Brodie Burney had a performance at the plate Friday night that would have had Bob Hooper smiling, had he been there.

Brodie Burney had a performance at the plate Friday night that would have had Bob Hooper smiling, had he been there.

Burney went 2-for-3 with a double and four runs batted in to help power the Post 24 Seniors past Wellington in McPherson’s opening game of the Bob Hooper Classic Friday at Grant Sports Complex.

“(Burney) is hitting the ball in the gaps and scoring lots of runs when we load the bases up,” McPherson coach Craig Marshall said.

Burney’s double came in a three-run first inning for Post 24, as he nailed a line drive to center field on a 1-0 count that subsequently scored Tanner DeVore. Burney then scored, himself, off a Cody Starkel single to right field.

McPherson (5-8) looked to put the game away in the second, as they scored six runs on a Wellington defense that was left looking confused as Post 24 continued what amounted to batting practice in the inning.

Zach Likely drove in Steven Gonzalez to start the offensive explosion off a left-field double. Burney then drove in two more runs off a line drive single to center, with Starkel then picking up two more RBI’s in the very next at-bat, as he put a line drive into single that scored Burney and DeVore.

McPherson added one run in the bottom of the third, making it 10-0 and needing only three outs to put the game away due to the run-rule.

Unfortunately, McPherson’s concentration slipped in the fourth. Starting pitcher Alex Ruxlow, who had been sharp the first three innings, allowing only a walk and no hits, saw his control slip in the inning.

Wellington picked up four runs in the inning, forcing McPherson to have to work a little harder in the bottom of the inning.

“We just lost a touch of focus,” Marshall said. “We just didn’t finish things the way we wanted to. It was one of those end of the ballgames where we just fooled around and didn’t finish out.”

Ruxlow got out of the jam and gave McPherson a chance to end it in the bottom of the frame, but Post 24 could only manage a couple of runs to make it 13-4, not enough to kick in the 10-runs after four innings run rule.

Wellington scored another run in the fifth inning off of reliever Aaron Marshall, who struck out the last batter swinging to preserve the 13-5 win.

Ruxlow faced 18 batters, striking out five and walking only two. He gave up four runs, all earned, off of four hits.

Marshall gave up the run but no hits in his inning of work. He walked two and struck out one.

Marshall also went 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI. Starkel was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Day one of the Bob Hooper Classic also featured Nickerson, Buhler and Junction City in pool play.
The 5 p.m. games saw Nickerson hold on to beat Wellington 11-10 and Buhler defeat Junction City 16-1. Newton shut down Buhler 10-1 in the second 7:30 p.m. game.

Games continue this morning at 11 a.m., with McPherson meeting Nickerson and Junction City taking on Newton. The second set of games will see Buhler and McPherson clash, while Junction City faces Wellington.

Newton and Nickerson will meet in the 4 p.m. game, with the total records for the two days being used to determine the seeding for Sunday’s games.

The tournament, which also includes the Post 24 Juniors next week, honors Hooper, a long-time advocate of baseball in McPherson. Hooper passed away in 2011.

“Bob was instrumental in the high school getting baseball started many years ago and he was always an active support of Legion baseball,” Craig Marshall said in an email. “He is always remembered and sorely missed by McPherson fans.”

Contact Chris Swick at and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.