LEAVENWORTH — And then there were three.
McPherson’s U-17 baseball team continued to eliminate the competition in Friday’s loser bracket of the Class A American Legion State Tournament with a late-night 4-2 victory over the Salina Eagles.
Post 24 had eliminated defending champion Paola earlier in the day and is now responsible for ousting three teams.
McPherson, now 25-7, plays Doniphan County in today’s noon loser’s bracket championship game. The winner plays Andover for the state championship at 2:30. Should McPherson win both of its games today, it would force a second championship game since the tournament is double-elimination.
Splendid pitching keyed Post 24’s victory over the Eagles in a tense, well-played game. Micah McCulley threw 5 1/3 efficient innings before Marcus McDaniel nailed it down with airtight relief.
McCulley allowed five hits and two runs during his stint, highlighted by eight strikeouts. McDaniel did walk three to find himself on the tightrope, but also was overpowering with four strikeouts.
Post 24 scored single runs in the first and third innings, with two runs in the fourth proving to be the difference.
Brodie Burney’s bat continued to heat up as he was 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Cody Starkel doubled and singled.
Starkel was expected to take the ball today against Doniphan County. He has yet to pitch in the tournament.
Mac (4) — Starkel 3-0-2-0, Schmidt 2-2-1-0, McDaniel 3-0-1-1, Burney 3-1-3-2, Loecker 3-0-0-0, Hoover 0-0-0-0, McCulley 2-0-0-0, Reed 2-1-0-0, Reifschneider 1-0-0-0.