GREAT BEND — The McPherson Post 24 Senior Legion baseball team played three competitive games at the AAA Zone Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, and went home with nothing to show for it.
McPherson scored exactly the same amount of runs as they allowed, but went an unlucky 1-2 after a pair of late-inning losses.
“We didn’t end the way we had hoped,” head coach Mark Reifschneider said. “Unfortunately, these games were similar; we got early leads but couldn’t hold on in either game.”
McPherson had to overcome an early two-run deficit to Hutchinson in the opening round. The seniors answered back in the third inning to tie the game at two, but Hutchinson struck right back with two more runs in the top of the fourth.
McPherson trimmed the lead to one in the fifth inning before a monster three-run sixth inning gave them a permanent 6-4 lead.
Dylan Werries led the way offensively with two hits and two runs scored while also pitching a gem on the mound. Werries went six innings, gave up six hits and only one earned run, while striking out nine. Jack Reifschneider had two RBIs and recorded the save.
“We were chasing the whole game against Hutch; I was proud of our kids for fighting back to get the win,” Coach Reifschneider said.
The opening round win matched McPherson up with Great Bend, with the winner advancing to the state tournament. And after a four-run first inning, headlined by a Jack Reifschneider three-run home run, it looked like that team would be McPherson.
But Great Bend scored a pair of runs in the first and second innings to tie the game at four. From there it was a slugfest, as a Jack Reifschneider sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning was answered with two runs by Great Bend in the bottom of the third.
The lead shifted again in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI single by Alex Sitts and a wild pitch that gave McPherson a 7-6 lead.
Corbin Steinert took over for Jack Reifschneider on the mound in the bottom of the fourth, surrendered his lone earned run of the game, and then was lockdown from there on out. McPherson scored its final run in the top of the fifth for an 8-7 lead, as both teams went scoreless until the bottom of the seventh.
Great Bend wouldn’t go away, however, and turned a routine ground ball into a two-run walk off hit, thanks to some help from the McPherson defense. Steinert took the loss despite allowing just one earned run.
Attempting to keep its season alive, McPherson came out firing in an elimination game against Hays the following day. McPherson jumped out to a 4-0 lead and took that lead into the sixth inning.
Down to their final six outs, Hays rallied for two runs in the sixth, two runs in the seventh, and a go-ahead run in the ninth to eke out a win.
It was a devastating way to end the season, and Coach Reifschneider is sad to see this group go.
“We didn’t end the way we had hoped,” Coach Reifschneider said. “For most of the older kids this was their last time playing competitive, organized sports. I’ve watched them grow as athletes and young men. They are a great group of kids and I will certainly miss watching them compete. I also would like to thank Matt McCasland. He managed the games for us this year and did an awesome job.”
McPherson finished 14-10 this season.
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