The heat was on in Leavenworth Friday, but the temperature only had a little to do with it.

The heat was on in Leavenworth Friday, but the temperature only had a little to do with it.
McPherson Post 24 lit up their bats in both games they played Friday, as they upset defending champion Paola and topped the night with a win over the Salina Eagles in the night cap of the American Legion Class A State Baseball Tournament and will play for third place this afternoon at noon.
Post 24 unloaded on Paola in the early game for 16 hits, in a 7-3 rout of the Panthers. Paola had been expected to play for the state championship again, as they had only lost once coming into the tournament.
McPherson found itself down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, as they struggled a little in the early going to figure out pitcher Donovan Sutti.
They lit up Sutti in the third, however, as his control started lagging. Cody Starkel was walked and Caleb Schmidt was hit by a pitch to put runners at third and first for Marcus McDaniel.
McDaniel took two pitches and drove a line drive to center field for a two-run RBI that left McPherson a run down from Paola.
Post 24 continued the momentum in the bottom of the fourth, as Starkel singled to center field and scored Jack Reifschneider to tie it up. Schmidt gave McPherson the lead with a bunt that drove in Starkel.
Casen Hoover added an insurance run with a RBI single to third, while Ryan Eilts scored on an error and McPherson was up 6-3 after the dust settled in the fourth.
McDaniel added the final run on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Hoover had a fantastic game at the plate, as he went 3-for-3. Starkel, Schmidt, McDaniel, Brody Burney, Jacob Loecker and Kolby Reed all had two, with both of McDaniel’s hits coming as doubles. He also had two RBIs.
Reifschneider got the win, as he went five innings and gave up the one run on one hit and four walks. He struck  out five.
Caleb Schmidt started and gave up two runs on one hit, with five walks.
Post 24 (25-7) was up 4-0 in the late game against the Eagles, who tried a late rally, but came up short 4-2.
Burney and Starkel accounted for five of McPherson’s seven hits, with Burney going 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Starkel had a triple in a 2-for-3 showing.
Micah McCulley had the win on the mound, as he went the first 5 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and four walks. He fanned eight of the 24 batters he faced.
McDaniel worked the final 1 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out four in notching the save.
McPherson will face Doniphan County for the right to continue on in the tournament today at noon. Doniphan fell to Andover Central in the winner’s bracket game.
A win will put McPherson in the championship game today at 2:30 p.m. against Andover Central, who defeated Post 24 Wednesday 8-3 to open the tournament.
An if necessary game will be played Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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