TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017 CHILLICOTHE HS ROUNDUP: Netters fell to Trenton 5-4 when Tuesday's last match was decided by tiebreake. Baseball Hornets settle for MEC title share with 6-2 loss. Track squads sweep at Benton, breaking two school records. Girl booters earn 10th shutout

TRENTON, Mo. — With their team season on the line Tuesday, the Chillicothe High School tennis Hornets dug deep and came within a whisker of living to fight another day in what Bob Long, their head coach, called “a thrilling match.”
Underdogs to Class 1 District 13 team tournament semifinal host Trenton, the Hornets pushed THS’ Bulldogs to the limit – at one time having a match point – before succumbing 5-4 to end team play for the season.
Spurred by the 9-7 victory in No. 2 doubles by Nick Malloy and Dalton Ro-senbach, CHS held a 2-1 lead after the three doubles sets.
As the best-of-3-sets singles play unfolded, Jacob Henington’s straight-sets victory over the No. 2 opponent who had dominated him 8-2 a few weeks earlier and Tyler Maasdam’s turnabout triumph  in three sets at No. 4 meant Chillicothe was only one position win away from a berth in yesterday’s team finals.
However, with Trenton collecting a trio of straight-sets singles conquests at Nos. 1, 3, and 6, it came down to the last individual match to conclude – Hornets senior Nick Malloy and Bulldog Creed Houghton at No. 5.
Early, Long reported, things looked good for Trenton as Houghton took the first set 6-3. However, Malloy turned the tables in the second set, claiming it 6-2 to send the deciding match to a decisive third set.
With all eyes on them, Malloy and Houghton found themselves deadlocked after eight games of the final set. Then, the Hornet senior won for a 5-4 edge and battled his way to deuce in the 10th game. With, under state rules, games being played in “no-ad” style, that meant winner of the next point would get the game (rather than having to earn a 2-points lead under “deuce” scoring).
If that proved to be Malloy, not only would it mean his winning the game, but the set at 6-4 and his match at 2-1, hand ing Chillicothe the match by a 5-4 upset.
Facing that pressure, Houghton came up with the shots he needed to survive, winning the point and the game, tying the set again at 5-5.
The action extended, the duo fittingly split the next two games, sending them to a 12-points tie-breaker even at 6-6.
Then, suddenly and decisively, the flow went the way of the THS player. He grabbed a quick lead in the tiebreaker (in which the first player to lead by at least two points when he reached seven or more would be the winner) and never took his foot off Malloy’s throat. It took only eight points for Houghton to win the required seven, setting off a celebration among the home team and its fans, while Chillicothe started to pack for home.
“All of the Hornets improved over the previous meeting (with Trenton) and forced the Bulldogs to scrap for every point and win,” a proud Long stated.
The Chillicothe netters now put full focus on tomorrow’s scheduled non-team district tournament at Excelsior Springs High’s courts. The top two singles finishers and first- and second-place doubles pairs in tomorrow’s action will advance to a sectional match next week.
Although coach Long has not publicly specified his lineup plans for Friday’s action at Excelsior Springs, it is anticipated he’ll have Henington and fellow senior Max Anderson, CHS’ top player, in doubles. How he’ll choose to deploy the rest of his troops is harder to predict.
Baseball Hornets co-champs of MEC
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — The first outright Midland Empire Conference baseball title slipped through Chillicothe’s fingers Tuesday when visiting  Smithville earned a split of the 2017 crown with the Hornets by registering a 6-2 victory, but CHS found a new source of motivation for their upcoming district-tournament play.
The Hornets (15-4), who had an 8-games winning streak severed at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park Stadium, know their chance at avenging this defeat will require capturing the Class 4 District 16 tournament crown next week, a feat which could set up a rematch with the Warriors – this time at Smithville, should SHS claim the District 15 title.
Having joined the 2004 Hornets team as their program’s only league kings in the 21 years of CHS baseball, the 2017 squad – using freshman righthander Westley Brandsgaard as its starting pitcher – kept Smithville off the scoreboard in five of the first six innings, while getting runs in the fifth and sixth frames itself.
However, there was a fly in that ointment, if you will.
Smithville had both struck first, getting on the scoreboard four times in the third, while CHS had only single tallies.
When the Warriors equaled the Hornets’ 6-innings output with a couple of runs in the top of the seventh, they regained their original 4-runs lead and fairly-easily subdued Chillicothe in the bottom half to earn half of the title.
After neither side scored in the first two runs, a leadoff walk to the No. 9 batter in the SHS order set the table for the guests in the third.
Following a stolen base, a line drive which fell just in front of right fielder Tristen Sewell nearly afforded Chillicothe what could have become a game-altering out. With the runner at second having held up to make sure the blow wasn’t caught by the outfielder in the air, when he headed for third after the ball fell in, the strong-armed Hornets outfielder – perhaps only 50 feet onto the outfield grass – had a chance to throw the runner out. However, in a bad-luck development, the throw which appeared likely to arrive in time and on target to get the unusual out instead hit the runner about 15-20 feet before the bag and deflected a short distance away. That not only allowed that man to get to third safely, but the batter to hustle into second with no outs.
SHS’ Karsen Reid made the break pay dividends with his own sharp, opposite-field single to T. Sewell as the game’s first run scored and the other runner took third.
The game’s most-significant blow then was struck by Peyton Bealmer, Smithville’s No. 3 batter. With T. Sewell playing shallow, the righthanded hitter also walloped a delivery the other way, launching his over the head of the outfielder for a 2-runs triple and 3-0 lead.
Still with no outs, Smithville had a chance to put a huge hole in the game, but the young CHS hurler gathered his wits and battled back, although he did hurt his cause once more.
After getting a strikeout and then issuing a base on balls, with runners at the corners, Brandsgaard whirled and fired a pickoff-attempt throw toward first, but wide of the target. As it sailed into foul territory beyond first base, Bealmer strolled home from third with his team’s fourth run. Hornets first baseman Zach Trout kept his eye on the runner who had been at first as he tracked the ball down and, when the runner tried to take third, cut him down for the second out, clearing the bags.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Warriors starting righthander Kyle Heckenbach retired Chillicothe in order in both the third and fourth, but then the home team’s offense roused a bit.
Trout began the CHS fifth with an infield hit to the left side and then easily scored as Gunnar Leach roped a triple over the head of the left fielder, catching a break when the throw to third beat him there, but was just wide of the bag enough that it ticked off the third sacker’s leather.
With a golden chance to get within two at most and perhaps even closer, Chillicothe’s budding rally fizzled.
A foul popup and, after a walk to Austin Murray, a strikeout kept Leach stuck on third, now with two outs. A high bouncer to second which likely would have let Leach score without a play, had it come an out earlier, instead became out No. 3, leaving the Hornets still in arrears, 4-1.
When Brandsgaard successfully worked around a leadoff fielding error behind him in the sixth, Chillicothe again made noise like it might unleash some more of its 2017 late-innings magic in its half.
When Drew Toedebusch accepted a leadoff walk, SHS head coach Josh Speer immediately switched hurlers, bring lefthander Logan Brown to the hill from first base.
The reliever got the first batter he faced, but Brandsgaard won a lefty-lefty battle with a line drive into the left-center field gap for a double, Toedebusch being held up at third base.
With the potential tying run now represented at home plate, Chillicothe was positioned to get within a single run, if it could get a well-placed hit or something else productive. Once more, a timely hit eluded hit, although it did manage to plate a second marker.
Following a fly out to center field that wasn’t deep enough to try to score the runner from third, Leach hit a 2-outs grounder right at the shortstop, who easily gloved it, but then threw too high to first. The overthrow came close to finding the opening into the first-base dugout, which would have allowed the CHS runner from second to score, too, but instead it caromed off the foul fence and stayed in play, forcing Brandsgaard to have to hold up at third.
With the potential tying run aboard and a runner who could make it a 1-run game only 90 feet away, Chillicothe didn’t capitalize again. A strikeout ended the inning with the Hornets closer, but still behind 4-2 with one inning to go.
By the time they got their last chance to swing, the gap had doubled as Brandsgaard and reliever Toedebusch combined to allow three hits, two walks, and two runs in the top of the seventh.
Statistically, Heckenbach and Brown combined to hold Chillicothe to only four hits – all by different players, while the Warriors collected eight off the Hornets’ hill tandem.
The Hornets, who had been playing very well defensively during their winning streak, including numerous errorless outings, were charged with three errors in their regular-season finale.
Brandsgaard, who had entered the game having allowed only two earned runs – and merely three overall – in 31 prior innings, was responsible for all six SHS runs. Five of them were earned, raising his ERA from a microscopic 0.46 to a still-excellent 1.12. He suffered his first loss in six decisions.
In jayvee action Tuesday, Chillicothe lost 11-4, ending its season with a 5-5-1 record. The tie had come the day before it and Savannah battled to a 7-7 deadlock before calling it quits.
Next for the CHS varsity is a game in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 16 tournament at St. Joseph next Monday.
The Hornets will face the winner of a Saturday game between St. Joseph schools Benton and Lafayette at 4:30 p.m. next Monday.
If the field at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph is dry enough, that’s where district-tourney contests will be played. If weather creates a problem at any point in the tournament, games might be shifted to the artificial-turf field at Missouri Western State University.
Two school marks – one fresh, one long-standing, fall as track-and-field teams win
ST. JOSEPH , Mo. — Two school records fell as the Chillicothe track-and-field teams each won their fourth meet championship of the 2017 season Tuesday in the 8-schools Cardinal Relays, hosted by Benton High.
Both the Lady Hornets, who compiled 120 points – 12 more than runnerup Lawson, and Hornets, whose 135 points outdueled Maryville by 14, had one of the record-toppling performances by 11th graders.
Hornet Brett Shaffer, who’d come close to Brandon Worthington’s 1999 standard in the 300-meters intermediate hurdles a couple of meets ago, used the first hot-weather meet of the season to zip past it.
Unbeaten in the race this spring, Br. Shaffer clipped across the barriers in 38.3 seconds, meet timers recorded, 0.2 seconds faster than 3-times state hurd-ling champion Worthington’s 1999 record clocking.
Also during the final regular-season meet – Chillicothe will host the Class 3 District 8 meet this Saturday, Molly Jones became the first Lady Hornet ever to throw the javelin 100 feet or farther, erasing a school record only five days old.
Following senior teammate Jalynn Reeter’s resetting the CHS record twice recently, including a throw of 99’2” last Thursday at St. Joseph: Lafayette’s Irish Relays, M. Jones wrote her name on the top line of the list for the event revived in Missouri high school competition over the last three years by uncorking a toss of 100’3”, although that only earned her second place in the meet. Ja. Reeter, the 2-times Midland Empire Conference champion, topped out at just under 90’ this time.
In terms of Chillicothe’s championship performances in Tuesday’s competition, Br. Shaffer’s sweep of both hurdles races – he ran the 110-meters highs in 14.8 seconds – and Jaime Albertson’s identical performance for the Lady Hornets topped the bill. Albertson finished the 100-meters highs in 16 seconds flat and led teammate Kylee Larson in a 1-2 finish in the 300 lows in 48.3.
Other event champions for Chillicothe in the Benton-hosted meet included Whitney Clampitt in the girls’ high jump (5’6”, two inches short of Mary Nan Chapman’s and Lesley White’s shared school record), fellow senior Layne Worman in the boys’ 3,200 (10:15), junior Walker Graves in the shot put (46’81⁄2”), and the boys’ 1,600-meters (4x400) relay of Peyton Forck, Jacob Anderson, Izaak Rasche, and Br. Shaffer (3:34.1).
With Clampitt sitting out everything except the high jump, the Lady Hornets got a big lift from freshman Kennedy Corzette, who was second or third in three events (pole vault, long and triple jumps) for 19 team points – nearly the equivalent of winning two events.
On the boys’ side, with Br. Shaffer sitting out the 200-meters dash on this occasion and thus generating 221⁄2 points, Graves was the top scorer with 26 points from his win and second places in the other two throws (discus and javelin). The Hornets’ most-productive event proved to be the 3,200 when William Perry finished third behind Worman, giving CHS a 16-points haul.
Soccer Lady Hornets keep goose eggs cooking on pitch
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Having had sophomore goalkeeper Kennedie Kieffer backstop them to five shutouts before suffering an injury just before midseason, the Chillicothe soccer Lady Hornets now have turned the same trick with her sophomore replacement, Caitlyn Cothern.
Tuesday on the home turf at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II, the Chillicothe defense “closed down any offensive attack,” according to CHS head coach Lance Harvey, resulting in Cothern needing to make only two saves to produce the team’s 10th ’17 whitewash.
The back line and Cothern were aided by what the coach termed a “solid performance from Morgan Grable and Devin Dowell in the midfield.”
Dowell didn’t just impact the goal-prevention. She began the match’s goal production about 13 minutes in, netting her first of the season on a ground-hugging shot that just sneaked inside the goalpost, Harvey noted.
Only a half-minute after Dowell showed how, junior Harlie Jones chased down a nicely-played “through ball” by Addie Ficken and fired home her sixth goal of 2017 from the offensive left side. Jones is second on the team in goals.
In the 32nd minute of the match, Chillicothe’s leading goal scorer this spring – Karson Keithley, its lone senior – found some open space with a dribble and fired home No. 15. According to Harvey, that’s No. 40 in her outstanding career, which the coach believes to be the second-highest total in the program’s 10-years history behind Lindy Saunders’ 50-plus.
Ahead 3-0 at halftime – the margin by which Chillicothe had blanked the Lady Irish in St. Joseph a couple of weeks ago, the Lady Hornets made sure there’d be no rally by the visitors. For good measure, freshman Hunter Keithley tallied twice, first on a breakaway and later with a crossing lob. They were her second and third of the season.
Tuesday’s varsity victory lifted CHS’ season record to 11-6. They improved to 2-4 in the Midland Empire Conference.
In jayvee action against Lafayette, Chillicothe closed out its schedule with a 1-0 triumph.