McPherson American Legion Senior coach Craig Marshall couldn’t help but be proud of the way his squad rebounded from a disappointing first game Saturday against El Dorado.
Post 24 suffered some bad luck during game one and fell to El Dorado 8-7. Starter Alex Ruxlow gave up a grand slam in the bottom of the second after retiring four of the first seven batters he faced to make it 4-0 El Dorado.
Aaron Marshall responded in the top of the fifth with a three-run homer of his own to right field off the first pitch, putting McPherson right back in the game. In the sixth, he gave Post 24 the lead with a two-RBI triple to center field, the scored, himself, the next at-bat after Brodie Burney hit a sacrifice grounder to short stop.
Marshall took over the pitching duties in the fifth inning, and looked to hold onto the win, but El Dorado mounted a three-run bottom of the sixth inning to get the win.
“Both (Ruxlow and Marshall) deserved a better fate,” Craig Marshall said. “We had two key errors in the game that cost us runs, and two failed double plays late in the game hurt us after we came back.”
Aaron Marshall took the loss after going two innings and giving up three runs, one earned, off two hits. He struck out two and walked two. Ruxlow went four innings and gave up five runs, four earned, off two hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Marshall was 3-for-3 at the plate in game one to lead McPherson, picking up five RBIs in the process. Ethan Blouin went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
McPherson didn’t hang their heads about the loss, however, instead turning around and drilling El Dorado 10-0 in game two.
Steven Gonzalez added a one-hitter to his resume in picking up the complete-game win. He struck out three and walked three.
“Steven was in command throughout the game,” Craig Marshall said. “Our defense was excellent and we were strong at the plate throughout the line up. I was very pleased with the way we came back to win game two.”
McPherson scored a run in each of the first two innings, then unloaded for four runs in the third. Aaron Marshall again was big at the plate for Post 24 in the inning, driving in Blouin off a center-field double. McPherson got four more runs in the fourth inning, all off walks as El Dorado’s pitching broke down. Marshall scored the final run in the fourth to make it 10-0 and solidify the run-rule victory.
Craig Marshall said that kind of grit was needed from the team as they prepare for post-season play in two weeks.
“We have to set a winning culture of beating the teams we are supposed to beat and battling hard to beat the teams that are a challenge,” Marshall said. “Our players have to accept this challenge as the season winds down to post-season play July 22.”
McPherson is at home the next two nights. They host Andover tonight at Grant Sports Complex, then will face Great Bend tomorrow. Both games have a 6 p.m. first pitch.