ANDALE — McPherson High’s baseball team scored two of its most impressive wins of the season on Monday, sweeping Andale-Garden Plain in a battle of ranked teams.
Both were two-run affairs, with MHS winning the first game 5-3 and completing the sweep with a 6-4 triumph. The Bullpups entered the game with a shiny new No. 9 state ranking, one spot ahead of Andale-Garden Plain.
“I’m really proud of our kids to go on the road and bring home a sweep of Andale,” MHS coach Heath Gerstner said. “That is an experienced team that plays the game the right way.”
The sweep improved MHS to 10-4 on the season after going 7-14 a year ago with mostly the same team.
Caleb Schmidt was the winner in Game 1, with Micah McCulley earning the “W” in the nightcap.
“The story of the night was the ability of our pitchers to keep their hitters off balance,” Gerstner said. “Both pitchers managed the game extremely well. Schmidt just continues to epitomize consistency on the mound and really gives us a chance every day he takes the hill. McCulley had his best start of the year. Our defense struggled at times and I thought he kept his head clear and really focused on what he could control. He made some big pitches and forced them to leave lots of runners on base and anytime you get a complete game that helps our entire pitching staff out.”
In the first game, it was 1-1 until the fifth when MHS struck for four runs for a 5-1 lead. Andale nicked closer Marcus McDaniel for two runs in the seventh.
Schmidt had gone the first six and the only run he allowed was unearned. He walked only two and fanned six.
McCulley’s three-run triple was the hit of the game. McDaniel picked up two hits.
MHS shocked the Indians for five runs in the first two innings of the second game before fending off all comeback attempts.
“Our goal was to jump on them early and take away belief and we really did that getting runs in top of first and second innings,” Gerstner said.
MHS hit the ball much more solidly in the nightcap, including two hits each by Schmidt, McDaniel, Cody Starkel and Griffin Myers. It was a ping attack, as all 11 hits were singles. Schmidt and Casen Hoover drove in two runs apiece.
None of the four runs McCulley allowed were earned. He did walk six, but fanned five in going the route.
MHS split the JV games.
The Bullpups rallied with three runs in the fifth inning for a 3-1 first-game victory. Raine Reitsma tossed a one-hitter and fanned four. MHS had eight hits, two apiece by Alex Kalkhorst and Paxton Leaf.
It was all Andale-Garden Plain in Game 2, 11-2. Wyatt Seidl had two hits for the Bullpups, who were held to six. He drove in a run as did Trey Hanken, who took the loss.
MHS stays on the road Thursday to play El Dorado.
MHS (5) — Starkel 3-0-1-0, Schmidt 3-0-0-0, McDaniel 4-2-2-0, Hoover 3-1-1-1, Myers 3-1-0-0, McCulley 4-1-1-3, Loecker 2-0-1-0, Werries 2-0-1-0, Reed 3-0-0-0, Saverino 0-0-0-0.
MHS (6) — Starkel 4-0-2-1, Schmidt 3-0-2-2, McDaniel 4-1-2-0, Hoover 3-0-1-2, Saverino 2-0-0-0, Brossard 2-0-0-0, Myers 4-1-2-0, Loecker 4-1-1-0, Werries 3-1-0-0, Reed 3-0-1-0, Arriola 0-2-0-0.