By Mike Marzolf
Special to the Tribune
The opening session of the AAA American Legion Baseball Tournament went according to chalk at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
McPherson opened the day with an 11-3 win over Oskaloosa while Chanute finished the afternoon session with a 6-3 win over Newton.
McPherson (23-5) and Chanute (24-5) will square off tonight at 6 pm in the first winner’s bracket semifinal. Oskaloosa (11-24) and Newton (16-17) will play an elimination game at 10 am.
McPherson blew open a tight game with a 4-run fourth inning. Mac had scored once in each of the first three innings before taking command in the fourth.
The big blow came on a bases-loaded triple by Cody Starkel to cap the inning and give McPherson a 7-3 lead.
Mac added four more runs in the sixth thanks to a bases clearing double by Caleb Schmidt to push the lead to 11-3.
Starkel finished with two hits and the three RBI. Marcus McDaniel had two hits and scored two runs as well.
On the mound Alex Kalkorst went the distance, allowing six hits. Oskaloosa strung together four straight singles in the third to plate two runs and tie the game. After that Kalkorst didn’t allow a base runner, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.
Chanute had to work for its win over the Newton Knights.
Newton took a 2-1 lead on Chanute in the bottom of the third when Cole Koerner doubled in Braden Vogt and Brogen Owens. Chanute took the lead back in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs thanks to an error.
With the game tied at 3-all, Chanute took the lead for good when Hunter Friederich drove in a Jacob Eitel and Kenton Richards with a single in the fifth.
Chanute tacked on another run in the seventh for the 6-3 final.
Garrett Bailey pitched into the sixth to pick up the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits. Richards pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to pick up the save.
AAA State Legion Tournament
Great Bend Sports Complex
G1—McPherson 11, Oskaloosa 3
G2—Chanute 6, Newton 3
G3—Salina Falcons 4, Emporia 2
G4——Ottawa 9, Great Bend 0
G5—Newton 3, Oskaloosa 1
G6—12:30 p.m.—Great Bend Chiefs (26-16) vs. Emporia (15-19)
G7—6 p.m.—McPherson (23-5) vs. Chanute (24-5)
G8— 8:30 p.m.—Ottawa (31-6) vs. Salina Falcons (16-18)
G9—10 a.m.—Winners G6 vs. Loser G7 (loser eliminated)
G10—12:30 p.m.—Newton (17-17) vs. Loser G8 (loser eliminated)
G11— 5 p.m.—Winners games 7, 8
G12—8:30 p.m—Winners Games 9, 10 (loser eliminated)
G13—10 a.m.—Winner G12 vs loser G11 (loser eliminated)
G14—12:30 p.m.—Winners Games 11, 13
G15—10 a.m.—same teams as G14 (if needed)