JUNCTION CITY —Despite a loss in game one on Saturday, the McPherson Summer Bullpups bounced back to win game two and stake claim as champions of the Junction City Baseball Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
After scoring a 12-6 win over Kingman in their Friday opener of the Invitational, the Summer Bullpups stumbled in the first game on Saturday, losing a close 4-3 contest to Rossville due to an offense that lacked much punch to it, before getting the bats untracked in final game of the weekend against Junction City and pounding out a 12-6 victory, giving the Bullpups claim to the Invitational Championship by winning two of three games.
In the game with Rossville, the Summer Bullpups had but one hit from Simon Boese for an offensive attack while committing five errors on the field defensively. Brayden Stout gave it everything he had on the mound, throwing a complete game while giving up eight hits, four runs of which three were earned, not walking a single Rossville batter while striking out seven in the loss.
“Brayden (Stout) battle well on the mound for us today in game one,” noted Summer Bullpups Head Coach Matt McCasland. “He gave us an extended outing and pitched well enough to have gotten a win, but we didn’t give him much support offensively. We really struggled to barrel up the ball against their lefty. It was competitive throughout, but we couldn’t put it together offensively to pick up the win.”
For the final game of the weekend, the Summer Bullpups had several players find their bats as they smacked out 12 hits and scored at least one run in every inning on their way to the 12-6 commanding win over invitational host Junction City.
McPherson scored one run in each of the first three innings before pushing three across in the fourth, adding one in the fifth and two in the sixth before putting the game away with four more scores added in the seventh.
Among the 12 hits on offense, the Summer Bullpups knocked out four doubles, while keeping the Junction City pitching staff on their toes with seven stolen bases.
Leading the offense were Jakob Feil, Tytin Goebel and Dylan Rinker who each had three hits, while Chandler Wiard had a pair. Besides three hits, Feil had a double, two runs batted in, scored five runs and stole three bases, while Kourtney Craig made the most of his one hit by cranking out a double and getting four runs batted in for the game. Wiard and Goebel also had doubles, while Wiard added two stolen bases and Goebel scored three times.
On the mound, Wiard got the start and went six innings, giving up just five hits, while giving up four runs – all unearned due to four defense errors – walking just two and striking out six in getting credit for the victory. Feil came on in relief for the final inning.
“Chandler (Wiard)( followed up game one with a great outing in game two on the mound,” added Coach McCasland during his post-game coach reflections. “He is starting to show some consistency with strong performances in both of his last two starts. He is going to need to be one of our guns next season, so it is good to see.”
Speaking of the offense, Coach McCasland concluded his comments saying, “Offensively we got back to our style of play. We got runners on base, moved them over, and found ways to get them across the plate. We were able to open things up and put a lot of pressure on the Junction City defense. We forced some mistakes with our small ball game and be being aggressive on the base paths.”
With the two wins and a loss over the weekend, the Summer Bullpups enter the final two weeks of the summer season with an 11-12 mark as they return to the home field at Grant Complex on Tuesday with a single game against the Wichita Aviators. Originally on the schedule as a doubleheader, the two teams will now be playing just the one, nine-inning game with the first pitch schedule to be thrown at 6:00 p.m.
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