Diamond squad bests Cameron 10-1 in to go to 2-0 in Midland Empire Conference play. Spikers sweep Carrollton 25-18, 25-15. Soccer Hornets drop their sixth Sept. 11
Chillicothe High School girls’ fall sports teams had good days at home Tuesday, while the soccer Hornets took it on the chin again in the Kansas City Cup tournament.
The softball Lady Hornets played a second sharp game in a row to pick up another Midland Empire Conference win, this time 10-1 over visiting Cameron.
The volleyball Lady Hornets moved back above .500, ending a brief losing streak with a 25-19, 25-15 home-court triumph over non-conference opponent Carrollton.
The soccer boys fell to what team coaches view as a strong Raytown: South squad 4-0 in their second “group” game in the 16-teams tournament in the Kansas City metro area. They’ll wrap up play in that tourney Wednesday (Sept. 12) with a 4 p.m. match against Kansas City: Ruskin at Bingham Middle School in Independence.
CHILLICOTHE 10, CAMERON 1 Chillicothe’s wide winning margin, while deserved by their execution on both offense and defense, easily could have been far different, had not winning pitcher Mollie Ellis and her defense not been at their best when the chips were down.
After the Lady Hornets expanded an early 2-1 lead provided by Mika Hibner’s 2-runs double that followed hits by freshman Sophia Luetticke and Abby Jones in the first inning to 6-1 in the third and 7-1 in the fourth on frosh M. Hibner’s third double in as many plate appearances, Cameron loaded the bases with no outs the next half-inning.
However, sophomore righthander Ellis gathered herself and induced a popup to retreating second sacker Jordan Hibner, a force-play grounder in which senior third baseman Bailey Pithan easily cut down the lead runner at the play, and a grounder that J. Hibner glided to her left to glove and shovel to first to deny the threat.
Again in the fifth, with the gap still at 7-1, Cameron put two runners aboard with only one out, only to be stonewalled by the young, but emerging, Lady Hornets (2-1, 2-0 MEC). J. Hibner went to her right to backhand a grounder and get the forceout at second base for the second out and the inning ended with no scoring when shortstop Jones threw out the next Lady Dragon.
Chillicothe’s offense was as much opportunistic and lucky as it was ferocious, but gave itself that opportunity by consistently putting the ball in play and seeing what happened.
While Cameron didn’t make any egregious errors out of its total of two, three times infield popups hit by the hosts either fell just out of a fielder’s reach or off a Lady Dragon’s glove as she and a teammate almost collided.
In the home squad’s biggest inning – the third, A. Jones lit the fuse with a scorching leadoff single between the third baseman and the bag. She then dashed all the way home when freshman cleanup batter M. Hibner laced a line drive double into the gap in left-center field.
A walk to J. Hibner and a single to shallow center by Kennedy Corzette loaded the bases with one out, allowing Kiley Kirkpatrick’s fly ball to right to plate M. Hibner as the two trail runners smartly advanced on the throw home.
The extra bases picked up by J. Hibner and Corzette then became very helpful runs when sophomore catcher Lexi Walker painted the right field line with a looper that fell in for a 2-runs single and 6-1 Chillicothe lead.
When A. Jones and M. Hibner repeated their single-double sequence a third-straight time in the fourth inning – this time with two outs, the Lady Hornets’ margin was up to six.
When Cameron failed to capitalize on its chances to close the gap in the fifth and sixth, Chillicothe put the win on ice in its final at-bat.
With one out, A. Jones drew a walk and stole second. M. Hibner’s popup between the pitcher’s circle and third base was pursued by both the Cameron pitcher and third baseman and went off the pitcher’s leather for an error.
With runners at first and second, J. Hibner stroked a hit up the middle to drive A. Jones home with her fourth run scored of the day.
Following a popup, Kirkpatrick singled to center, loading the bases and giving Walker another chance to bat with runners in scoring position. Just like in the third, she delivered two home by making contact.
This time, she hit a low popup between the pitcher and first baseman that both pursued warily and neither reached after 10-15 feet in fair territory. When it didn’t have enough velocity to spin foul, there was no play on Walker with no one covering first as Kaylee Munson, courtesy running for M. Hibner trotted home from third.
However, when the ball spun away from the pitcher and first baseman, the Cameron catcher trailing Walker down the line had it come toward her, so she instinctively started toward it, too. In doing so, she left home plate uncovered and, by the time she realized it and retraced some of her steps while the ball was thrown to her, J. Hibner had kept running from second and easily won the race for the plate with Chillicothe’s 10th run.
On the belated throw home, both Kirkpatrick and Walker alertly took advantage of Cameron’s confusion and moved on to third and second base, respectively, without a play. That gave Chillicothe a chance, with one more hit, error, or wild pitch to end the game on the 10-runs-lead rule, but a popup to shortstop stranded the runners.
Statistically, aside from having to pitch out of the jams in the fifth and sixth innings, Ellis (1-1) had little difficulty.
Even in the first inning when Cameron scored its only run, she retired three of the four batters. The run came on a 2-outs triple to left and a subsequent passed ball that briefly put the Lady Dragons ahead.
The Chillicothe sophomore followed that triple by retiring the next 10 Cameron batters in a row, even though she didn’t have tremendous control (she threw first-pitch strikes to only 11 of the 29 batters she faced).
Walking no one and striking out only two, she was supported by flawless defense until the outcome was settled. The Lady Hornets had their only errors of the game in the top of the seventh on a wild pickoff throw and a booted ground ball, but Ellis returned the favor by pitching around them.
Ellis went the distance without allowing an earned run, because the Cameron tally in the first scored on a passed ball. That was quite the admirable turnaround from her season-opening start when she was charged with eight runs – five earned – while recording only one out at Lawson.
Offensively, the heroines were three-fold. Walker had a perfect 3-for-3 game with the bat and drove in four runs. A. Jones also went three for three and scored four times. M. Hibner was three for four with three doubles and four runs knocked in.
As a team, Chillicothe out-hit Cameron 13-6 and did not fan once.
Up next for the softball Lady Hornets will be Thursday conference action at Savannah.
CHILLICOTHE 25, 25, CARROLLTON 19, 15 The Lady Hornets spikers recovered from a loss to Benton at St. Joseph the night before by dispatching the Lady Trojans in increasingly-effective manner.
Senior setter Elli Ross showed the way with 17 assists and three serving aces. Senior hitter Kaylee Lewis paced the well-distributed finishing with seven spikes and Devin Dowell, another 12th grader, topped the winners with three “digs” on defense.
Chillicothe was much more efficient and accurate with its spiking efforts than the night before. It had 22 “kills,” while either failing to get the ball over the net or keep it in bounds only 10 times.
The Lady Hornets spikers visit defending Class 1 state champion St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond Thursday for Midland Empire Conference competition.
RAYTOWN: SOUTH 4, CHILLICOTHE 0 The Hornets booters, expected to have issues at times putting the ball in the net this season, suffered their third shutout loss in seven starts Tuesday in the tournament in the Kansas City metro area.
Raytown: South broke the scoring ice in the match’s 24th minute and added two more tallies before intermission to assume command.
The fourth and final RSHS goal came near the middle of the second half.
All four Raytown: South goals came from different players.
Senior goalkeeper Daniel Hedrick of the Hornets once more was kept quite busy. The 11 saves he had made it three times in CHS’ first seven matches that he’d made double-digits saves.