SEPT. 9, 2017, CHS SPORTS RECAP: Softball crown, Hague's "hat trick" in soccer shutout pace busy Saturday of Chillicothe (Mo.) prep sports

A tournament championship in softball and a shutout victory in soccer highlighted a busy Saturday of Chillicothe (Mo.) High School sports competition this weekend.
Heavy hitting and sturdy pitching backed, by and large, by good defense allowed the Chillicothe softball Lady Hornets to win all four of their games in the Lexington Invitational Tournament and thereby claim the tourney title.
With double-digits hits in three of the four outings, including quite a few extra-base blows, CHS defeated Lee’s Summit: Summit Christian Academy, Odessa, and Holden in round-robin “pool” play, then bested Lawson 6-1 with five late runs in the championship contest, head coach Mike Jones reported Sunday afternoon.
Having given his team a 1-0 lead late in the first half with an outstanding individual effort, senior Bryce Hague of CHS’ soccer Hornets then utilized nifty setups from teammates after intermission to complete a 3-goals “hat trick” and lead the booters to a 5-0 home-turf win over Knob Noster.
While the booters were doing that at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II, at the neighboring CHS gym, the volleyball Lady Hornets were splitting three 2-games “pool” matches in their own annual, 8-teams tournament and then losing both bracket matches in straight games to not place.
Softball squad belts way to Lexington ‘belt’
LEXINGTON, Mo. — Having pummelled Summit Christian Academy (SCA) 19-2 in four innings in their opening outing Saturday morning, the softball Lady Hornets rallied to nip Odessa 6-5 and came back from a momentary deficit to best Holden 7-3 to qualify for the championship game of Saturday’s Lexington Invitational.
In the title tilt against Lawson, a club they had shaded 2-1 in “walkoff” fashion at home in their season opener a couple of weeks earlier, the Lady Hornets (8-4) shattered a 1-1 tie with four runs in the top of the sixth inning and prevailed 6-1 to capture the tourney’s “title belt.”
After Jylian Davis (4-1) held Lawson to one unearned run in five innings to earn the win, fellow senior righthander Molly Jones, who had earned the wins against Summit Christian and Holden, came on after the 4-runs outburst snapped the tie and saved it with two shutout frames.
Mo. Jones also saved the Odessa game, replacing winner Davis with two outs and the tying run at second after OHS had scored twice to answer Chillicothe’s lead-seizing 3-spot in the top half of the inning. Running the count full, the reliever got a fly ball to right fielder Libby Adkins to close out the closest call CHS had on the day.
While their hurlers did what was necessary with the help of their fielders – Chillicothe played errorlessly against both Odessa and Holden before committing three errors in the finale, the day largely was carried by the Lady Hornets’ hitters.
Against SCA, Chillicothe quickly jumped in front with three runs in the top of the first inning. Then, after the Lee’s Summit team plated two in its half, A. Jones got those back with one swing of the bat, ripping her home run beyond the center-field fence.
Ahead 8-2 after three innings, the Lady Hornets erupted for 11 additional runs in the top of the fourth, leading to the game’s early end.
Next facing Odessa, CHS dropped behind 3-1 after allowing three markers in the bottom of the second. However, sophomore second sacker Hibner’s 2-runs double tied it in the top of the fourth and A. Jones’ sacrifice fly plated Adkins with the go-ahead run in the fifth. A 2-outs double by cleanup batter Graham and Davis’ follow-up single made it a 3-runs inning, which proved fortuitous.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the time limit set to end the game – if not tied – after six, Odessa used a pair of doubles and a single to close the gap to one before Mo. Jones entered to slam the door.
With a berth in the championship game in the balance as they faced Holden, the Lady Hornets again found themselves behind in the middle innings, this time 3-2 after three. Once more, they responded.
Graham’s leadoff single in the top of the fourth set the table. With one away, Poling singled her to second and extra hitter Bailey Pithan reached on a fielder’s choice on which no one was retired.
With the bases full, but still trailing 3-2, slap-hitting, lefty swinger Adkins reached on a 2-outs error on the third baseman as the tying run scored. H. Jones, another lefthanded hitter, then belted a 2-runs double to the gap in left-center field to break the tie.
In the seventh, two very valuable “add-on” runs came across – again with help from Holden’s defense. Consecutive 2-outs singles by Graham and Davis brought up Poling with runners at the corners, thanks to an outfield error that let Graham speed to third. Because of the threat of a double-steal, Davis was able to swipe second without a play, from where she was able to follow Graham home when Poling’s bouncer back to the pitcher was misplayed.
Now protecting a 4-runs lead, Mo. Jones (4-3) wrapped up a complete game, going the route despite allowing 10 hits. She did not walk anyone, however, and, with the errorless defense behind her, was able to limit the damage.
The rematch with Lawson saw each club net a third-inning run before the Lady Hornets, playing as visitors for the fourth-consecutive game, broke it open late.
Leading off the sixth in the 1-1 game, Mo. Jones singled past shortstop and took second as Graham pulled a hit into left. After a popup for the first out, Davis ripped a single to left, loading the bases.
That brought in extra hitter Pithan, whose grounder to shortstop was flubbed for a 2-runs error that left runners at second and third. Adkins drove in a run with a hit to center and Pithan scored on the play, too, on another LHS error as Chillicothe suddenly had a 5-1 lead.
Yet another Lawson miscue in the top of the seventh let Mo. Jones, who had singled with one down, come across with a welcomed extra insurance run, even though it didn’t prove to be needed.
Statistically, Chillicothe ripped 12 hits against SCA, 10 each against Lawson and Holden, and nine versus Odessa, giving them 41 total for the four games.
Of the 41 hits, more than one-third – 15 – went for extra bases, according to the team’s scorekeeper.  Among the multi-base knocks were sophomore Abby Jones’ second home run of the season, Maddi Graham’s triple, and 13 2-baggers from Harlie Jones, Mo. Jones, McKenna Poling, Davis, Jordan Hibner, Graham, and A. Jones.
Graham, who – along with Adkins and Davis – hit safely in each game, finished the day with a triple and three doubles as she went eight for 14. H. Jones stroked four doubles, Adkins went seven for 11, and Davis seven out of 12. A. Jones led the run production with six driven in.

Having begun Saturday at .500 for the season and exited it with a .667 winning percentage, the softball Lady Hornets will continue an extremely-busy 8-days stretch Monday as they turn right around and go back to Lexington Monday, this time to actually face the Minutewomen in a 4:30 p.m. game.
If the weather doesn’t interfere, between this past Saturday and this coming Saturday’s annual Chillicothe Invitational Tournament at Daryl Danner Memorial Park, CHS’ diamond girls could log 11 games in that 8-days span. They are due to visit Midland Empire Conference opponent Maryville Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. before hosting MEC foe St. Joseph: Benton Thursday.
Second-half blitz carries soccer boys
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Through the first 35-minutes plus of Saturday’s home match, Chillicothe High School’s soccer Hornets generally had been out-played by seemingly-more-nimble and efficient Knob Noster, but, following a disallowed, would-be KNHS goal, due to an offside ruling, the Hornets seized command and roared away to a 5-0 win.
As the match trickled into the final 3-1⁄2 minutes of the 40-minutes first half, the ball was on the Chillicothe defensive half of the pitch near the Hornets’ left sideline when the host team – and Hague – struck suddenly.
With CHS already having shown signs of starting to turn the tide a bit, midfielder C.J. Pfaff, from his own side of midfield, drove the ball straight ahead near the sideline where Hague and a Knob Noster back were essentially abreast of each other.
Hague made the quicker read on the boot and raced forward to collect the ball with the defender just behind, but inside (closer to the middle of the field) him and seemingly in position to angle Hague off once the Hornets senior got to the ball and needed to dribble it while running.
However, Hague never let the Panther overtake him, touching the ball ahead two or three times until he was in the KNHS penalty area and angling to his right toward the goal.
As he drew within about 10 yards with the goalkeeper moving out toward him, but still standing mostly straight up, Hague right-footed a sharp, ground-hugging shot which zipped between the flat-footed goalie’s feet and into the net for a 1-0 Chillicothe lead with 3:15 to go in the half.
After neither team established much territorial advantage the first half of the second 40 minutes, Chillicothe unleashed a quick barrage which gave it command.
Off a corner kick from the offensive left side, senior midfielder Gavin Seeley lofted a long, high kick almost to the far goalpost and about 5-7 yards in front of the net. There, CHS back Hunter Horton elevated and headed the ball into the goal for a 2-0 lead. It was Horton’s second goal of the season.
About five minutes later, Jacob Anderson, who had made strong runs at the net twice in the first half, only to see one pass and one shot go awry, broke in off the left side again. This time, the tall speedster timed and aimed his crossing pass just right, finding the foot of Hague coming in for the right for a simple tap-in goal.
Only three minutes later, Hague completed his “hat trick,” “lighting the lamp” from about 25 yards out with a hard, rising shot after Seeley had sent a perfectly-paced pass ahead from midfield to which Hague again won a race.
His third goal of the match  gave him a team-high eight for the season, while Seeley earned his fourth assist of 2017.
With victory secure with 12 minutes left, Chillicothe (5-3-1) added a finishing touch with another well-executed tally.
As Anderson had about 12 minutes earlier, Adam Palasti charged in from the offense’s left, drawing the goalkeeper toward him. The Slovakian then fired a hard, knee-high crossing pass that Anderson, now playing right forward, charged and redirected with his knee into the vacant twine for his second goal of the year. The assist was the foreign exchange student’s first.
When the final buzzer sounded, Chillicothe and senior goalkeeper Drew Toedebusch had posted a fourth shutout of the season, this one among the toughest. Toedebusch was called on to a handful of saves, a couple of them tough. With its second-half upgrade, CHS finished with a 14-5 lead in shots on goal.
Up next for the soccer Hornets is a home match against Maryville tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Volleyball girls struggle in own tournament
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. —After losing two games to eventual runnerup Excelsior Springs, splitting with Richmond, and taking two games from Brookfield in “pool” play in their own tournament, Chillicothe’s volleyball Lady Hornets were hammered 25-11, 25-14 by eventual champion St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond in the semifinals Saturday.
They then dropped the third-place match to Lawson 25-16, 25-16, lowering their season record to .500  – 5-5-1.
No individual statistics for any of the matches or the tournament as a whole had been reported at the time of this posting Sunday night.