The Heat was on from both the 100-degree weather and the Wellington Heat as the McPherson Pipeliners drop two more home losses in a doubleheader matchup. This time, the Pipeliners were without their head coach Caleb Hartman as he is serving a three-game suspension due to misconduct toward an umpire in their last game against the Kansas Cannons.
Game One Wellington Heat 17 McPherson Pipeliners 2
The balls were flying for the Heat right from the top of the first when three homers and seven runs in the top of the first, and then a three-run homer in the second inning. The Pipeliners were trailing in double figures in the first two innings
Austin Warfel started on the mound for McPherson but didn't last too long as he only pitched for the two innings before Tyler Kinser took over as the reliever in the third. Calvin Jones took over in the third inning and managed to pitch two scoreless innings.
Pipeliners was only able to put up two runs and six hits in the game. John Marecks' led with an RBI single in the bottom of the third, and Eric Eric Gutierrez's sacrifice-fly for a score in the bottom of the fourth.
The Heat got back to making hits in the top of the fifth after recording six more runs while on Jones was on the mound. Game one ended in the fifth due to the run rule.
Game Two Wellington Heat 8 McPherson Pipeliners 7
The Pipeliners had plenty of chances to settle the score with the Heat, but a last minute error cost them the game late in the seventh inning.
Game two was a lot more competitive. Both the Pipeliners and the Heat tied for one apiece in their opening innings. However, it was the Pipeliners who took the first lead of the night by putting three runs off three walks. It was 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
Harry Park started game two for the Pipeliners. After throwing up some chunks in the beginning, he also threw three scoreless innings. Fatigue would step in for Parks in the top of the fifth. It was until the Heat hit a grand slam to regain the lead. Blaine Hanf took over for the Pipeliners to finish the inning.
"That was my fault. I should've had Blaine (Hanf) warm up a little bit sooner and put him in," pitching coach Taylor Wertssaid after the game. "Harry (Park) started to wear down a little bit. He wasn't locating stuff and couldn't find it."
Carson Davis stepped up and hit a two-run homer to regain the lead in the bottom of the six. Just when the Pipeliners were only three outs away of splitting the series, the Heat hit a solo homer to tied the ballgame in the seventh. Then, later on, Hanf threw two straight wild pitches, putting the Heat in scoring position to end the ball game. Werts, a former college pitcher for McPherson College, stepped as the closer despite not playing for almost two years. For Werts, he did remain active during practice sessions.
"I just started throwing a little bit more during the practice since I started coaching," Werts said. "My arm is not where it used to be, but it's not about how hard you throw. It about how you locating pitches and being smart and knowing what to do on the mound."
While two runners for the Heat were on first and third base, one runner attempted to steal second, and the Pipeliners tried to tag the runner out but left the third base runner wide open for a run, which cost McPherson the game.
"We should've won that ballgame no doubt. There were some few baseball IQ mistakes toward the end of that pickoff move" Werts said. "Maybe not go for the runner or maybe just run them back to first, keep an eye of third and they don't score. Worst case scenario he runs back to first and we got new life at the plate."
After dropping two to the Heat, the Pipeliners fall to 8-11 of the year. They will meet up with the Heat again in Saturday, June 30, but this time it will be at Wellington at 7 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports