The Grant Complex grass has been neatly trimmed, its foul lines chalked and all it’s waiting for is eight teams to arrive on Wednesday for the start of the American Legion Class AAA State Baseball Tournament.
McPherson is no stranger to hosting big-time events, as this past spring it hosted state high school events for girls soccer and boys golf. Earlier this summer, Grant Complex was the site of the 16-team Hooper Showcase, which received rave reviews from those who attended.
As we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer, this is a perfect opportunity for local sports fans to get out and take in the best high school baseball players in Kansas.
Because it’s serving as host, McPherson received an automatic berth into the state tournament. But it proved it belonged by going through its zone tournament undefeated and that was like a mini-state tournament as Newton, Buhler and Salina made up the rest of the field. Newton was the second qualifier from the zone and is in the opposite bracket of McPherson.
Most of the members of this year’s Post 24 team were on last year’s team that won the Class A state title, the program’s first in 40 years. The team pulled off the first-ever feat of losing in the first round before coming back to run the table, including back-to-back wins over Andover to capture the championship.
McPherson coach Tony Schmidt said that experience should serve the team well in this year’s tournament. Post 24 has a reservoir of pitchers, something that’s needed in a tournament like this. Of course by staying in the winners bracket, McPherson would not have to exhaust its staff.
Last year’s state title proved to be a springboard for what turned out to be the best state finish in McPherson High’s history this spring. The Bullpups, coming off a 7-14 season in 2014, made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to powerhouse Topeka Hayden in the finals, as the Wildcats were the best team in Class 4A Division I from start to finish.
Local tourney officials are hoping that all teams and fans enjoy their stay and are the recipients of outstanding McPherson hospitality. It is hoped that local fans will turn out in droves and support the team as it attempts to win a second straight title and it would be the fourth overall for the Post 24 program.
A reminder about Wednesday’s schedule:
11:00 — Wichita vs. Newton
1:30 — Ottawa vs. Garden City
5:00 — Great Bend vs. Oskaloosa
7:30 — Emporia vs. McPherson