CHS Lady Hornets held 3-0 lead at St. Joseph: Lafayette after two innings, but gave up two runs each in third, fourth, and fifth to fall to 1-1 on season in Midland Empire Conference lidlifter
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The admittedly-lofty Midland Empire Conference ambitions of the 2019 Chillicothe High School softball Lady Hornets took an immediate blow Tuesday.
After seizing a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning and improving it to 3-0 before making their first out of the second, the Lady Hornets went silent until the last inning, propping the door open for the Lady Irish to chip away with 2-runs innings in the third, fourth, and fifth and capture a 6-4 victory in CHS’ league opener.
After Lafayette added to its 4-3 lead with two highly-important insurance runs in the home half of the sixth, the Lady Hornets cashed in a break to get a run across in the seventh and have power-hitting sophomore Mika Hibner at the plate, representing the potential tying run.
However, Chillicothe lost on a risky bet, having baserunner Abby Jones, who had singled sharply to center field to score Sophia Luetticke with run No. 4, attempt to steal second, rather than left M. Hibner have the chance to tie things with one swing of the bat. A good pickup out of the dirt by the Lady Irish shortstop of a strong, but low, throw erased Jones, giving the visitors two outs.
A pitch later, M. Hibner’s hard shot to deep center field was tracked down to end the game.
Luetticke had reached on a disputed hit-batsman ruling to begin the inning.
Showing a possible bunt attempt just as the pitch was released, the Lady Hornet had the ball come right toward her. With her bat still in front of her, she seemed – on examination of online videocast coverage – to attempt to lower the bat position toward the ball, perhaps half in self-protection and half in belief she could drag-bunt for a hit. When the lefthanded batter made no contact and the ball hit her lower leg, she seemed resigned to the fact that it would be called the equivalent of a swing and miss, but, after a moment, the home plate umpire declared there was not an attempt at contact with the bat and thus Luetticke was awarded first base on a hit by pitch.
After she stole second and a sharp line drive up the middle by Jordan Hibner was speared on the backhand by the LHS second baseman, Jones’ single cut the gap to two, but it stayed there.
Chillicothe opened the game’s scoring in the opening half-inning.
A 2-outs wild pitch let Jones advance from first base to second, allowing her to then score on M. Hibner’s hard-hit single through the hole into left field. With M. Hibner having taken second base on the throw home on her hit, she was able to score without a play when Kennedy Corzette’s 2-outs roller to the second baseman was booted for an error and a rushed, late throw was dropped by the first baseman and rolled away as M. Hibner never stopped running.
In the CHS second, freshman Kinlei Boley socked a leadoff hit to left, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored easily on extra-hitter Lexi Walker’s hard-hit, no-outs single to right field.
Lafayette turned off the Chillicothe scoring spigot at that juncture and its offense made that pay off with a win.
Doing the Lady Hornets’ pitching was sophomore Hallie Rucker. She allowed 12 hits and all six LHS runs were earned. She neither walked nor struck out anyone.
CHS’ diamond girls are off until Saturday when they are to play in the Putnam County Invitational Tournament at Unionville.