EL DORADO — There was little separation between McPherson High’s baseball team and El Dorado on Thursday.
The Bullpups and Wildcats traded one-run decisions, with El Dorado winning the first game 7-6 and MHS retaliating for a 4-3 victory.
The split leaves MHS at 11-5 with two home doubleheaders left to play.
“Every night as a coach, you know one of five things are going to happen,” Bullpup coach Heath Gerstner said. “Your team will play well and win, your team will play well and lose, you will play bad and win, play bad and lose, or finally, get a rainout. Last night was a perfect example of not playing well and finding a way to win one of two games.”
El Dorado shocked the Bullpups in Game 1 by jumping out to a 7-2 lead after two innings. The highlight of this game was freshman Sam Brossard coming on in relief to pitch five innings of two-hit, one-run baseball as Jack Reifschneider was lifted after allowing six runs.
“Sam gave us a spark and really threw well, getting us ground ball after ground ball,” Gerstner said. “At the plate we did not have enough competitive at-bats to match Sam's pitching performance. I was proud of our guys for chipping away at their lead and making it a one-run game late, but we really needed a big inning or a big, two-out hit and never was able to get it.”
The Bullpups were led by Marcus McDaniel, who had a double and single. Cody Starkel added a double.
The Bullpups were in danger of losing the second game as well, down 3-2 before scoring a run in the sixth to get it tied, then they won it with a run in the eighth.
“We did take the early lead in the first inning off a nice double to start the game off Cody Starkel, however the majority of the game we struggled stringing together good, quality at-bats and forced us to shake our heads offensively,” Gerstner said. “The play of the night (in the top of sixth inning) was a 10-pitch at-bat with two outs and nobody on. (Jacob) Loecker was able to battle their pitcher and line a ball to left field that the left fielder bobbled and he was able to take second base. Freshman Dylan Werries then hit a line drive to right field to score him.”
Loecker was the winner in relief and ace Caleb Schmidt came on in the eighth to nail down a save. McDaniel drove in two runs and MHS managed only five hits.
“Nights like last night are tough as a coach as we could not get much consistency at the plate, but yet you want your kids to compete and battle and excited about our ability to over-come a deficit and win Game 2,” Gerstner said.
The MHS JVs came away with a sweep.
Alex Kalkhorst threw a four-inning, one-hitter in a 10-0 rout. Wyatt Seidel had two hits, while Kalkhorst helped his own cause with two RBIs. Jeffrey Reed and Paxton Leaf scored three runs apiece.
The second game was much more competitive, but MHS was an 8-5 winner as Kalkhorst knocked in three runs with two hits. Koby Kerr had two hits and two RBIs, while Leaf added two hits.
Gunnar Reiss was the winner, with Zane Myers finishing up.
MHS spends the rest of the regular season at home, starting with Monday’s doubleheader against Maize South. First pitch at Grant Complex is 4 p.m.
MHS (6) — Starkel 4-0-1-1, Schmidt 4-0-1-1, McDaniel 3-1-2-1, Hoover 4-0-1-0, Myers 3-1-0-0, McCulley 4-1-1-0, Loecker 3-0-1-1, Reed 0-2-0-0, Saverino 1-1-1-0, Werries 2-0-0-0.
MHS (4) — Starkel 4-0-1-0, Schmidt 2-1-1-0, McDaniel 3-0-0-2, Hoover 4-0-1-0, Saverino 3-1-0-0, Loecker 4-1-1-0, Werries 2-0-1-1, Reifschneider 2-0-0-0, McCulley 1-1-0-0, Myers 1-0-0-0, Reed 2-0-0-0.