McPherson High School held dear to one of the main tenets of post season; survive and advance.

McPherson High School held dear to one of the main tenets of post season; survive and advance.

The Bullpups held back a Wamego rally in the sixth inning to advance to the semifinals of the Class 4A Smoky Valley Regional, defeating the Red Raiders 7-5.

“The girls stepped up and made plays,” McPherson High coach Cody Stucky said. “That was the difference; we made just a few more plays then they did.”

Neither team gained a foothold in the all-important first game of Regionals until the bottom of the second, when McPherson (15-6) managed to score both Jasmine Wann and Hannah Marshall on a passed ball.

Wamego responded in the third, though, with a three-run blast to left-center field by Savannah Brown that made it 3-2 Red Raiders.

MHS refused to quit, battling back in their half of the third. Chelsey Kerr knocked a two-RBI triple to center field that scored Madison Hoffman and Paige Regnier that gave the Pups the lead back. That was followed by a Wann RBI double that then scored Kerr, making it 5-3.

Wann then drove in two more in the fifth inning to make it 7-3.

Wamego (12-7) went to work in the sixth, though, trying to keep their season alive. They got a runner on second, which allowed Sydney Buster to drive a two-run shot over the fence in right field. The Pups didn’t get flustered, however, and sat the Red Raiders down in order in the seventh to move to this afternoon’s semifinals.

“That was probably the best we’ve been all year,” Stucky said. “We did a good job of bouncing back and gaining our composure.”

Senior Abby Steiner went all seven innings for the Pups, getting two strike outs in the process.
Regnier had two of McPherson’s five total hits.

The win sets the Bullpups up to face the regional’s No. 1 seed, Clay Center, who defeated Concordia 14-2 in six innings Monday.

“We’ll have to really be ready to defend the small ball game,” Stucky said. “They’ve got good speed, so they’ll steal. Their lead-off hitter hit two bombs (against Concordia). We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
MHS and Clay Center will take the field at Bethany College at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. The winner will advance to face either Rock Creek or Smoky Valley in the regional championship at 6:30 p.m.

The Vikings advanced by virtue of a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over Abilene 4-3 in the other 6:30 p.m. game Monday.

The Mustangs, meanwhile, had no issues in dispatching Chapman in the second early contest, winning 13-6.