BUHLER — The McPherson High School baseball team wasn't at their best on the road against long-time rivals Buhler High School, but the Bullpups were still able to split the series against the Crusaders. The Bullpups improve their record to 3-1 on the season.
Game one 14-9: No need to Werries
Things weren't going right for the Bullpups: the Crusaders had nine runs in the first four innings, while the Bullpups had three, and errors also came into play as McPherson gave up four the entire game. The Bullpups trailed 9-3.
"We just have to be better — no question about it. Our guys weren't okay with it. You can blame it on the conditions, on the new field or not playing for a whole week. The errors are something that needs to be a cost for us. We have to be great defensively, and great on the mound," said Bullpups' head coach Heath Gerstner.
In the final stretch, the tables turned as McPherson scored two runs in the fifth to make it 9-5. McPherson was making a major comeback while Buhler sat scoreless in the last two innings. In the top of the seventh-inning, the Bullpups went off on a hitting spree, scoring nine straight runs. Dylan Werries was at bat and the bases were loaded. It was then that Werries nailed a grand slam, and just like that, the Bullpups were ahead by five runs.
"It was basically the guys before us, getting the hits, getting the walks and just getting on base. We didn't energize the entire game. The sun came out and I guess God told us to get into gear and we all got energized. That's what led us, and I came up to bat and got up to swing," Werries said about game one.
The game ended with the Bullpups scoring 11 unanswered runs despite their defensive efforts. Werries led game one with three hits and five RBIs at bat. He also started as pitcher and finished the game with three strikeouts and a walk.
"I really thought they (Buhler) dominated us, something we were fortunate enough to get a big inning together late. Credit to our guys for believing that it could happen and it doesn't happen without a bit of belief. Creating a big inning is something that we like to do," Gerstner said.
Game Two 10-0: A Buhler Beatdown.
The Bullpups weren’t so lucky in game two after being shutout by the Crusaders. Buhler dominated on both sides of the field. Unlike game one where McPherson recorded 13 hits, they only had two the second game. Buhler's pitching game was solid, as they were led by sophomore Connor Ogburn, who led the game with seven strikeouts.
"Their pitcher is really good. He had multiple pitches working for him. You sometimes have to pick and choose. We don't really give them the pitching duel, it made it tough for us to have a chance, and I thought he was outstanding. I thought we gave in a few at-bats. I thought we competed at times, but we have to work consistently," Gerstner said.
It was a rough night for Trey Hanken on the mound as he gave up 17 hits and 10 runs. The Crusaders had a comfortable six runs and nine hits in the first two innings.
"We weren't locating our fastballs. If you locate a fastball, it gives you a chance to throw strikes and keep guys off-balance. If you're not locating and falling behind, you're going to struggle. We'll get back to work and get ready for Thursday," Gerstner said.
After a split series against their rivals, the Bullpups will be back at practice and will focus on their next road game at 4 p.m. on April 5 at Winfield High School.
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