Chillicothe High School's Troy Toedebusch, a junior righthander making only his third varsity pitching appearance, retired the first 13 Windsor batters he faced on his way to firing a no-hitter in a 13-0, 6-inning victory Friday in the first round of the Marshall Invitational Tournament.
Supported most-productively on offense by classmate D.J. Gannan's 4-for-4 performance, Toedebusch allowed only two baserunners. He hit Lane Soendker with a 1-2 delivery with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to lose the perfect game and then walked the leadoff batter in the sixth after a 6-run top half by the Hornets had positioned them to end the game on the 10-runs-lead rule after six. The man Toedebusch walked eventually ended up at third base with one out, but the CHS righty preserved the shutout as well as the no-hitter by getting the next man looking at a third strike and then inducing a groundout to second baseman Bobby Peniston, whose flip to Gannan at first competed the Toedebusch gem.
By virtue of the victory in the rain-disrupted tournament – only one round of games, rather than the planned two, was able to be played Friday after overnight and morning rain dumped more than three-fourths of an inch of rain on Marshall and left one of the two planned game sites unplayable, Chillicothe's 4-3 Hornets will get to test the strong host team, which also faced Windsor Friday and defeated it 11-5. That win boosted heavy-hitting Marshall's record to 8-1, its only loss having come this past Tuesday against Mexico in extra innings.
Under the rearranged schedule, Chillicothe and Marshall are ticketed to play at 10 a.m. Saturday at the MHS field. Whether that will actually come about looked dicey late Friday night as the Marshall forecast, according to weather.com, was for a high likelihood of overnight thunderstorms with some heavy rain possible and Saturday's prediction being a 40 percent chance of more scattered showers and thunderstorms.
If somehow play is able to take place Saturday, both the semifinal and final rounds of the 8-team tourney now are planned.
Friday's Chillicothe victory saw Toedebusch (2-1) staked to an immediate 2-0 lead before throwing his first pitch. It would stay 2-0 through three frames, however, before a 5-run fourth and 6-run sixth by the Hornets combined with their pitcher's mastery to halt things an inning prematurely.
In the Chillicothe first, recently-installed leadoff man Austin Hatfield got things going with an infield single and Toedebusch did the same. Gannan's hard grounder up the middle went through, plating Hatfield from second for a 1-0 lead.
After Gannan was forced at second, Guy Vinson's RBI groundout to second bumped the lead to 2-0.
In the Hornets' fourth, Connor Ruoff's leadoff single ignited the first of two big CHS innings as Chillicothe batted around.
Trevor Reger scored on a bases-full wild pitch to give the Hornets a 3-run lead, but it was 2-out work which paid off.
With two out and two on, Gannan doubled both runners in with a drive to center field. Senior Connor Dixon, who had taken over at third base in the bottom of the third, hit a grounder to third that he legged out for a hit. When the throw trying to get him got away, Gannan scored to make it 6-0. After Dixon swiped second, Vinson's triple to center tacked on another run.
Chillicothe moved into position for the shortened triumph when it sent 10 men to the dish in the sixth inning.
It began with a walk to Hatfield. Toedebusch smacked his second single and Gannan got his fourth hit on a grounder to short to load the bases.
Dixon's fly ball to center was missed for an error, allowing Hatfield to score. A wild pitch let courtesy runner Cole Nichols cross the plate for a 9-0 CHS margin.
Gannan scored as Vinson grounded to the second baseman, who retired Dixon between second and third. After a second out was made, Reger followed a walk with a hit to right to plate Vinson, an error on a ground ball scored Ruoff from third, and Hatfield's basehit to left drove home Reger for a 13th CHS run on Friday, the 13th.
Statistically, while shackling Windsor without a hit, Toedebusch registered only two strikeouts, getting airtight defensive support from his fielders.
Offensively, Chillicothe ended up with 16 hits off Soendker, who went the distance on the hill for Windsor.
Gannan, recently installed in the key No. 3 spot in the batting order, wound up with four hits, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. With his latest big day, the lefty jacked his batting average back over .500 to .524 (11 of 21) and moved his OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) to a hefty 1.202. With his three RBIs, he joins Vinson and Jacob Lewis atop the team charts with five each for the year.
Enjoying 2-hit games Friday for Chillicothe were Ruoff, Reger, Vinson, Hatfield, and Toedebusch. Reger's season average climbed to .389 and Ruoff's to .364.
Friday's triumph gave Chillicothe consecutive victories for the second time this season. Three of its four wins have come away from home.