Baseball Bullpups impressive in sweep

By Steve Sell
March 31, 2015
Kendall Shaw

The Bullpup baseball blueprint revolves around pitching and defense.

McPherson High was flawless in executing the plan in the first game here Monday for a 7-1 victory over Mulvane.

Then when you throw in an offensive explosion, like the one the Bullpups experienced in Game 2, it's a team that could be downright dangerous.

MHS completed the sweep with a 15-6 rout, overcoming a 5-0 first-inning deficit with a 10-run eruption in the bottom of the inning.

"I thought we hit balls hard all day," said MHS coach Heath Gerstner, who recorded his first two Bullpup victories. "I thought our at-bats today were vastly improved from last Thursday. I kept telling our guys to trust the process, continue to hit balls hard and good things will happen."

Jack Reifschneider twirled six innings of efficient, three-hit, one-run baseball in the opener and Griffin Myers’ game-clinching three-run triple sparked the Bullpups to their first win of the season.

It was a 1-0 lead for Mulvane before MHS went ahead with two runs in the fifth inning, with a wild pitch and bases-loaded walk to Myers leading to the Bullpup runs. 

In the sixth, a bases-loaded walk to Cody Starkel pushed the lead to 3-1, then Myers delivered the clinching opposite-field poke. He then scored on an error.

Caleb Schmidt worked the seventh to nail it down.

"That's our plan, we want to be solid pitching and solid defensively," said Gerstner, whose team played error-free in the opener. "I truly believe hitting is going to come and go. You're going to have days you can't hit it a lick, which we kind of had last Thursday. But if your pitching and defense are solid, you're going to have a chance most nights."

Micah McCulley couldn't find the plate in the first inning of the second game as four walks and a hit batsman led to five Wildcat runs.

The Bullpups, though, caught fire in the bottom of the inning. Michael Saverino drilled a three-run double for the first big hit, then McCulley put a dent in the scoreboard by crushing a long homer to left. Starkel and Myers had doubles in the inning as MHS was just a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

"I call that a roller-coaster inning," Gerstner said. "I about had a heart attack to start the first and then we come back."

It was just the beginning of a big game for Starkel, who hit MHS' second homer and had three hits in all. The Bullpups wound up unfurling 15 straight runs before Mulvane escaped the run rule in the fifth with a tally that eventually pushed the game to the entire seven-inning limit.

McCulley threw scoreless baseball after his first-inning struggles before yielding to Myers, who pitched the final three innings, allowing just one run.

Saverino wound up driving in four runs. Schmidt and Casen Hoover chipped in with two apiece.

MHS, now 2-2, hosts Rose Hill on Thursday.

The Bullpups' JV team won its first game of the season, 5-4. Jeffrey Reed had two hits and Alex Kalkhorst was the winner, with relief help from Trey Hanken.

The Wildcats bounced back for the split, 15-3. Sam Brossard had two hits and two RBIs and Alex Sitts added two hits.


Game 1

MHS (7) — Starkel 2-0-1-1, Myers 3-1-1-4, McDaniel 4-0-0-0, Schmidt 2-0-0-0, Hoover 3-0-1-0, Saverino 2-0-0-0, McCulley 2-1-0-0, Arriola 2-2-1-0, Reed 1-2-0-0.

Game 2

MHS (15) — Starkel 5-1-3-2, Myers 3-2-1-1, Eilts 1-0-0-0, McDaniel 3-3-1-0, Schmidt 3-3-2-2, Hoover 4-0-2-2, Saverino 4-1-1-4, Loecker 2-1-0-1, Giddings 1-0-0-0, Loecker 2-1-0-1, McCulley 1-1-1-2, Arriola 1-2-1-0, Reed 3-1-1-0.