Jr. Legion opens state play today

By Steve Sell
July 21, 2015

The champs are back.

McPherson Post 24 will be in the Class A American Legion State Baseball Tournament field today when the double-elimination event gets under way at Salina’s Dean Evans Stadium.

Post 24, 20-11-1, takes on Doniphan County in today’s 1:00 game. A victory and it plays at 6 p.m. Wednesday, a loss and it plays at 10 a.m.

It will be a brand-new cast for McPherson, however, as last year’s team that won the state championship at Leavenworth has moved up to play at the Class AAA level.

“I’m excited for these guys to compete in the state tournament this week in Salina,” said McPherson coach Heath Gerstner, whose team was only the No. 3 seed at last week’s zone tournament. “I will really preach to the guys to go have fun. We want to always respect the game and really play with energy and enthusiasm and good things happen. I am just so proud of this group and have had a blast coaching them. They truly care about each other and it doesn't get much better than coaching a group of selfless players.”

Gerstner is handing Dylan Werries the ball to start Game 1. The team is going to be short-handed today because ace pitcher Sam Brossard will be unavailable as he’s attending a funeral, but he’s expected back for Wednesday.

Post 24, however, returns Jeffrey Reed and Paxton Leaf, who were unavailable for last week’s tourney due to conflicts.

Doniphan County is located in the northeast part of the state. Its team is expected to consist mainly of players who competed for Troy High School, which was ranked No. 1 much of the year in Class 2-1A.

Also on McPherson’s side of the bracket are Paola and Chanute, who play the second game. The bottom half finds Andover playing Atchison in the third game, with the host Salina Hawks taking on Arkansas City in the finale.