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Big Bats Lead Lady Pups to Sweep


By: Joel Muhs, McPherson Sentinel

[email protected]


MCPHERSON, Kan. ( – 

Although the 2023 softball season is still young, the McPherson High School softball team’s bats have shown up in a big way as the Lady Pups used another dominant offensive performance Thursday afternoon to sweep a doubleheader against Circle.

Before Thursday’s home opener for McPherson against Circle, the Lady Pups held a 2-1 record after defeating Buhler to open the season last Thursday and splitting a triangular with Manhattan and Great Bend on Tuesday. In the two wins, McPherson outscored their opponents 34-4. On Thursday, the Lady Pups continued their offensive explosion by outscoring Circle 29-3 in the doubleheader to improve their record to 4-1 on the season.

Game one of the doubleheader saw McPherson run rule the Thunderbirds 15-0 after four innings and game two was decided after the top of the fifth inning in a 14-3 Lady Pup win. However, it was Haely Hagemann’s three home runs in game one and her 5-5 afternoon at the plate that powered the McPherson offense.

“I think she was pretty frustrated with herself after our last outing against Manhattan because she struggled a little bit at the plate. I think she just regrouped and that’s all you can ask kids to do is refocus and know that sometimes you’re going to have a bad game and sometimes you’re going to have (today’s performance),” McPherson head softball coach Danica Fitzmorris said about Hagemann’s afternoon at the plate. “She hit the heck out of the ball. I was proud of her.”

The first of Hagemann’s three homers came in the first inning off a two-run shot to left field for a 2-0 lead. The second came in inning two off a three-run homer to right field that extended the McPherson lead to 7-0 through two. The third home run came in the third inning on a two-run shot to center field for a 13-0 lead, which would increase to 15-0 after two more runs were scored in the bottom of the fourth to seal the run-rule victory.

Outside of Hagemann, McPherson also received boosts at the plate in game one from Kelcy Bergstrom (3-3 with 4 RBIs), Sayge Salmans (2-3 with two RBIs) and Addison Chapman (2-3 with 2 RBIs). Chapman also received the start inside of the pitcher’s circle in game one and allowed just one hit with zero runs scored while striking out nine Thunderbirds.

“Chapman looked a little more controlled today I felt like. (Circle) may not be the caliber of Manhattan’s hitting and so that’s why it looked a little different there, but she’s got control of the ball and doing what we need her to do with it,” Fitzmorris said.

Game two saw more fireworks from the McPherson bats as Karter Alvord (2-2 with five RBIs) slapped a grand slam home run to center field in the second inning, Alex Romero (3-3 with 4 RBIs) hit a three-run homer to center field in the bottom of the first and Chapman (2-4 with two RBIs) added a third home run in the third with a two-run shot to left field.

Romero’s home run in the first inning gave McPherson a 3-1 lead after one and Alvord’s grand slam in the second extended the lead to 8-1 after two. Chapman’s two-run shot in the third pushed the lead to 11-1 before an RBI double by Alvord and an RBI single by Romero made it a 13-1 lead by the end of the third. McPherson would scratch across one final run in the fourth for a 14-1 advantage, but the game settled on a 14-3 run-rule win for the Lady Pups after the top of the fifth was completed.

Sophomore pitcher Addie Herrera gave McPherson a complete game performance in game two as she struck out four, walked one, and gave up five hits and three runs (one earned). After limited pitching opportunities in her freshman season, Fitzmorris was pleased with Herrera’s ability to keep the Circle hitters off-balance throughout the game in her second start of the season.

“Addie Herrera struggled towards the end a little bit but then regained her composure and came right back out,” Fitzmorris said. “Sometimes, as you get into those fifth and sixth innings and they’ve seen you a couple of times, they can time you up a little bit. They started to do that, but she hung tough.”

McPherson’s next opponent will come against their first opponent this season, which is a matchup against rival Buhler. In the season-opening win against Buhler last Thursday, the Lady Pups posted an 18-0 win over the Crusaders while recording 14 hits. Fitzmorris looks to repeat that history next Thursday for their second and final matchup with Buhler this season.

“Probably something pretty similar,” Fitzmorris said on what to expect in their upcoming game against Buhler. “The girls obviously really enjoy hitting that speed of ball. That’s kind of our practice speed, so I expect them to hit the ball well and do what we need to do.”

The first pitch between McPherson and Buhler will come at Grant Complex next Thursday at 4:00 P.M.

McPherson Batting Stats:

Game 1: Addison Chapman – 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB. Kelcy Bergstrom – 3-3, 3 R, 4 RBI. Haely Hagemann – 3-3, 3 R, 6 RBI. Karter Alvord – 0-2, 1 BB. Cora Pavlovich – 1-3. Reanna Eilrich – 2-3, 2 R. Sayge Salmans – 2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Ava Romero – 1-3, 2 R. Alex Romero – 2-3, 2 R, 1 SO. Team – 16-26, 15 R, 14 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO.

Game 2: Addison Chapman – 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. Kelcy Bergstrom – 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO. Haely Hagemann – 2-2, 3 R, 1 BB. Karter Alvord – 2-2, 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB. Alex Romero – 3-3, 1 R, 4 RBI. Cora Pavlovich – 0-3, 2 SO. Olivia Cheatham – 3-3, 3 R. Reanna Eilrich – 1-3, 1 R, 1 SO. Sayge Salmans – 1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SO. Team – 15-27, 14 R, 14 RBI, 2 BB, 5 SO.

McPherson Pitching Stats:

Game 1: Addison Chapman – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 9 SO, 0 BB.

Game 2: Addie Herrera – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 SO, 1 BB.