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Panthers capture McPherson baseball title
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Kern’s clutch hits spark Panthers


MCPHERSON – Trenton Kern’s grand slam home run delivered the final blow in Great Bend’s 14-4 run-rule baseball victory Tuesday over Emporia.

Kern’s second hit rescued the Panthers 3-1 over McPherson, the 2-time defending 4A state baseball champion to capture the McPherson Quadrangular. McPherson edged Rose Hill 5-4 to qualify for the championship game. The Panthers (10-3) travel to DeSoto Friday and Saturday.

PANTHERS 3, MCPHERSON 1 (G2) – Great Bend was locked in a low-scoring battle highlighted by clutch pitching and a lack of offensive production.

McPherson’s Jace Fitzsimmons doubled home Cade Strathman for a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Panther pitchers Hunter Herrman, Daxton Minton and Owen Kaiser worked out of three bases-loaded situations. McPherson stranded 14 baserunners and batted 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Panthers struggled offensively with a pair of inning-ending double plays and Herrman picked off base.

Koehn Ribordy’s sixth-inning double was followed by walks to Carson Umphres, Ian Premer and Owen Kaiser for a 1-1 tie. Kern’s single off reliver Carter Allen scored Umphres and Premer for a 3-1 lead. Kaiser remained at third base on fly outs by Herrman and Minton.

The crafty Kaiser (2-1, 2.00 ERA) struck out Strathman and Fitzsimmons on called third strikes to strand the tying baserunner in the seventh inning. Kaiser has 17 strikeouts in 14 innings.

PANTHERS 14, EMPORIA 4 (G1) – Kern’s grand slam plated Umphres, Premer and Kaiser to spark a 7-run sixth inning. Ribordy delivered a 2-run single and Umphres’ single scored J.J. Grove the game-winner.

Umphres scored three runs, delivered three doubles, four hits and drove home two runs. Ribordy drove home three runs. Premer drove in two runs. Minton drove home a run.

Umphres (3-1, 3.23 ERA) yielded a pair of earned runs. He’s recorded 34 strikeouts in 301/3 innings.

Emporia’s Chase Harrington made the Panthers pay for back-to-back errors with a 3-run home run.

Through 13 games, Premer is batting .500 (20 for 40); Umphres .465 (16 for 38); Kern .461 (12 for 26); and Herrman .391 (9 for 23).

Emporia 000 310 – 4 4 5

Great Bend 201 317 – 14 17 3

Seidl, Wohletz (4) and Ruxton. Umphres and Kaiser. W—Umphres, 3-1. 2B—GB—Umphres 3, Grove, Ribordy. 3B—GB—Herrman. HR—GB—Kern; E—Harrington.

McPherson 000 100 0 – 1 5 0

Great Bend 000 003 x – 3 8 1

Razak, Huggard (4), Allen (6) and Allen, Huggard (6) Herrman, Minton (3), Kaiser (6) and Kaiser. W—Kaiser, 2-1. 2B—GB—Ribordy; M—Strathman, Fitzmorris.