McPherson’s two games Friday as part of the Hutchinson Next Level College Showcase couldn’t have been any more different.

McPherson’s two games Friday as part of the Hutchinson Next Level College Showcase couldn’t have been any more different.
The American Legion Post 24 17Us were caught off-guard and unprepared in the 8:30 a.m. contest at Buhler’s Prairie Hills Middle School due to a scheduling snafu. The end result was a 13-0 shellacking at the hands of the Wichita Rawlings Reds.
To close out the day’s games at Grant Sports Complex, Post 24 played a much more sound ballgame and came out on top of Ark City Post 18 5-1.
“Night and day with the other games,” McPherson coach Tony Schmidt said after the Ark City win. “The attitudes got better, we came out and hustled and did all the small things right. We made some mistakes, but [Ark City] was a good team to play right now.”
McPherson had struggled both offensively and defensively in the first two games of the tournament, which included a 10-0 loss to the 68’s Inside Sports Cavaliers on Thursday in a game that was shuffled around at the last minute due to excessive rain that washed out the McPherson fields Thursday.
Against Ark City, Post 24 (1-2) was able to hit off of Black Diamond starter Robert Nanni, who gave up four earned runs to McPherson. Brodie Burney, in particular, had a solid outing at the plate for Post 24, as he went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“I think some of the things we’re trying to incorporate into our hitting, like letting the ball travel a bit farther and pulling the ball into the opposite field,” Schmidt said, “we’re seeing some transitions in some of these players going on, learning how to hit the ball the opposite way. Not that they can’t do that, but we’re actually getting some players that don’t normally pull the ball, too.”
It’s a learning process that Schmidt says he and his coaches will continue to work on with their players throughout the summer.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” he said, “but, tonight, we saw some pretty good results out of that.”
Caleb Schmidt and Cody Starkel both picked up a hit, each, for McPherson. Starkel, Micah McCulley and Jacob Loecker all had RBIs for Post 24, who out-hit Ark City 4-3.
Schmidt worked 5 1/3 innings before the 90 minute time limit imposed on all games in the Next Level Showcase expired. He walked only one Ark City batter and struck out five in the winning effort.
“That’s key,” Tony Schmidt said of the pitching effort in the win. “He kept his pitches low. And everyone’s more interested. When we’re throwing strikes and doing all the little things right like that, we’re going to win some games.”
In the early game against Wichita, Post 24 mustered only three hits in the loss.
McCulley was rocked by the Reds’ bats from the onset, as he threw 58 pitches in only two-thirds of an inning and gave up nine of the 13 runs on five hits to take the loss. Griffin Myers came into the game in relief and worked two innings, giving up the other four runs on two hits and four walks.
Caleb Schmidt worked the final third of an inning, plus picked up one of McPherson’s only hits.
Burney and Kolby Reed had the other two singles for Post 24.
With the taste of those first two games washed out of their mouths, however, it will be a different ballclub that takes the field this morning at 10:15 a.m. against the Dodge City Rangers at Grant Sports Complex.
“We know what to expect out of our team here in this tournament,” Tony Schmidt said. “For us to get a win here tonight was big. It’s not so much about being successful in this tournament with a win, but how we play and our attitudes and doing all the little things right that we want to incorporate into a season. That’s, really, what this tournament is about for us.”

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