Following 19-2 beatdown by Macon in opening round of own Hornets Classic tournament Thursday, April 25, 2019, CHS bests Cameron 7-3 in consolation semifinal
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Maybe Chillicothe High School’s baseball Hornets have been playing on the wrong “home” field.
After sustaining a fifth-straight loss at mid-afternoon Thursday, April 25, 2019, when Macon shellacked them 19-2 on “Chuck” Haney Field at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park in a first-round game in their own Hornets Classic tournament, the Hornets transferred north to the “green” field at Daryl Danner Memorial Park and terminated their skid with a 7-3 triumph over Cameron.
The win meant Chillicothe would play in the tourney’s fifth-place game Saturday.
Having absorbed their second defeat with a 17- or 18-runs final margin immediately before, the baseball Hornets got to Cameron starting pitcher Grant Thompson for three very unearned runs in the top of the third inning and never trailed. A walk and three Dragons errors allowed the Hornets to get in front without aid of a hit.
Another Dragons miscue beginning the next inning put Chillicothe starting and winning pitcher Dawson Wheeler on at second base, from where he scored on Isaih Kille’s hit to left and a groundout by Bradley Riley.
Cameron nicked Wheeler for a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hornets trumped that with two in the top of the fifth on singles by DH Jaden Winder and Westley Brandsgaard, Brock Ward’s run-scoring groundout to shortstop, and Wheeler’s RBI single.
His team ahead 6-1, Chillicothe head coach Canaan Fairley gave the ball to senior righthander Matt Smith to begin the fifth and Smith earned the save by finishing the last three frames. A throwing error – Chillicothe’s only miscue of the game – set up the Dragons to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but a bad baserunning decision by Cameron and good defensive execution by Wheeler in left field, Tucker Wagers at third, and second sacker Brandsgaard caught a batter trying to take second on his 2-outs hit, ending the game.
Chillicothe had padded its lead a bit in the top of the seventh when Wheeler beat out a roller to second for his fourth hit in seven at-bats on the day, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Smith’s fly out to left.
Statistically, Chillicothe out-hit Cameron only 7-6, but also received five walks plus the half-dozen Cameron errors. As did Wheeler, Brandsgaard again had two hits against Cameron after being two for three against Macon. He continues to hit close to .500.
On the mound, Wheeler (2-0) allowed one run on three hits in his 4-innings start. He walked one and fanned one. Smith struck out four and walked merely one in his save.
Had the Hornets-Macon game been cleanly played defensively, it would have been a thriller going to the sixth inning, but it wasn’t and it wasn’t.
Four CHS errors and a passed ball in the first four innings led to six unearned Tigers runs as they built a 9-1 advantage.
One Hornets fielding miscue in the first inning, linked with two MHS hits and a fielder’s choice, put Chillicothe in a 3-0 hole before it took its first swing.
After another unearned tally in the top of the second made it 4-0, Dawson Wheeler’s ringing, opposite-field triple up the alley in right-center scored Kam Ward, who’d opened the CHS half with a hit to left.
Macon got that run right back plus another – both unearned again – in the third before jumping its lead up to 9-1 with two earned tallies and one unearned in the top of the fourth.
Chillicothe made a faint bid to inject a bit of drama into the contest in the bottom of the fifth before the game blew up in the MHS sixth.
Tucker Wagers drew a 1-out walk and Jaden Winder one with two down. Westley Brandsgaard ripped a sharp single the other way and Wagers easily beat the left fielder’s off-line thrown to the plate, making it 9-2.
When Kam Ward drew a third free pass of the inning to load the bases, one well-placed hit potentially could have pulled the Hornets within four with a chance to get even closer. However, Brock Ward’s solidly-struck line drive carried out to the right fielder for the last out.
Macon then more than doubled its previous runs total, plating 10 on six hits, seven walks, and a hit batter. The eruption included an inside-the-park grand-slam home run by Jamison Hogsett that rolled to the base of the wall in deep right-center field.