Softball team drops rescheduled home opener; tennis falls in MEC play

Generally speaking, not a lot of high school sports is played on Wednesdays, except in high school basketball tournaments.
Due to a Tuesday rainout, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS wound up with a pair of sports events Wednesday (Sept. 2). They didn’t go well.
Twenty-four hours after a sudden, brief but heavy downpour washed out their would-be 2020 home opener against East Buchanan, the softball Lady Hornets belatedly welcomed “East Buck” to town in bright sunshine. However, Chillicothe’s mood soon turned dark as they fell behind big quickly and never recovered in a 7-2 defeat.
Meanwhile, at Savannah, a day after their season-opening triumph over Midland Empire Conference foe Cameron, the tennis Lady Hornets dropped a 7-2 decision of their own.

Early East Buchanan damage dooms diamond girls
CHILLICOTHE — For the “half-full glass” crowd, the CHS softball team “won” the final five innings of their home debut by a 2-1 count. However, booming East Buchanan bats already had let the visitors claim the first two innings 6-0, thus giving the Lady Bulldogs more than enough cushion to register the overall win by the 7-2 count.
“East Buck” started the game with three-straight sharply-struck hits off Chillicothe starting and losing pitcher Halle Rucker, including a 2-runs single by Hannah Archdekin, and posted three runs in the opening frame.
When two of the first three batters in the top of the second also reached, bringing the top of the EBHS batting order back around, head coach Lee Rucker made a switch in the pitcher’s circle, summoning Kinlei Boley, who had been playing first base.
Boley retired the first batter she faced on a fly ball to right field which let the lead runner take third, but that advancement became moot when Erin McPike blasted a high drive well over the fence in center field for a 3-runs home run.
Although Boley blanked East Buchanan from then until the seventh, when the Lady Bulldogs picked up another unearned run, Chillicothe (0-4) could not dent pitcher McPike enough to make things tight.
The Lady Hornets did nick her for a run in the third when Sophia Luetticke led off with the second of her three hits and eventually crossed the plate on a 2-outs miscue. Then, in the fourth, Brooke Horton, one of two seniors on the CHS squad, launched an 0-2 offering over the fence in center, too, making it 6-2.
After their relief hurler kept EBHS stuck on six in the top of the fifth, the Lady Hornets mounted a threat to get back on close terms or catch up, but instead came up empty. A 1-out hit batter was followed by back-to-back bases on balls – the second of those by the other CHS 12th grader in uniform, right fielder Mollie Ellis, after an 8-pitches battle, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
McPike, however, rediscovered her control in time, getting ahead on the count to each of the next two batters before inducing an infield popup and groundout to leave the bases full.
That began a game-ending streak of eight Chillicothe batters in a row retired by the Lady Bulldogs righthander.
Statistically, aside from Luetticke’s three hits, Horton’s homer and two walks, and Ellis’ second-inning single that set up a wasted scoring chance and her fifth-inning freebie, the home team didn’t get much done with the bats. Reserve Dawsyn Lightner did go one for two after entering in the fourth inning.
The top third of East Buchanan’s lineup did most of its heavy lifting, going a combined seven for 12 with four extra-base hits, five runs driven in and five scored. CHS eventually out-hit the Lady Bulldogs 8-7, but also had two errors to the guests’ one.
Next for the Chillicothe softball team is scheduled to be Thursday (Sept. 3) 4:30 p.m. action at another KCI Conference school, Lawson.

Tennis Lady Hornets stumble at league foe Savannah
SAVANNAH — One Chillicothe HS tennis player remained totally unbeaten on the very young season at Savannah Wednesday and one doubles tandem did as well, but, as a team, the Lady Hornets took it on the chin in a MEC match that was much closer than the final set count indicates.
While the host Lady Savages prevailed by a 7-2 margin, three of the position sets it won would have been deadlocked had Chillicothe taken the last game played in each of them. Instead, SHS’ top player, Iris Alvarez, edged Lady Hornets senior Delaney May 9-7, CHS’ Megan Sisson lost 6-8 in No. 3 singles, and the visitors’ No. 3 doubles entry of varsity neophytes Rylee Washburn and Olivia Anderson dropped their set 7-9.
When those all went the hosts’ way, the outcome was decided well before the final points were played.
On the plus side for Chillicothe, junior Leah Lourenco won both in doubles and singles for the second time in two days and two matches. First, she and Cami Carpenter earned an 8-4 verdict in No. 2 doubles; then, in No. 4 singles, Lourenco out-fought her opponent 7-5 in a 12-points tiebreaker to claim that set 9-8.
While May came close to winning in singles for the first time in 2020, she and Sisson could not keep up with Savannah’s No. 1 doubles team of Alvarez and Maddee Olszowka, losing 2-8.
Carpenter was defeated 4-8 in No. 2 singles, Washburn was defeated 3-8 at No. 5, and Anderson lost 2-8 at No. 6.
The Chillicothe tennis girls will try again on Monday to have their first home match. Rained out against Kirksville this past Monday, the Lady Hornets are to welcome northern neighbor Trenton back to the Daryl Danner Memorial Park courts at 4 p.m. Monday.