CHILLICOTHE (Mo.) HS ROUNDUP Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017: Softball Lady Hornets unload on Macon early, win 15th of year. golf Lady Hornets take last dual match of season to finish 6-3
Trying to make a late argument to be seeded first in the upcoming Class 3 District 13 Tournament at Boonville, the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS softball Lady Hornets unleashed a first-inning avalanche on visiting Macon Thursday en route to a 9-4 victory.
CHS’ 15th triumph of the year was virtually assured when 11 batters in a row reached safely and seven runs scored in the bottom of the first inning.
Also Thursday afternoon, CHS’ golf Lady Hornets closed their regular season with a 211-229 home victory over Lawson.
On Friday’s CHS schedule is varsity football home against St. Joseph: Lafayette. Saturday will find the volleyball Lady Hornets in the Bishop LeBlond Invitational Tournament at St. Joseph.
Odd flow to softball Lady Hornets’ decisive victory over Macon
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — It was a yin-yang game for the Chillicothe softball team Thursday, but, in the final analysis, a victory which should keep their momentum going toward the postseason.
The contest saw several extreme variations in Chillicothe’s performance.
In their half of the first inning, a 1-out walk was followed by dropped fly ball in left field for one of only two Macon errors in the inning.
That set the stage for the next six Lady Hornets (15-6) to hit safely – five singles and, in the middle of the stretch, a 3-runs double by Jylian Davis, whose bat would thunder again later.
Following the long string of hits, two more bases on balls and the second miscue meant 11 CHS batters in a row had reached safely – one of whom was later lost trying to steal.
By the time the torrent subsided, Chillicothe owned a 7-1 lead. It would score only twice more the rest of the contest.
Another stark contrast was that 47 pitches were thrown in CHS’ first inning of batting; in its last – the sixth, the side was retired in order on three total pitches.
Finally, in both a worrisome and sensational display, Chillicothe committed a half-dozen errors of nearly every stripe – throwing the ball, catching throws, fielding batted balls – and yet pulled off a virtually-equal number of dazzling defensive plays.
Left fielder Davis, who blasted her first home run of the season well over the fence in left-center field to make it 8-3 right after shoddy CHS defense had allowed Macon back to the outskirts of contention at 7-3, twice dashed back and to her left into the gap to snag deep, well-struck balls off Tigerettes’ bats.
Right fielder Libby Adkins effectively matched the first of Davis’ two gems in the top of the third. The sophomore scurried almost straight back to stab above her head and reaching back toward the fence a drive which would have been at least hit the barrier, if not skimmed over it for a home run.
Sophomore second baseman Jordan Hibner then stepped into the spotlight in the fourth and fifth innings to keep Macon at bay. In the fourth, with a runner at first and one out after a Chillicothe miscue, she went to her left to glove a ground ball and then, with good footwork to halt her momentum to her left, shifted and made a strong, long throw back to shortstop Maddi Graham at second base for a tough forceout.
Hibner then took care of essentially everything in the fifth, starting with an excellent play.
The first batter spanked a soft line drive almost directly over the second base bag and seemingly destined to be a hit to center field. However, Hibner darted quickly to her right this time and, on the dead run, stretched across her body to make a lunging, backhanded stab of the ball for the out.
She then handled a ground ball cleanly for the second out and squeezed an easy popup to close the inning and keep Chillicothe’s lead at 8-3.
Also contributing good defensive plays to the cause were senior catcher McKenna Poling, who mentally shrugged off two bad throws earlier in the inning to gun down a runner trying to steal second to end the MHS second and keep the score at 7-3, and first baseman Laney Gaston, whose quick reaction from her position about five feet in front of the bag allowed her to spear a head-high line drive for the last out of the Macon sixth.
While acknowledging and appreciating the numerous outstanding or above-average leather gems his team produced, Mike Jones, CHS’ second-year head coach, could not get the mistakes off his mind, particularly because they continued a sour recent trend for the team defensively.
“Still too many errors,” he reflected. “We need to clean it up before district.”
Chillicothe’s half of the opening inning was a near-perfect display of the “keep the line moving” concept of each batter simply trying to find a way on base, rather than swinging for the “big hit.” As a result, the “big hit” came organically.
Following the retiring of leadoff batter Adkins, Harlie Jones drew a 4-pitches walk and Abby Jones’ fly to left was dropped.
Then came the downpour of hits.
Winning senior pitcher Molly Jones (7-5), who went the distance in the circle and did not allow any walks or earned runs, laced a run-scoring single to left to make it 1-1.
Subsequent basehits by Graham and Poling – the former plating a second CHS run – filled the bags for Davis. She cleared them with a blast over the left fielder’s head for a 3-runs double which made it 5-1.
Chillicothe didn’t stop there.
The righthanded-hitting Hibner went the opposite way with a single to right and Gaston took her cue, the lefty-swinging first baseman finding the grass in left with a hit that drove Davis home from third.
CHS’ run of 6-consecutive hits then ended when Adkins, in her second plate appearance of the inning, waited out a base on balls, although Hibner was lost on the bases during the at-bat.
After H. Jones drew a walk, too, the error on a ball hit up the middle by A. Jones let Gaston score for a 7-1 advantage.
With two outs and none on in the second and Macon, helped by a pair of CHS errors, having scored twice in the top half to creep within 7-3, Davis jumped on the first pitch she saw in her second at-bat and walloped it over the wall to reestablish Chillicothe’s momentum.
The Lady Hornets upped the count in the fifth when Poling led off with a double over the center fielder’s head, Davis tapped slowly to shortstop while a courtesy runner zipped to third base, and Hibner hooked a RBI single down the line in left.
Statistically, Davis clearly was the game’s offensive mainstay. The senior not only joined Gaston, Hibner, and Poling in having two hits apiece as part of an 11-hits CHS attack, but also walked, drove in four runs, and scored twice, including on her own roundtripper.
Next for the softball Lady Hornets will be their home finale Monday against St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond. The “senior day” game will be an opportunity for the Lady Hornets to finish up a second-place finish in the Midland Empire Conference behind already-crowned champion Smithville.
Golfers head to district play on positive note
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Regular-season play for the Chillicothe golf Lady Hornets concluded on a high note Thursday.
Hosting Lawson, the CHS links ladies posted an 18-strokes victory to finish the campaign’s dual-matches slate with six wins in nine tries.
Led by varsity medalist Hallie Jones’ 47 – just about her season average per nine holes, Chillicothe kept all five of its lineup members at 57 or below to easily outdistance the visiting Lady Cardinals.
Junior Maddie Lamp was second to her freshman teammate in the individual scoring, posting a 52. Then, for CHS, came Hannah Haakonstad’s 55 and 57s by both Lexi Hargrave and Jensen Simmer.
Lawson was paced by the 54 of Cassidy Findley.
Unusually, Chillicothe’s second- and third-best scores of the day came from players not in the varsity quintet.
Riley Brobst, a junior – like Lamp, Haakonstad, and Hargrave – actually had the match’s best round, a CHS-career personal-best 46.
Another 11th grader, Kennasyn Johnson, also posted her best-ever (in competition) – a 51.
Noting Brobst and Johnsson “continue to work hard and improve,” despite being in the junior-varsity ranks during the latter portion of the season, Bob Long, CHS coach, commented, “Riley is playing terrific and I'm extremely proud of her and Kennasyn.”
Johnson joined Hargrave and Jones in having pars during Thursday’s action. Johnson matched it on Green Hills Golf Course’s sixth hole, while Hargrave did so on No. 5 and Jones on No. 8.
Postseason play for Chillicothe’s still-young squad, is scheduled to begin, but hopefully not end, Tuesday with the Class 1 district tournament at the La Plata Country Club course.
If any Lady Hornets meet the qualification standards for advancement to the state-qualifying sectional tournament week after next, they’ll have another chance to play their home course. GHGC, Chillicothe’s municipally-owned layout, will host the Class 1 sectional for this region.