McPHERSON — Failing to find their rhythm at the plate during Game 1 of a Class AAA American Legion doubleheader, the Great Bend Chiefs struggled against McPherson at Grant Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
The Chiefs fell 7-2, dropping their record to 6-19 on the season.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get things going,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said. “We didn’t have a good approach at the plate. I felt like we were swinging at pitches that they wanted us to swing at.”
An Aaron Marshall inside-the-park home run drove in Steven Gonzalez as McPherson took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
“They set the tone with that,” Stettinger said. “I thought we did a pretty good job pitching. They gave us a chance to stay in the game.”
The Chiefs cut into the lead when Logan Zecha was hit in the back of the helmet with a pitch while the bases were loaded, bringing in Tristan Hall.
However, McPherson added two runs in the top of the third to make it 4-1.
Marshall started on the mound for McPherson, giving Great Bend trouble.
“We were chasing pitches,” Stettinger said. “We were chasing pitches up in the zone that we don’t normally chase. He had some pitches away, and when you start chasing pitches up in the zone, it gets pretty hard to catch up to it.”
Marshall pitched a complete game, giving up four hits and striking out nine batters.
Great Bend starting pitcher Braden Jones went four innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits.
Tyler Nuss replaced Jones on the mound after back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles from McPherson in the bottom of the fifth made it 7-1.
“I think they just started getting on him timing-wise,” Stettinger said of Jones. “Braden gave us an opportunity to be in the game. We were only down by five (at the end).
“Five runs, that’s something we can catch up on.”
Jones drove in Dillon Reiser, who reached base on an error in the top of the sixth, closing the gap to 7-2.
McPherson 10, Great Bend 5
McPHERSON — Great Bend took an early lead against McPherson in Game 2, but a six-run sixth inning led to a Chiefs loss.
"We gave up six runs in the sixth," Stettinger said. "Defensively, we just shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. "We had a double-play ball that we just threw away.
"We started off the inning with a couple walks and a misplayed bunt, and it all came back to hurt us."
Jaxx Hillman led things off in the top of the first, reaching base on an error. He scored on a passed ball.
Matthew Zecha scored when Bryce Beck drew a walk with the bases loaded, giving the Chiefs a 2-0 lead in the top of the third.
McPherson closed the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the third, but Great Bend put two more runs on the board in the top of the fourth.
Alex Deist led off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a Brett Basye sacrifice bunt before Beck hit a two-run single.
McPherson tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth before Beck was relieved by Tristan Jones, who got the final two outs to end the inning.
Beck went 4 1/3 innings and recorded five strikeouts.
McPherson put up six runs in the sixth to take the lead.
The Chiefs scored in the top of the seventh when Jones scored on a passed ball.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
Grant Sports Complex
McPherson 7, Great Bend 2
123 456 7 R H E
Great Bend 010 001 0 — 2 4 3
McPherson 202 030 x — 7 7 2
Braden Jones, Tyler Nuss (5) & Jared Maneth; Aaron Marshall & Garrett Higgins. W — Marshall. L — Jones. 2B — McPherson (Garrett Higgins, Marshall, Brodie Burney, Tanner Devore). HR — McPherson (Marshall).