CHANUTE Mitch McPherson's line-drive single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted Lawrence to a 5-4 victory over Chanute in a first-round game of the Class AAA American Legion baseball state tournament Friday evening at Katy Field in Chanute.
"It feels unbelievable for me personally because I hadn't been hitting the ball that well," said McPherson, whose late-inning heroics advanced the Outlaws into tonight's second-round game against Pittsburg, a 9-6 winner over Topeka. The game will start about 30 minutes after the Lawrence Raiders-Hays game, which begins at 5 p.m.
"I also think it says a lot for this team, because I don't think people were taking us that serious."
And, oh yeah, it probably makes up for his little miscue in the first inning, right?
"Yeah, it sure does," said McPherson, who led off the first inning with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Rod Evinger's single -- but then fell down after taking a long lead off third and was picked off.
The Outlaws inning only got worse when they left the bases loaded after two more walks.
Chanute pulled even in the top of the ninth when Zach Murray's double to the gap brought in the tying run.
"If we would have lost this game it would have totally been my fault," said Outlaws coach Matt Schubert, who made the decision to pitch to Murray with two outs even though the shortstop led Chanute with a better than .500 batting average.
"Mitch helped me out, but he's been doing that all year. We almost expect it out of him."
After Chanute took a 3-0 lead, the Outlaws cut the deficit to 3-2 by scoring two runs thanks to two costly Chanute errors. The Raiders completed the comeback with a delayed steal in the fifth.
"That's the kind of play that worked for us all year," Schubert said of Cole Massey's safe slide into home.
The Outlaws took their first lead in the bottom of the sixth on Massey's hard hit single to third that scored McPherson.
From there the dramatics played out with McPherson having the last moment, and perhaps providing some momentum for the Outlaws' run at state.
"It's just unbelievable," he said. "I'm just going up there to put the ball in play, and I end up slamming the game-winner."
Lawrence 5, Chanute 4, 10 inn.
Chanute Post 170 111 000 001 0 -- 4 7 3
Lawrence Outlaws 002 011 000 1 -- 5 5 2
W--Will Falk. L--Daniel Waggoner.
2B--Lawrence: Cole Massey.
Outlaws highlights: Cole Massey 3-for-5, 2 runs, RBI; Mitch McPherson 0-for-2, 3 walks, run, RBI.