It was tune-up time Wednesday for McPherson’s Senior American Legion.
Post 24 made its final appearance before next week’s zone tournament in Newton by dispatching Hutchinson in a pair of run-rule games at Grant Complex.
McPherson won the opener 13-3 in four innings, then after struggling early in Game 2, erupted for seven runs in the fifth inning to close out the visitors, 9-1.
McPherson coach Tony Schmidt stuck to his plan of using his pitchers for short stints as he wanted to get them all some work.
“Everybody got to throw some,” said Schmidt, who trotted out five pitchers in the two shortened games. “They didn’t look too bad, even Cody (Starkel) since he hadn’t pitched for a long time. I was pretty happy with that. We didn’t have a lot of walks tonight.”
The top of the order really came through in Game 1, as Marcus McDaniel (2 for 3), Caleb Schmidt (3 for 3) and Cody Starkel (3 for 3) combined for eight hits. Casen Hoover, Jacob Loecker, Griffin Myers and Jack Reifschneider all drove in two runs.
Post 24 scored in every inning, including five in the fourth when it ended the game early due to the run rule. Myers and Starkel handled the pitching chores.
McPherson managed only two runs through four innings of Game 2, but numerous walks led to a seven-run fifth to send the crowd home early. Hoover’s two-run single was the big hit during the uprising.
Loecker started on the mound, followed by McDaniel and Schmidt. “It might have been the best two innings I’ve seen out of Jacob Loecker all year,” Tony Schmidt said. “His velocity was better than I’ve seen it and his breaking ball was working pretty good.”
Caleb Schmidt was again 3 for 3 to end the night with six straight hits. McDaniel and Hoover had two hits each.
McPherson, now 15-11, will spend the next few days preparing for arguably the state’s toughest zone tournament. It’s only four teams, but all have winning records. In fact, Post 24 is expected to be the last seed. In addition to host Newton, the other teams are Salina and Buhler. The tourney begins on Monday, with McPherson playing either at 6 or 8 p.m.
Post 24, however, automatically goes to state because it will be serving as the host this year.
“It’s a great zone. I don’t think our kids are intimidated by any of those teams,” Schmidt said.
McPherson (13) — McDaniel 3-2-2-0, Schmidt 3-3-3-0, Starkel 3-3-3-1, Hoover 2-1-1-2, Loecker 2-1-1-2, Saverino 0-1-0-1, Myers 2-1-1-2, Reifschneider 3-0-1-2, Reed 2-1-1-0, Giddings 2-0-0-0.
McPherson (9) — McDaniel 4-1-2-1, Schmidt 3-1-3-0, Starkel 2-1-0-0, Hoover 3-1-2-2, Loecker 2-1-0-0, Saverino 1-2-0-0, Myers 1-0-0-0, Reifschneider 1-1-0-1, Reed 1-1-0-1, Giddings 1-0-0-0.