McPherson High baseball coach Heath Gerstner said playing Maize South was like looking into a mirror.
The Mavericks used solid pitching and defense, and aggressive baserunning, to trump the Bullpups twice in Monday’s doubleheader at Grant Complex, 11-0 and 10-9.
Seth Davis threw a dazzling one-hitter for the Class 5A Mavericks in the five-inning opener, with MHS freshman Dylan Werries the only blemish with a single.
Caleb Schmidt, who had entered the day with a 1.47 ERA, was roughed up for 10 runs in just over three innings, his first off outing this season.
The second game looked like another Maize South domination, as it led 9-1 after four innings, knocking out Bullpup starter Micah McCulley in the process.
But instead of suffering another rout, the Bullpups battled back with three runs in the fifth and put a mighty scare into the visitors in the seventh, scoring five times. MHS had runners at second and third with two outs, but Griffin Myers’ screamer to right field was caught to end the game.
“That’s a good baseball team,” Gerstner said. “My hat’s off to them. I thought they really swung the bats extraordinarily well. They are aggressive on the basepaths as is our goal of how we want (to play). For the first night all year, our pitchers were uncomfortable with runners on base, and that’s exactly what we want to do to teams.”
Gerstner liked the fact his team showed some gumption in the final inning with some quality at-bats. Walks played a big role in the rally, but the MHS hitters did a good job of working the count, with two runs scoring on bases-loaded free passes.
Cody Starkel had three hits to pace the Bullpups, while Myers drove in three runs on two hits. They are the only two seniors on the underclassmen-dominated team, while the experienced Mavericks were loaded with 11 seniors.
The Bullpups are now 11-7 and Gerstner said the team will welcome the upcoming break, as it doesn’t play again until May 7 when it hosts Winfield in the season finale. He’s going to use the time to scout some potential postseason competition as MHS plays in the Hays sub-state along with Buhler and Ulysses. Buhler is rated No. 5 in Class 4A and split with the No. 9 Bullpups earlier this season.
Gerstner said no team in the state may have shoehorned 18 games into such a short period of time. Some teams have barely hit the midway point of the season.
It was a complete sweep for the Mavericks as they won both JV games as well.
The first game was decided in the second inning when the Mavs scored eight runs to key a 10-3 triumph.
Wyatt Seidl had two hits to pace the Bullpups. Raine Reitsma was the pitcher of record.
In Game 2, the Mavericks used a pair of five-run innings as the impetus for a 16-1 victory.
Gunnar Reiss was the offense for the Bullpups with a double and single, their only two hits. Reiss and Trey Hanken shared pitching duties.
MHS (0) — Starkel 2-0-0-0, Schmidt 2-0-0-0, McDaniel 2-0-0-0, Hoover 2-0-0-0, Myers 2-0-0-0, McCulley 1-0-0-0, Loecker 2-0-0-0, Brossard 2-0-0-0, Werries 1-0-1-0.
MHS (9) — Starkel 5-1-3-1, Schmidt 3-2-1-1, McDaniel 2-1-1-1, Hoover 4-1-1-1, Myers 5-1-2-3, McCulley 2-0-0-0, Reed 2-1-0-0, Brossard 1-0-1-0, Loecker 3-0-0-0, Saverino 0-1-0-0, Werries 2-1-0-1.