Jr. Legion one victory away from championship game

By Steve Sell
July 23, 2015

SALINA — Last year, McPherson’s American Legion baseball team lost its first game of the Class A State Tournament before roaring back to win six in a row to capture the championship — the first team ever to accomplish that feat.

It appears Post 24 is taking a different route this year.

McPherson continued on in the winner’s bracket on Wednesday by pounding Paola, 10-4.  With a win in today’s 6:00 game against Arkansas City, Post 24 would be in the finals and have some time to rest while the loser’s bracket plays out.

Unlike Tuesday when Post 24 waited until the sixth inning to score, it rocketed out of the gates for an 8-1 lead after 3 1/2 innings, with six in the second providing the impetus. It was later 10-1 before the Panthers came up with a mild uprising in the fifth inning with three runs.

Sam Brossard started on the mound and worked into the fourth inning before giving way to Trey Hanken. Brossard allowed only two hits and a run, but struggled with his command with six walks. Hanken gave up three runs, but all were unearned.

McPherson did play much better defense than Game 1 when it committed six errors. It had only one miscue in this game, while it pressured the Panthers into six because of its aggressive play.

Post 24 continued its frenzied hitting, with Dylan Werries, Zane Myers and Paxton Leaf all coming up with two, while Myers and Alex Kalkhorst were credited with two RBIs.

McPherson coach Heath Gerstner had said that Paola was a big concern because it was a team with much more experience, with many of the same players that lost to Post 24 in last year’s tourney.

Arkansas City has been impressive in its two games so far, especially in the pitching department. It knocked off the host Salina Hawks 6-0 in the first round and followed that up with an 8-1 victory over Atchison.

After today’s games, the tournament will be down to three teams. Friday’s loser’s bracket championship game is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the championship game 30 minutes following the completion of that game. If a second championship game is needed because of the double-elimination format, it would be played at 10 a.m. Saturday.

• Wednesday’s Games •

Doniphan County 11, Chanute 3 (Chanute eliminated)

Salina 12, Andover 9 (Andover eliminated)

McPherson 10, Paola 4

Arkansas City 8, Atchison 1

• Thursday’s Games •

10:00 — Salina vs. Paola (loser eliminated)

12:30 — Doniphan County vs. Atchison (loser eliminated)

6:00 – McPherson vs. Arkansas City

8:30 — Winner of Salina-Paola vs. winner of Doniphan County-Atchison (loser eliminated)