McPherson High’s baseball team had two hours to stew about its 5-4 loss in the first game of a triangular here Friday against Goddard Eisenhower.
MHS led the game 4-3, but the Tigers scored a run in the sixth inning to get it tied, then pushed across a run in the eighth for the victory.
But instead of allowing the tough loss to gnaw away at their insides, the Bullpups put together a well-played second game to defeat Salina Central 7-3 to equal their victory total from all of last year.
The Bullpups are now 7-3 as they finished the first half of their regular-season schedule.
“I was excited for the win. It’s tough to have an emotional loss, but the tough thing is to go sit,” MHS coach Heath Gerstner said. "You sit for two hours and watch a game (Central defeated Eisenhower 11-10)... you have to jump out here and flip a switch again. I thought we started slow, but I'm excited about our guys. I thought we put a full game together.”
Micah McCulley surrendered three first-inning runs to Central, but then settled down to to throw zeroes over the next four innings to earn the win. Marcus McDaniel pitched the final two and kept the Mustangs off the board.
McDaniel and Cody Starkel collected three hits apiece and Caleb Schmidt had two as the trio combined for all eight hits from the top three spots in the order. The Bullpups used some “small ball” to put pressure on the Mustang defense, which led to a pair of fourth-inning runs that gave McCulley and McDaniel some cushion on the mound.
“One thing we’ve really stressed, we’ve got to be able to put bunts down,” Gerstner said. “There’s no question a couple of those bunts (by Schmidt and McDaniel) opened up that game.”
In the first game against Eisenhower, MHS was down 3-0 before scoring four unanswered runs to take a 4-3 lead after five innings. After the Tigers tied it in the sixth, it went to extras when Eisenhower scored the winner.
Schmidt worked seven innings for a no-decision before McDaniel came on to take the loss.
Starkel delivered three RBIs for the Bullpups, and McDaniel and Jack Reifschneider had two hits apiece.
MHS goes on the road Monday for a huge doubleheader against a Buhler team that is regarded among the best in 4A Division I.
MHS' JV team split and is now 6-4 on the year. The solid pitching of Raine Reitsma (5 2/3 innings) and Alex Kalkhorst (1 1/3) shut down Goddard Eisenhower, 8-2. MHS jumped on the Tigers early, scoring five runs in the first two innings.
Kalkhorst had two hits and scored three runs, while Wyatt Seidl had two hits and two RBIs.
Salina Central then scored in six of seven innings to defeat the Bullpups, 12-6. Sam Brossard smashed a pair of doubles to lead the MHS offense.
Vs. Goddard Eisenhower
MHS (4) — Starkel 3-0-1-3, Schmidt 3-0-1-0, McDaniel 3-0-2-0, McCulley 3-0-0-0, Hoover 4-1-1-0, Myers 4-1-1-0, Arriola 1-0-0-0, Loecker 1-0-0-0, Brossard 1-0-0-0, Reifschneider 3-1-2-0, Reed 4-1-0-0.
Vs. Salina Central
MHS (7) — Starkel 4-0-3-1, Schmidt 4-2-2-0, McDaniel 4-1-3-1, Hoover 3-0-0-0, McCulley 3-0-0-0, Loecker 1-1-0-0, Myers 3-0-0-1, Werries 4-0-0-0, Reifschneider 0-1-0-0, Arriola 1-2-0-0, Reed 2-0-0-0.