SALINA — Any McPherson baseball win over a Salina team is huge.
Especially when it comes in tournament play.
McPherson’s Junior American Legion opened action in the annual Grand Slam Tournament on Thursday with a tense 3-2 win over the host Hawks at James Matson Field.
The team then lost a 12-5 decision to the Midwest Bruins, who lead Pool A after the first day with a 2-0 record. McPherson is 1-1, while the Hawks and Millard Sox of Nebraska are 0-1.
The game with Salina figured to come down to a mistake and it was McPherson that took advantage of a wild pitch in the sixth inning to score the deciding run.
Post 24 played “small ball” to score its first two runs in the first inning, as an error and bunt single set up the game’s opening tallies. Two groundouts got the runs home.
Salina tied the game in the fifth on a two-run triple by Lance Rassette.
The winning score in the sixth inning was typical McPherson baseball as Alex Sitts’ infield hit and Jeffrey Reed’s second bunt single of the game put two runners on and Sitts wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
Sam Brossard was again nails on the mound for McPherson as he pitched a complete game. The big lefty allowed only five hits and Post 24 did not commit an error.
McPherson appeared poised to go 2-0 on the day early in its game with the Midwest Bruins as it jumped out to a 5-1 lead after two innings.
But the Bruins scored the game’s final 11 runs, six of those coming in the fifth when Post 24 couldn’t get out of the inning.
Gunnar Reiss took the loss. Post 24 had eight hits, all singles, but its fielding collapsed with five errors after being so airtight in the previous game.
Post 24 has today off and returns to action at 10 a.m. Saturday against the Millard Sox at Dean Evans Stadium. Bracket play takes over from there.