Three multiple-runs innings, Wheeler's big day power Hornets to second league win in a row
CAMERON, Mo. — Their spirits surely lifted by their late, come-from-way-behind victory over St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond at home two days before, the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS baseball Hornets “rope-a-doped” the Cameron Dragons on the road Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
While Cameron “put the kibosh” on the region’s hottest hitter, Dawson Wheeler and most of the rest of the Hornets hammered Dragons pitchers as a 13-hits Chillicothe attack produced three innings of three or four runs, leading to a 12-2, 6-innings Midland Empire Conference victory for the Hornets (3-4, 2-0 conf.).
Wheeler, making his second-straight start in the lineup and also drawing the starting pitching assignment, smacked a 2-runs double and drove in three runs in a 3-for-4 hitting performance that paced a 13-hits Chillicothe offensive onslaught.
The junior righthander also held the Dragons to two runs on one hit despite issuing six bases on balls in going the game’s first 3-2/3 innings, long enough to make his first varsity pitching decision a win.
With the Hornets in front 7-2 and Wheeler having thrown a relatively-modest 60 pitches, he was lifted with two outs in the fourth after issuing his sixth free pass. Sophomore righthander Mason Baxter came on and, after the Dragons baserunner stole second, the runner unwisely tried to swipe third, as well, despite his team trailing by five. The theft attempt was thwarted, ending the inning with Chillicothe still up by five, and, a couple of innings later, a 4-runs Hornets sixth positioned them to end the game a bit early.
As has been its habit this season, Chillicothe fell behind in the first couple of innings, Cameron getting a 1-out, 2-runs double from catcher Hays (first name not available), following back-to-back walks to start its half of the second.
Behind 2-0 as it started through its batting order a second time, Chillicothe got its scoring going and never stopped.
Run-scoring singles with two outs by brothers Kam and Brock Ward scored Baxter and K. Ward, respectively, to tie things up. Wheeler then slashed an opposite-field triple to right field for a 3-2 lead and scored on an error on a ball hit by first-time designated hitter Isaih Kille.
The 4-2 Hornets lead jumped up to 7-2 in the next frame.
This time, with two outs and none on, Jaden Winder singled and Westley Brandsgaard – who entered with a batting average of .622, but went zero for four – got aboard his only time on the day via a base on balls.
After a passed ball advanced them to third and second, respectively, cleanup batter K. Ward did just that with a 2-runs single to left. Following B. Ward being hit by a pitch, Wheeler’s second hit of the game, this time a single to left, made it 7-2, Chillicothe.
Tucker Wagers’ leadoff hit in the Hornets’ fifth set up Winder’s sacrifice fly to left before the visitors boosted their lead to double figures in the sixth.
B. Ward, who reached safely in all four plate appearances, ripped a double to center field to open the Chillicothe sixth and Wheeler, who had shifted to third base defensively when Baxter relieved in the fourth, singled him home for his third hit.
Kille, who also got aboard each time he batted, followed two previous walks and an error by getting his first varsity basehit – a single to right that scored Wheeler, who had gone to second on the throw home when B. Ward scored.
Wagers’ second hit was followed by a fielder’s choice at third that erased Kille, but Winder made it another 4-runs inning for the Hornets with a double to center field that scored both men, making it 12-2.
Needing to score at least once in their half of the sixth to force a seventh inning, the host Dragons managed only a 2-outs walk before Baxter wrapped up his first save of 2019.
Statistically, in addition to Wheeler’s hitting heroics, Winder, Wagers, and both Wards contributed two hits each to the winning attack by the Hornets’ “W” crew. K. Ward matched Wheeler’s three runs batted in and scored twice. Baxter chipped in three stolen bases and two runs scored.
Like Wheeler, Baxter surrendered only one hit in his hill stint. However, he walked only one in his 2-1/3 innings.
Chillicothe is slated to take its modest 2-games winning streak into the 4-teams, round-robin Marshall Invitational Tournament today and tomorrow.
The Hornets will begin with an approximately 5:30 p.m. game against North Callaway today, followed by a 9 a.m. contest against the host Owls and 11:30 a.m. tilt against Clinton on Saturday.