It was hard not to mention it.
It was hard not to mention it.
Through four innings of Tuesday’s second game between the McPherson American Legion 17Us and the Wichita Aviators, Caleb Schmidt was flawless on the mound.
The buzz started growing in the crowd and on the field, as Post 24’s ace closed in on a perfect game with McPherson up 9-0 and three outs away from the run-rule win.
“Brodie Burney brought it up [at one point] with a count of three balls and one strike,” McPherson coach Tony Schmidt said of the potential no-hitter. “He said, ‘Man, has he even walked anyone yet?’ I go, ‘we don’t talk about things like that.’”
Sure enough, Caleb Schmidt gave up two hits and a walk in the top of the fifth, but still held out to get the 9-0 win and move Post 24 up over .500 on the season.
“They’d seen Caleb enough, and he was starting to get a little tired,” Tony Schmidt said. “We should have thrown breaking balls, but both those [hits] were change ups. That mentality kind of bit us a little bit with that. But we won as a team with good defense behind him.”
Caleb Schmidt finished with just the two hits and one walk, with four strike outs of the aviators.
Burney had a triple with the bases loaded in the second inning of game one to spark a 6-2 win and complete the sweep over the Aviators.
Griffin Myers had the win in the first game, as he went seven innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits and only one walk. He was keyed in on the strike zone all night, as he struck out five batters.
“When we pitch strikes, most of the time we win,” Tony Schmidt said. “We don’t even have to be dominate, as far as pitchers. But, if we pitch strikes, our kids are in the game, the game flows faster and it helps tremendously. We play better defense that way.”
That was especially true Tuesday, as the Legion committed only one error all night. In contrast, Wichita had five between the two games.
Cody Starkel led the hitting in game one with a 2-for-3 performance that included one RBI. Burney recorded five total RBIs over both games of the doubleheader.
Ryan Eilts led the offense in game two by batting 2-for-2. Caleb Schmidt stole four total bases in the second game, including a spectacular steal of home plate in the first inning that sparked the offense.
Despite the 5-4 record and the sweep over the Aviators, Tony Schmidt doesn’t feel his team is quite where he wants them to be yet. One thing he notes is missing is that one player that provides a spark of energy regardless of the score.
“We’ve got guys that like each other and get along really well,” Schmidt said, “but we still need that spark of energy. I think, eventually, we’ll see a couple of guys surface and take that role on, but, really, right now, [we’re missing] enthusiasm.”
Not helping is the injury situation. Starkel is battling a sore arm, while Kolby Reed has been suffering from a sore back. Compounding that was a concussion suffered by Marcus McDaniel during the recent McPherson High School football camp.
“We used him at Enid and he did fine,” Schmidt said. “But they want to take a look at him again, because the last practice we had he was a little lightheaded. Was told he couldn’t play tonight and maybe this weekend [for the Bob Hooper Showcase].”
Post 24 (5-4) will need as many hands on deck as they can manage this weekend, as they will play host to the Hooper tournament at Grant Sports Complex and Light Capital Diamonds Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
McPherson opens up the tournamnet Friday against BTL Academy Gray at 3:30 p.m. The full schedule will be released in Thursday’s Sentinel.
Contact Chris Swick by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.