McPherson Senior American Legion baseball coach Tony Schmidt is preaching patience.
His Post 24 split its third straight twinbill here Saturday night in two tightly contested games against the Salina Falcons.
“We’re about at the same place as this time last year,” Schmidt said. “They have to understand the process. We’re not the same lineup as a year ago (when the team won the Class A title). We’re playing a 44-game schedule and we have to develop some pitching. We’ve got some guys who didn’t have a lot of at-bats during the (high school) season. So it’s going to take time.”
Schmidt is trying to caution his team not to put too much into the 4-3 record so far since expectations were sky-high, especially after finishing second in the state during the high school season.
“We’re playing up a class, we’re playing tougher competition,” he said.
Post 24 lost the first game 4-3, though Jacob Loecker pitched six solid innings. McPherson had a golden opportunity in the seventh inning with runners at first and third with one out, but left them stranded.
Loecker had two doubles, while Marcus McDaniel and Jack Reifschneider stroked one apiece.
Salina appeared to be on its way to a sweep as it busted out to a 4-0 lead in Game 2. Post 24 charged back for a 5-4 lead in the fifth, only to see the Falcons immediately respond with three runs. However, Post 24 had its second straight huge inning, posting a six-pack of runs in the sixth.
Reifschneider was the winning pitcher and the big blow was a home run by the returning first-team All-Stater Cody Starkel, who had missed the first five games because of a family vacation.
Post 24 is scheduled to host Newton Monday, though Sunday’s rains more than likely will force a cancellation.