00 — BTL Academy Gray vs. BTL Academy White
10:00 — Kansas Cannons 18 vs. El Dorado
12:30 — Wichita Sluggers vs. McPherson
3:00 — Kansas Cannon 16 vs. BTL Academy Gray
• At Light Capital Diamond •
1:00 — Kansas Cannon 16 vs. BTL Academy White
3:30 — Wichita Nationals vs. Kansas Cannons 18
6:00 — Buhler Nationals Blue vs. BTL Academy White
10:00 — Air Capital Legends vs. Kansas Cannon 16
12:30 — Kansas Cannons 18 vs. Salina Sliders
3:00 — Wichita Nationals vs. Air Capital Legends
10:00 — Buhler Nationals Blue vs. Air Capital Legends
12:30 — Buhler Nationals Blue vs. El Dorado
3:00 — Air Capital Legends vs. Salina Sliders