2018 Lady Hornets bested Trenton 7-2 on road Thursday (Sept. 20) to go to 13-0 in dual matches. Soccer Hornets fell 1-0 on late goal and softball squad was pelted 16-7 at St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond

While it might face its largest challenge of the regular season today when it visits Marshall, Chillicothe High School’s girls’ tennis team extended its pristine play in dual matches Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
The Lady Hornets hiked their record in duals of any length to 13-0 when they handily turned back host Trenton 7-2. That followed a 9-0 CHS home win over THS’ Lady Bulldogs earlier in the season.
Thursday also saw the golf Lady Hornets do very, very well in the Chillicothe Invitational Tournament (see story on this website) and the soccer Hornets and softball Lady Hornets absorb contrasting defeats.
The soccer Hornets allowed the only goal of their home match against Savannah with just under five minutes left in regular time, falling 1-0. That came after the softball varsity team fell behind big early and absorbed a 16-7 loss at St. Joseph: Benton.
A scheduled CHS volleyball match at St. Joseph: Lafayette was called off, due to the lack of air conditioning at the Lafayette gym on an unseasonably hot day.
TENNIS
Chillicothe 7, Trenton 2   TRENTON — A sweep of the doubles sent the Lady Honets on their way to another triumph, but Trenton did spring a couple of surprises – particularly in the margin of victory – in singles.
After CHS’ No. 1 doubles team of Hunter Keithley and Hannah Cypert fought off Emma Gilham and Lexi Gott 8-5 to stay undefeated for the season, Gilham handed Lady Hornets top player Gracy Reeter her first singles loss by shutout, 8-0.
Later, in No. 5 singles, Gott got the best of Reeter’s younger sister Lucy by a wide spread, too – 8-2.
The other doubles and singles sets were captured by Lady Hornets, all but one easily.
In doubles, the Reeters had their way 8-2 at No. 2 position and CHS No. 3 tandem Macy Cavanah and Hannah Zimmerman matched that.
In singles, No. 3 Chillicothean Cypert had her own brush with a first loss of 2018, but she held fast for an 8-5 decision. Keithley rolled 8-2 at No. 2, Zimmerman had easy sailing at No. 6 8-1, and Cavanah shut out ner No. 4 singles opponent.
Slated to compete today (Friday, Sept. 21) in the previously-postponed Benton-Savannah Invitational Tournament at St. Joseph, the Lady Hornets are to have a 4 p.m. clash at regional power Marshall Monday.
MHS’ Lady Owls are 13-1 at present with only one opponent in common with Chillicothe. The veteran Lady Hornets began their season with 7-2 triumph over Kirksville. Marshall dominated Kirksville 10-2 more recently.
SOCCER
Savannah 1, Chillicothe 0   In a home match which bore all the earmarks of one which would necessitate at least overtime, if not a shootout, to settle, Savannah created one glorious chance in the late stages of regular time and used successful conversion of it to post a 1-0 Midland Empire Conference road win.
The Hornets had earned several more corner kicks and had the better scoring chances, as well as more of them, in the first 74-plus minutes.
However, off a seemingly-innocuous situation – a midfield throw-in, Savannah suddenly struck.
Throwing the ball several yards back toward its own goal, Savannah established easy possession and, seconds later, played the ball back to midfield on the east sideline of Bob Fairchild Field at Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II.
The ball was quickly angled forward and to the right to Kyle Johnson, who realized the entire west half of the field on the attacking end was vacant of Chillicothe defenders.
Quickly tapping the ball several yards ahead to his right as he began to accelerate, Johnson out-ran the Hornet trying to mark him to the ball and kicked the ball quite a bit further ahead and even more to the middle of the pitch.
That move gave the speedy Savage space to run flat out toward the ball, giving him a chance to out-distance the CHS back by a few yards as the slowing ball rolled ever nearer the Hornets’ penalty area.
Having not read the open space and anticipating Johnson’s gambit until the Savannah player was starting to catch up to it, Hornets goalkeeper Daniel Hedrick belatedly decided to try to beat Johnson to the ball. Although he probably would have won that “race” had he started out from his goal line as soon as the ball left Johnson’s foot, Hedrick’s momentary hesitation in the tough spot meant he could not get to it first.
Instead, Johnson out-legged his defender and reached the ball less than five yards into the penalty area and with the Hornets goalkeeper still several yards beyond. Caught in no-man’s land and forced to be flat-footed, Hedrick could only try to guess whether Johnson would try to dribble the ball once more and try to get wide of him before attempting a shot or trigger a try on net as he arrived.
Leaning to his left in anticipation of a continued dribble, the Hornets’ keeper could only watch in vain as Johnson used his right foot to angle the ball toward the vacated goal several yards to Hedrick’s right. It crossed the goal line just as the game clock ticked up five minutes remaining and Savannah had a lead with not much time for a CHS reprisal.
The Hornets did make a couple of dangerous thrusts, including a last-minute header from about 12 yards off a throw-in that angled only a few yards wide of the left goalpost.
That ill-fated, last-gasp attempt was similar to the Hornets’ best scoring threat of the match.
Earlier in the second half, sophomore forward Mason Baxter flung a hard throw-in from the offensive left sideline just over head-high straight across the pitch into the penalty area and just to the right of the SHS goal.
Intercepting its flight path about eight yards from the goal line was Chillicothe senior Hunter Swift, who, with his back to the goal, flicked his head and redirected the ball toward the goal and still with a lot of the speed Baxter had imparted.
The deflection caught the SHS goalkeeper moving and a bit out of position and unable to keep the ball from going past him. However, in a positive for the visitors and bad break for Swift and the Hornets, the redirected ball went a couple of yards wide of the right goalpost, bulging the side net, but from the outside. That meant the ball was out of bounds, giving Savannah a stoppage of play and a goal kick, rather than a deficit to overcome.
“A really hard-fought match between two good teams,” Hornets coach Tim Cunningham reflected afterward. “Savannah made one more play than we did.”
Statistically, the 1-0 defeat was the fourth shutout of 2018 for Chillicothe (4-7, 1-1 MEC).
The soccer Hornets next are scheduled to play Monday (Sept. 24) at 5 p.m.. at MEC foe St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond.
SOFTBALL
St. Joseph: Benton 16, Chillicothe 7   ST. JOSEPH — CHS’ softball squad got a double dose of the medicine they have often administered thus far this season – scoring early and eventually reaching twin digits – in Thursday’s defeat at Hyde Park near Benton High School.
The host Lady Cardinals put the Lady Hornets at a quick disadvantage with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, then burst the game at its seams when a second-inning grand slam off the bat of Benton pitcher L. Edson (first name not available) made it 8-0 in the second.
While Chillicothe eventually posted seven runs of its own, hefty Lady Cardinals hitting and continued leaky defense by CHS made those runs inconsequential as Benton kept adding on.
Edson finished with six runs batted in while pitching all seven innings for the winners.
The Lady Hornets ended up knocking out a baker’s dozen hits themselves – Benton whacked 17, with the top four in CHS’ lineup all having multi-hits outings topped by Mika Hibner’s 3-for-3 day.
Chillicothe’s pitching was evenly split between its two young hurlers. Starter and loser Halle Rucker (3-2) allowed eight runs – six earned – on nine hits in her three innings. In her three, reliever Mollie Ellis was tagged for eight runs, too – only one unearned in her case – on eight more BHS safeties.
“Errors are killing us,” Mike Jones, Chillicothe head coach, lamented after his team dipped to 7-4 overall and 3-2 in the Midland Empire Conference.
“We have to find a way to play better defense and play with more enthusiasm.”
Weather permitting, the softball Lady Hornets will play in their own home-field tournament tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 22) at Daryl Danner Memorial Park, beginning at 8 a.m..