CHS MONDAY, OCT. 2, 2017, SPORTS ROUNDUP: Knocked off KC: St. Pius X duo in straight sets in sectional. Softball Lady Hornets blank Trenton 3-0 to end THS' month-long wins streak. Spikers, Ross roll past Hamilton

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Hannah Cypert and Hunter Keithley of Chillicothe High School’s tennis Lady Hornets defeated Kansas City: St. Pius X's No. 2 doubles team of Megan McDonald and Olivia DiMaggio 6-2, 6-4 Monday to qualify for Class 1 state-tournament play at Springfield Oct. 13-14.
Improving their unofficial 2017 record in doubles to 24-2, junior Cypert and sophomore Keithley will give CHS state-tourney representation at Springfield’s’s Cooper Tennis Complex this year after a rare absence a year ago.
The bracket for the state doubles tournament won’t be announced until next week, but as both district and sectional champions – as well as Midland Empire Conference title-winners, the Chillicothe tandem figures to draw a reasonably-favorable first-round pairing.
The results of Monday’s sectional action at St. Joseph’s Noyes Tennis Center were nearly shocking, in that all three of St. Pius X’s entries were defeated, a rarity in postseason matches between private- and public-school programs.
SPX, which will enter the Midland Empire Conference a year from now, saw its top doubles team lose to Trenton’s district runnersup Lauren Dolan and Claire Utler, 7-6, 6-1 and its singles sectional qualifier – thought to be anywhere from its third- to fifth-best player – fall to T.J. Oglesby of Maryville in straight sets, too. The singles result was not a big upset, but also wasn’t considered a likely win for district- and MEC champ Oglesby, either.
Softball ends regular season impressively, winning at Trenton
TRENTON, Mo. — Chillicothe’s softball Lady Hornets will head into the beginning of its postseason Thursday – weather permitting – with about the maximum momentum and confidence possible after a highly-impressive triumph on the road Monday.
Visiting a Trenton Lady Bulldogs squad which did not lose during September and fell only once in 22 prior outings this season, CHS got combined shutout pitching from seniors Jylian Davis and Molly Jones to make a 3-runs fourth-inning flurry stand up for a 3-0 triumph.
“The girls played outstanding ball,” Mike Jones, CHS head coach, remarked. “… It was a great win!”
The Lady Hornets – defending district champions, but seeded only third in this year’s event at Boonville, despite having the best record of any of the five teams – head into Thursday’s slated 6 p.m. Class 3 District 13 Tournament semifinal/opener against Kirksville with a 17-6 record. One of the CHS losses was to Kirksville, 7-6 in the third-place game of the Putnam County Tournament at Unionville in late August.
Facing the outstanding Grand River Conference champion Lady Bulldogs on THS’ field and on their “senior day” Monday, Chillicothe clearly was at risk of taking a seventh loss before district. However, it played the exact type of game it will want and need to repeat as district champs and advance again to state play later this week.
In what seems to have become head coach Mike Jones’ strategic plan, starting hurler Davis worked out of bases-loaded situations twice and one other threat in her 4-innings stint, then swapped places with classmate Mo. Jones – the starting left fielder, who threw three nearly-perfect innings to save it.
Their work, supported by solid defense which made only one error and otherwise handled everything hit to them quickly and efficiently, allowed a bunched batch of effective hitting against THS ace pitcher Ainsley Tolson to be enough for victory.
The game’s first key moment came in the bottom of the opening inning when THS’ first two batters got basehits and, after a strikeout, a walk loaded the bases with one out.
Davis rose to the occasion, whiffing Trenton’s No. 5 batter after a couple of 2-strikes fouls, and then fielding a bouncer back to herself to strand three.
In the third, Mikah Hurley’s 1-out double to right-center field was followed, after a popup, by freshman cleanup batter Macy Moore’s line-drive single to left field. However, the ball was hit hard enough that Mo. Jones, charging and fielding it cleanly, had time to fire an in-the-air strike to catcher McKenna Poling to get the speedy Hurley by a couple of steps.
As often occurs in softball or baseball, a big defensive play to end an inning translated to scoring in the next half-inning.
With Tolson having retired each of the first nine Lady Hornets she faced in order, Chillicothe’s bats awakened enough the second time through the lineup to produce some “small-ball” scoring.
Leadoff hitter Libby Adkins ignited the pivotal inning by legging out a well-placed bunt single about 8 feet up the third-base line. Harlie Jones then plunked a looper off the end of her bat beyond’s Tolson’s reach on her glove side and beat the throw to first base by the charging second sacker.
A sacrifice bunt to the pitcher by Abby Jones advanced both runners a base, allowing Mo. Jones’ hard-hit grounder off the end of the first baseman’s glove to score the game’s first run while the batter reached with CHS’ third infield hit of the third inning.
Chillicothe finally got the ball out of the infield with its next batter and, thanks to Mo. Jones’ uncontested steal of second, it produced two insurance runs. Senior cleanup hitter Maddi Graham, after barely fouling back a shoulder-high, rising 0-2 offering, followed Mo. Jones’ lead by spanking a sharp grounder to the right side. Hers cleanly split the first and second basemen and Mo. Jones followed H. Jones home about a stride ahead of the throw from the right fielder, making it a 3-runs inning.
Trenton had a chance to get right back in the thick of things, but Davis managed to turn them away.
Chillicothe’s only error of the game, a fielder’s choice, a steal, and a single put the potential tying run in the batter’s box, although it was THS’ No. 8 batter.
On an 0-2 pitch, a line drive which easily could have been in a hole in the infield defense instead was within shortstop Graham’s reach for the second out as the runners scrambled safely back to their bags.
The Chillicothe hurler then walked the No. 9 batter on a full-count pitch to bring the top of the lineup – Tolson – to the plate. Davis won the pitcher-vs.-pitcher showdown, getting ahead on the count 0-2 and then inducing a grounder Graham gloved easily and threw across the diamond in time to end the inning.
That proved to be THS’ last offensive hurrah as, having to adjust to the relief pitcher, it could not solve Mo. Jones’ deliveries.
The righthander struck out two in both the fifth and sixth innings, getting the other two outs on easy popups, to take the game into the bottom of the seventh still at 3-0, CHS.
The home team took hope when it finally broke through a bit against Mo. Jones with a leadoff single to center field in the seventh, but it didn’t last. A pair of fly balls to H. Jones in center field and a tap second baseman Jordan Hibner scooped up and flipped to first baseman Laney Gaston in time to get the speedy Hurley ended the game.
Statistically, Chillicothe out-hit Trenton 7-5 with Mo. Jones collecting a pair of single for CHS and Hurley a double and single for the home club.
Davis (9-1) allowed four of the THS hits and walked two with two strikeouts. Mo. Jones earned her fifth save with her three innings of 1-hit, no-walks ball. She also struck out four.

Volleyball sweeps past guest Hamilton
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Junior setter Elli Ross had a huge night with 16 assists and 20 service points won – including seven aces – out of 23 total serves as Chillicothe downed visiting Hamilton 25-6, 25-9 in a clash of volleyball Lady Hornets.
After serving the closing point of the first game, Ross served the first 12 points of game two to help Chillicothe (9-12-3) to the sweep.
Kaylee Lewis had six “kills” in nine tries and Kylee Larson had seven “digs”  to pace CHS.
Next for the CHS volleyball squad is a Midland Empire Conference match at Maryville tomorrow evening.