After a tough loss to the Great Bend Bat Cats on the road on Friday, the McPherson Pipeliners was able to settle the score on Saturday at home with a 14-13 win over Great Bend, marking them 2-1 of the season, and 2-0 at Light Capital Baseball Stadium.
Unlike Friday's 20-10 loss, the game came down to top of the ninth with Tyler Kinser closing out the inning. At the plate for the Bat Cats was Nick Urban-Michalak, who has been a nightmare for the Pipeliners all night after hitting a homer and recording seven RBIs for Great Bend. Kinser threw a changeup at a 1-2 count, making Urban-Michalak swing and miss to close out the victory. Head coach Caleb Hartman called it a "gutsy call."
"Kisner has got his stuff together and I was confident in his pitches," Hartman said. "We let our catcher Troy Carrigan take care of it and we knew he was going to make the right pitch.”
The Pipeliners started off hot after a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but both teams went back and forth in each inning. Despite Great Bend's batters hitting homers to keep them in the game, the Pipeliners took advantage of the Bat Cats' errors by scoring five runs off wild pitches. Great Bend also gave up 10 walks and five stolen bases, putting McPherson in scoring position each time.
"We got some fast guys," Hartman said. “We haven’t stolen a lot of bases, and haven’t been too aggressive yet, but we’ve got some guys who can do it for us.”
Austin Warfel started on the mound for the Pipeliners. However, Britt Brown will get the win as the reliever. McPherson's own Cody Starkel led the Pipeliners with two RBIs, while three McPherson batters tied for two hits.
With another successful turnout by the McPherson fans attending and being 2-0 at home, it didn't take a lot of convincing for Hartman to believe that home-field advantage didn't play a factor.
"A lot of people would say home-field advantage is a myth. It's not a myth at all," Hartman said. "Having the crowd behind you is big time for us. We want to win all our games period, but it's great to be here and win."
Exhausted after a full week of baseball, the Pipeliners will take a day off on Sunday. They will need it as they focus on their conference opponents, starting with their road game at Clearwater on Wednesday, June 6.
"They are tired. They need a break, and I'm going give them a break," Hartman said. "We got our conference game on the sixth at Clearwater. When we go out beating a team like this, that gives us a lot of confidence going into the conference."
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports