HAYS — McPherson American Legion Post 24 is in the driver’s seat.
Post 24 advanced to the zone finals Tuesday afternoon with its second victory of the day, a hard-earned 5-3 decision over Salina, buoyed by a four-run fifth inning.
The teams were scoreless through four innings before Salina posted a pair of tallies in the top of the fifth. McPherson answered, however, with four in the bottom of the inning and tacked on another in the sixth for insurance.
Winning pitcher Marcus McDaniel threw one of his best games of the year, scattering six hits and fanning eight in the route-going performance.
McDaniel helped his own cause with McPherson’s only extra-base hit of the game, a double. Seven separate players had one hit apiece.
Post 24, which had used a 10-run second inning earlier in the day to drub Hays 13-1, now waits for the loser’s bracket to sort itself out, with this same Salina team favored to come back through. McPherson’s next action is 7 p.m. Wednesday and should it lose, another game would be played at 6 p.m. Thursday.
McPherson (5) — Starkel 4-1-1-1, Schmidt 2-0-0-0, McDaniel 3-0-1-0, Burney 3-0-1-0, Loecker 3-1-1-0, McCulley 2-0-0-0, Hoover 2-1-1-0, Reed 2-1-1-0, Reifschneider 2-1-1-1.
Here is the box from the opener against Hays:
McPherson (13) — Starkel 2-3-2-1, Schmidt 2-2-2-2, McDaniel 1-1-1-1, McCulley 3-0-0-1, Loecker 2-2-1-2, Hoover 2-1-2-2, Olson 1-0-0-0, Reed 2-0-1-2, Reifschneider 2-2-1-0, Sitts 1-2-0-0