Thursday’s season opener between McPherson High and Augusta was indicative of how evenly matched the two teams are.

Thursday’s season opener between McPherson High and Augusta was indicative of how evenly matched the two teams are.
“Like us, they’ve got a lot of depth,” MHS coach Danica Fitzmorris said after her Lady Pups split with the Orioles. “It’s just a series that, out of 10 games, we’re going to win five and they’re going to win five.”
McPherson (1-1, 1-1 AVCTL Division III) had a hot bat from junior Chelsey Kerr that allowed them to claim game one 7-6.
Game two, however, saw the Orioles (1-1, 1-1) overcome a 7-0 fourth inning deficit to win in walk-off fashion in extra innings 13-12.
The Lady Pups were down 3-0 after the bottom of the second inning of game one, after Augusta’s Lauren Fernz broke a 0-0 deadlock with a line drive double to left field that scored Hallie Harmon. The Orioles would also get RBIs from Jordan Hill and one other player before Bullpup pitcher Madison Hoffman could stop the bleeding.
The Pups responded in the top of the third, however, as Mayci James scored on an Oriole error. That led to Kerr’s first of two home runs of the game that gave McPherson a 4-3 lead after the end of the third.
Harmon responded with a homer of her own in the bottom of the frame that gave Augusta the lead back, 6-4, after Brooke Eberhardt had an RBI single to tie the game at 4-4.
Kerr got the Bullpups to within one run in the fifth inning with a double to left field that scored Bailea Crist.
The Pups had their backs to the wall with two out in the top of the seventh when Kerr drilled her second homer, a two-run shot over the center field wall off a 0-1 pitch from Megan Hayes to make it 7-6.
Augusta threatened in the bottom of the inning, but the Bullpup defense held strong to get a little pay back from the 2014 Class 4A Division I state championship game, which MHS lost to Augusta.
“I’m really glad we were able to play that first game out,” Fitzmorris said. “It was such a confidence booster.”
Kerr went 3 for 4 for the game with four RBIs and two runs scored. Hannah Marshall added two runs over her own, while James and Jasmin Wann both had doubles.
Hoffman went all seven innings, throwing 109 pitches and giving up six earned runs on 13 hits. She struck out three and walked just two.
In game two, the Lady Pups looked to have all the momentum, as they had a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. The Orioles, however, refused to quit and cut that to 7-5 after a five-run output in the fourth.
McPherson looked to retake the momentum with a four-run fifth, but Augusta scored six runs over the course of the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game at 12-12 and forcing extra innings.
Kylie Wesbrooks doubled in the bottom of the ninth to give Augusta the 13-12 walk-off win.
“We had a couple of innings where we just fell apart,” Fitzmorris said of the loss. “Both [McPherson and Augusta] are really good hitting teams and it came down to who didn’t get it done on defense. We just had a couple of times where we didn’t get it done.”
Both Crist and Kerr had three hits in game two. Kerr added a second double and two more RBIs to her night, while Crist picked up a triple. Stephanie Farney, Gracy Feil and Elle Schrag all had two hits each.
Hoffman took the loss, as she worked the final inning and two thirds in relief. She gave up one earned run on four hits.
Elle Schrag and Crist both spent time in the pitcher’s circle, as well.
Even with the loss, Fitzmorris couldn’t be upset with the effort her team put forth.
“They said I was smiling at the end and asked me why,” she said. “I told them I really had nothing to complain about.”
The Bullpup JV squad dropped both of their games to Augusta. MHS fell in game one 10-0, but recovered in game two to play the Orioles a little tighter, thanks to some great chemistry between pitcher Kenzie Goering and catcher Sheridan Scott. The Pups still fell 2-1, however.
The Pups are at home Monday, as they host a triangular with Great Bend and Mulvane starting at 2 p.m.