First-year McPherson High baseball coach Heath Gerstner got a better read on his team Saturday afternoon when it was split up for a seven-inning scrimmage in perfect weather conditions at Grant Complex.
“Overall I thought both teams competed well and at-bats improved throughout the day,” said Gerstner, who has inherited a 7-14 team that returns most of its starters. “As a team, I believe we must reduce our amount of strikeouts and mental mistakes quickly if we want to be successful on a consistent basis. The guys have been very receptive to coaching and desire to get 1 percent better every day.”
The Bullpups play for real on Thursday when they travel to Augusta for the season opener.
Prospects for a winning season are running high because the majority of the starters made up an American Legion team that won the Class A (16-and-under) state title this past summer. Most of the Bullpups’ key players are juniors, but it was senior Cody Starkel who made the loudest noise during the day as he smashed a homer and also took a turn on the mound as Gerstner got a look at most of the pitchers on what should be a deep staff.
“Cody Starkel homered and I thought Griffin Myers, Mikey Saverino, Casen Hoover and Zane Myers had some of the best at-bats of the day,” Gerstner said. “The defensive play of the day probably came from freshman shortstop Dylan Werries.”
As for the pitching, the possible two starters for Thursday impressed the first-year coach.
“Caleb Schmidt and Marcus McDaniel started for both teams on the mound and both commanded the zone well and looked comfortable on the mound for the most part,” Gerstner said.
More about the Bullpups can be found in the Mid Kansas Sports Magazine, which will be available at Monday’s home opener.