It took a little bit for the McPherson Post 24 Juniors to get their bats going Friday night against Nickerson, but when they did, they unloaded for a 13-5 victory to open up the Bob Hooper Classic at Grant Sports Complex.
McPherson led Nickerson 2-1 going into the sixth, but unloaded for an nine-run inning. Cody Starkel and Marcus McDaniel both had triples in the offensive onslaught against Nickerson, whom McPherson had beaten already twice this season.
Head coach Tony Schmidt noted his juniors had some issues playing the small ball Friday, which let Nickerson stay as close as they did for five innings.
“We didn’t bunt very well tonight,” Schmidt said, “and that hurts us. I’ve said this all along, but we don’t have guys that can hit gaps all of the time. So, we need to utilize our speed and bunt.”
Schmidt admitted it bothered both him and his team that Nickerson stayed in the ball game the way they did, considering McPherson had beaten them by scores of 23-3 and 15-1 in their earlier meetings.
“I think this was a little different team than we’d seen in Nickerson, though,” Schmidt said. “And that’s OK. We had a little different team, also. We didn’t have Marcus (McDaniel) and we didn’t have Cody (Starkel) that game either.”
Caleb Schmidt took the win for McPherson (14-3), making his first appearance in a game this season after being out eight weeks after breaking his arm and then a finger during the high school season.
Schmidt was one out away from picking up the complete game win in his first game back from the injuries, but ran into some trouble in the seventh, giving up a walk that scored a run. Griffin Myers came in to get the final out, though he struggled a little with the strike zone, as well, walking in three more Nickerson runs before ending the game.
“I wanted (Caleb Schimdt) established because we’ll need him later on,” Tony Schmidt said. “We probably won’t use him the rest of the weekend, but he needed to get through that.”
The box score was unavailable at press time.
Post 24 has two games on the docket for today. They take the field at 11 a.m. against Hutchinson, then will play at 1:30 p.m. against El Dorado.
McPherson’s record at the end of today will determine their seeding for Sunday, where the top four seeds will square off at 10 a.m. for the right to play in the championship at 12:30 p.m.
The other 7:30 p.m. contest saw Hutchinson get blown out by Great Bend 11-1. Hutch went 0-2 on the day, as they fell to Buhler 10-0 in one of the 5 p.m. games. Nickerson dominated El Dorado 12-0 in the other early contest.
Page 2 of 2 - Nickerson meets Buhler in the other 11 a.m. game this morning, while Great Bend and Buhler clash at 1:30 p.m. El Dorado and Great Bend then have the 4 p.m. game at Grant Sports Complex.
Contact Chris Swick at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.