LEAVENWORTH — Apparently the McPherson U-17 baseball team is comprised of marathoners, not sprinters.
After losing its first game of the Class A American Legion State Baseball Tournament on Wednesday, Post 24 culminated a comeback for the ages by roaring all the way back to win the state championship this afternoon, 10-3 over Andover.
McPherson became the first team in the 33 years of the tournament to win six straight games and the championship after losing in the first round.
Post 24 had defeated Andover 6-4 on Saturday to force an extra game of the double-elimination event, then methodically dissected the team from the Wichita suburbs for an even-more-impressive decision in the game for the gold.
Micah McCulley reached his tournament innings limit by going 3 1/3, allowing all three runs. Jack Reifschneider came on and as he did in all three of his tournament appearances, he was steely.
McPherson took some of the suspense out of the game early, jumping out to a 5-1 lead after two innings. From there, Post 24 continued to apply the pressure with its consistent hitting, and expert bunting and baserunning.
McPherson laced Andover's pitching for 15 hits, including three by Marcus McDaniel, and two each by Cody Starkel, Caleb Schmidt, Jacob Loecker, Casen Hoover and Kolby Reed. Schmidt, McDaniel and Reifschneider all drove in two runs.
McPherson, which improved to 28-7 with its 23rd win in its last 25 games, is now eligible to compete in the Mid-States Regional Tournament next week right back here in Leavenworth. Since the team represents Kansas, it has the option of adding players from other towns if it doesn’t have enough players available.
Mac (10) — Starkel 5-2-2-0, Schmidt 4-0-2-2, McDaniel 4-0-03-2, Olson 1-0-1-0, Burney 4-0-0-0, Loecker 4-2-2-0, Hoover 3-0-2-0, McCulley 1-3-0-0, Reed 4-2-2-0, Reifschneider 3-1-1-2.