(C-T Photo / Paul Sturm)

(Friday night update, integrating softball tourney postponement) Chillicothe HS Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, sports roundup: Tennis squad duplicates prior win over Trenton Soccer boys stay perfect in MEC. J. Hibner powers CHS softball win. Jones fourth in home golf tourney. Volleyball team battles Lafayette tough

A bevy of Thursday (Sept. 26, 2019) Chillicothe (Mo.) High School home sports events produced mostly-pleasing outcomes with three of the four teams in action winning, an individual faring well in a non-team setting, and the team which fell having some good moments against an often-tormenting foe.
The action began in the morning as CHS hosted its annual invitational girls’ golf tournament. While the hosts don’t have enough players for a team score any more this year, junior standout Hallie Jones still posted a fourth-place finish in the individual standings.
As late afternoon arrived and melded into evening, the tennis Lady Hornets repeated on their home courts the 7-2 victory they’d posted at Trenton a couple of weeks before. In the process, the CHS girls raised their season record to 11-1 in dual matches.
Almost simultaneously at another Daryl Danner Memorial Park locale, behind senior Jordan Hibner’s first career home run and five runs batted in, the softball Lady Hornets continued their emergence from a slump by turning back St. Joseph: Benton 7-4 in Midland Empire Conference play. That brought the Chillicothe diamond girls’ season record back to break-even at 6-6, a mark they won't get a chance to improve Saturday (Sept. 28) as their annual home tournament was rained out.
During that same time frame, but out of town, the CHS soccer Hornets continued to throw down the MEC gauntlet before Kansas City: St. Pius X and St. Joseph: Benton, nipping host Savannah 2-1 to advance to a perfect 5-0 in league play.
SPX played only its first conference match Thursday and lost 4-3 in double overtime to St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond, leaving Benton and CHS as the only teams without a MEC defeat.
Benton, even after blasting crosstown rival Lafayette 8-0 Wednesday on the heels of a 1-0 shading of Chillicothe in a non-conference match the day before, has only two conference wins to date, while Hornets now have five banked with only an Oct. 10 match at SPX and Oct. 17 home contest against Benton remaining.
Concluding Thursday’s CHS competitions, the volleyball Lady Hornets battled to the very end, but lost to Lafayette 20-25, 22-25.
TENNIS
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Just as they had at Trenton on Sept. 9, Chillicothe’s tennis Lady Hornets topped THS’ Lady Bulldogs 7-2 Thursday, with most of the nine sets effectively mirroring the previous outcomes.
This time at home, the Lady Hornets again won two of the three doubles sets and five of the six singles, but with one variation in each format.
In doubles, Trenton’s pair of Lexi Gott and Kendall Crowley turned back CHS’ top duo of Hunter Keithley and Hannah Zimmerman 8-4. At Trenton, the Lady Hornets’ combo had trailed most of the first half of a close set, but won the last four games to prevail 8-5. This time, the Trenton tandem didn’t let off the gas.
That flip of results was balanced by Chillicothe’s Megan Sisson and Leah Lourenco at No. 3. They had dropped their set at Trenton 5-8 in only their third-ever varsity appearances, dominated the same foes this time, posting an 8-0 bagel.
Staying the same this time around was the continued excellent play of CHS’ No. 2 combo of Macy Cavanah and Delaney May. They won for the eighth time in nine outings, 8-2.
Once singles play began, all of the positions saw the same winner as before.
In counterpoint to their doubles showing, Keithley ripped Gott 8-1 at No. 1 and Zimmerman won by the identical count against her opponent.
At No. 2 doubles, although she’d prospered with Gott in doubles, Crowley was blitzed 8-0 by the rampaging Cavanah. The CHS senior now is 11-1 this season in doubles.
“Macy continues to pile up the wins,” CHS coach Bob Long observes, referencing both her singles and doubles marks.
May easily subdued her No. 4 opponent 8-2, the same count by which Lourenco won at No. 6. The No. 5 set was dropped by Sisson 5-8.
On the heels of four abbreviated-format wins in Wednesday’s Tigers Classic tournament at Excelsior Springs, Thursday’s success bumped the Lady Hornets’ dual-matches record for the year up to 11-1.
That mark likely will face a severe test Monday when regional power Marshall will come to town for 4 p.m. play.
SOCCER
SAVANNAH, Mo. — A very-early strike and a late first-half goal allowed the visiting Chillicothe squad to exert control of its match with the Savages and, despite a late SHS tally, stay undefeated in league action.
In the fourth minute of play, junior forward Mason Baxter put home his team-high 13th goal of the year off sophomore Ben Cueni-Smith’s team-best eighth assist.
The Hornets nursed that slender margin for about 30 minutes before Caleb Vance also found a way to beat the Savannah netminder in the 35th minute.
The more-reassuring 2-0 Chillicothe lead lasted until the final 10 minutes. Savage A. Romero (first name not reported) got an unassisted shot past Hornets goalkeeper Jaxon Albertson in the 72nd minute, but, with help from the teammates in front of him, the CHS ’keeper kept his goal tidy the rest of the way.
When the referee’s whistle tweeted three times, Chillicothe, idle from loop play for about two weeks, had earned its fifth MEC triumph without a loss.
While the Hornets were staying unblemished in the league with most of its matches behind it, potential challenger St. Pius X was dropping its MEC opener when Bishop LeBlond’s Luke Metcalf converted a penalty kick in the second overtime.
That means Benton, with a mere two MEC wins under its belt, is the only other league outfit besides the Hornets still without a conference loss.
Thursday’s results could set up a scenario in which the Oct. 17 visit by Benton to CHS’ Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II will decide the conference crown. The Hornets will visit SPX a week before that.
SOFTBALL
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Lady Hornets senior middle infielder Jordan Hibner staked her team to a quick 2-0 lead when, following Sophia Luetticke’s leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning, she surprisingly jacked a pitch over the center field fence at Daryl Danner Memorial Park’s “red” field.
She followed that with a 2-outs, 2-runs double to left-center in the bottom of the second to double the lead and then dashed home on winning pitcher Abby Jones’ single to center to make it 5-0 after two.
When Chillicothe next came to bat, a pair of 2-outs, 2-runs hits by Benton and some shaky defense had slashed the Lady Hornets’ lead to one.
Senior first baseman Kiley Kirkpatrick, really stroking the ball well since making her belated season debut a couple of weeks earlier, ignited another multi-runs inning for the Lady Hornets in the home half of the third.
Hit by a pitch in her first plate appearance, Kirkpatrick, who sustained a knee injury late last winter, slashed a double to the fence in right-center field to begin the CHS third.
After a popup, she legged it home safely on frosh Hope Helton’s hit past the shortstop, expanding the Lady Hornets’ lead back to two. Before the inning ended, J. Hibner waited out a bases-loaded, full-count walk for her fifth run driven in in three innings and a 7-4 CHS advantage.
Although it didn’t seem probable then, that actually was the last of the game’s scoring.
A. Jones got through the top of the fourth undamaged, stranding runners at first and third on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Brooke Horton.
Her dad and CHS coach, Mike Jones, called on freshman Kinlei Boley to take over the pitching in the fifth.
In her second appearance since being sidelined from pitching for several weeks, due to a health problem, Boley finished up with three innings of shutout, 2-hits ball. In a bit of kismet, the game ended when A. Jones, back at her usual shortstop spot, glided to her left to field a 1-out, 1-on grounder. She took a quick step or two over to step on second base for the second out, then fired a strike to Kirkpatrick to complete a game-ending double play that made her the winning pitcher, as well. She’s now 3-0 in the circle.
Offensively, while J. Hibner stood squarely in the spotlight, others made their contributions to the team’s third-consecutive victory on the heels of four losses in a row.
Smacking two hits each, in addition to J. Hibner, were Kirkpatrick, Lexi Walker, and A. Jones.
Neither team was charged officially with an error. Benton ended up out-hitting CHS 11-10 and received one walk, but left eight runners. Chillicothe had three walks plus the hit batsman and struck out only once. It left six on base.
With the annual Chillicothe Invitational Tournament postponed Saturday, due to wet fields, the Lady Hornets next are slated to face strong Hamilton: Penney team on the road Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Whether the rained-out Chillicothe tournament is able to be made up in some form or fashion was uncertain at the time of this story's posting.
GOLF
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Although nothing sensational, multiple solid individual scores were posted in Thursday’s annual Chillicothe Invitational Tournament, including one from CHS’ top player.
Lady Hornets junior Hallie Jones carded a 41-45–86 for the 18-holes event, leaving her in fourth place in the medalist standings. Team champion Kirksville’s Abby Boyer took the top spot with a 40-40–80, a shot better than Maryville’s Emily Long. Laken Sattman of Brookfield was third with a 43-42–85. BHS’ Demi Downey matched Jones’ 86, but settled for fifth place on a scorecard playoff.
Impressively placing sixth was Makenna Campbell of Southwest Livingston. She shot a 45-46–91, hinting she should be a strong contender in the approaching district tourney on the same Green Hills Golf Course links-style layout for advancement to the sectional tournament and, possibly, state.
Paced by its medalist, Kirksville carved out a low-4 team score of 388, a comfortable 18 shots clear of runnerup Maryville. With only three team members, Chillicothe did not have a team score.
One of CHS’ other two players – both sophomores in their first year in the sport – had her finest day to date Thursday.
Entering with an 18-holes average of 139, Brooke Williams beat that by a wide, wide margin with a 121 in the perfect weather. albeit – with still some soft ground – not ideal scoring conditions.
Classmate Quincey Jessen posted a 138, four shots higher than her average.
Next for the CHS golfers will be Monday’s Midland Empire Conference Championships at the St. Joseph Country Club. Jones could battle Maryville’s Long and others for the individual title there.
VOLLEYBALL
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Having overcome a slow start, CHS’ spikers took advantage of some uncharacteristically-sloppy play by Lafayette to lead by several points in the middle of the first game.
However, the Lady Irish got back to business and soon reclaimed the lead and kept it en route to a 25-20 game one win.
The visitors then offered the young Lady Hornets a chance to bow out in straight games with a respectable, but clear-cut loss in game two, but Chillicothe declined.
With its varsity roster having only two seniors, both of whom see only sparing time, CHS tried to pull off a miracle rally at the last instant, fighting off several potential match points before finally succumbing 22-25.
Statistically for the Lady Hornets (5-6-1), it had one of its better matches for net offense. Sophomore Clara Leamer delivered a team-high six “kills” (spikes), only one more than classmate Essie Hicks, who did not miss on any of her spiking opportunities in the match and also served three aces. Gracie West, another sophomore and recently elevated to regular use in the varsity rotation, pounded home four winners.
Helping out the hitters, Haylee Coplen set for a team-high nine assists with another 10th grader, Selby Miller, earning seven. Makayla Vance, also a sophomore, paced the Chillicothe floor defense with six “digs,” according to team-kept statistics provided by head coach Karen Jackson.
The CHS varsity will begin a stretch of five road outings (including one tournament) in its next six competitions Monday with a match at Marshall.