McPherson High's two games Tuesday in the Class 4A Smoky Valley Regional were as different as they could possibly be.

McPherson High's two games Tuesday in the Class 4A Smoky Valley Regional were as different as they could possibly be.

Against top-seeded Clay Center, the Bullpups were spectacular at the plate and just as solid defensively in an 11-7 route of the Tigers.

In the Regional championship against No. 2 seed Rock Creek, however, numerous errors left MHS on the outside looking in for the state tournament, as they fell 16-5.

"We were looking for that breakthrough win," MHS coach Cody Stucky said. "We've been in three straight finals and to come out and have the wheels fall off like that was tough."

The semifinal with Clay Center started out with the Pups playing catch up, as the Tigers hit two long bombs, aided by a strong, southerly wind, that gave them a 3-1 advantage going into the fourth inning.
Sophomore catcher Jasmine Wann, however, sparked a comeback in the frame with a solo home run to left field on the first pitch. Marissa Axelson tied it up with an RBI double, then scored two batters later off a Kayley Schmidt blooper to shallow left-center that gave the Pups a 4-3 lead.

Wann had another solo homer in the fifth and then added an RBI single as the Pups batted through the round in the inning.

Clay Center tried to get back into it in the sixth by scoring four runs, but Schmidt made a fantastic diving catch in left-center to prevent the Tigers from doing anymore damage and get the Pups out of the jam.

Spirits were high for the championship game against the Mustangs, who had knocked off host Smoky Valley 3-1 in the other semifinal.

Unfortunately, errors on the first two at-bats had the Bullpups reeling, as Rock Creek scored 10 runs in the first inning, including a three-run blast from Alexis Wilson. McPherson finished the game with an unofficial 10 errors.

"I bet we gave them seven or eight outs in the first two innings," Stucky said. "It was unbelievable."

Schmidt managed to get MHS (16-5) on the scoreboard with an RBI single that drove in Chelsey Kerr in the second, but the Mustangs drove in five more in their half of the inning to go up 15-1.

Kerr hit an RBI double in the third, then scored herself off a Rock Creek error to make it 15-3. She then blasted a two-run homer to left-center that made it 15-5.

Unfortunately, the Pups didn't have any more gas left in the tank in the fifth, and Rock Creek reached their third state tournament in four years.

Despite the heartache from the championship loss, Stucky was positive after the game about what his team was able to accomplish this season.

"After the production that we lost from last year's team, I thought these girls stepped up and did a ton of really good things all season long," Stucky said. "They are a bunch of great girls to be around and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience with them the last few months."

Among the accomplishments the 2013 Bullpups achieved was the second best season in school history, in terms of wins, with 16, eclipsing the 15 win 1988 season.

Stucky loses four off of this year's team in seniors Azaria Romero, Paige Middleton, Abby Steiner and Schmidt.