McPherson Senior American Legion pitcher Caleb Schmidt knew that Buhler had become pretty familiar with his style since he had faced the arch-rivals twice already this year.
So he knew he had to make some adjustments.
Adding a new pitch, Schmidt held Buhler scoreless in five of the seven innings Saturday night at Grant Complex to key an 8-4 victory for a split of the doubleheader.
Buhler had won the first game, 14-7.
“We added a pitch, a slider,” McPherson coach Tony Schmidt said. “That’s a good-hitting team. They hit the ball over the fence and we had to hit it inside the fence.”
Buhler jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, but Schmidt then kept it off the board until the seventh inning when he gave up two runs. He was able to get the side retired for the complete-game victory.
Tony Schmidt praised the work of catcher Alex Kalkhorst, who had moved up from the Junior team due the absence of Cody Starkel, who was not available for the weekend.
“He did a great job, Caleb felt very comfortable with him,” Tony Schmidt said. “He was calm and cool back there.”
It was a consistent offense for McPherson, which actually put the ball in play in both games.
“Everybody barreled up some balls,” Schmidt said. “We also bunted and ran the bases well. That was a big win. We didn’t want to lose two. We didn’t want to leave with a bad taste in our mouths.”
In the first game, Post 24 jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but it was all Buhler after that. It scored at least one run in each of the final six innings.
Griffin Myers, Jacob Loecker and Marcus McDaniel all worked short stints on the mound.
Caleb Schmidt and Jack Reifschneider had the biggest hits of the game. Reifschneider hit one to the fence and turned it into a Little League homer after a bad throw to third. Schmidt had a double and also doubled in Game 2.
McPherson is now 2-1 on the season. It hosts Emporia on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. twinbill at Grant Complex.