Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Squads Make a Little Mean a Lot Monday
Soccer girls win 1-0, baseball squad 3-2 for initial 2021 victories
Chillicothe High School’s spring sports teams in competition Monday (March 22) didn’t generate a lot of offense, but that didn’t keep them from registering their first victories in nearly two years.
While the baseball Hornets were making three second-inning runs stand up, via sturdy pitching in the clutch, for a 3-2 triumph at Lawson, the soccer Lady Hornets were busy pairing a goal from one junior and prevention of goals by another in a 1-0 home verdict over Kirksville.
For both CHS squads, the victories leveled their early-season records at 1-1 and presented their respective new head coaches with the first triumphs of their tenures.
While the CHS booters will have a week to savor their win before playing again, the diamond Hornets are scheduled to play at Richmond Tuesday afternoon (March 23).
(G soccer) Chillicothe 1, Kirksville 0
After junior forward Lucy Reeter, who set the CHS girls’ program’s record for goals by a freshman two year ago – erasing program legend Lindy Saunders’ mark from the top line, produced the Lady Hornets’ initial tally of 2021 in unassisted fashion in the match’s 18th minute, responsibility for turning that into enough for a victory fell on the shoulders of the Chillicothe defense and new junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano.
They proved up to the challenge.
With Kirksville just one mistake – or, from KHS’ perspective, well-executed play – away from tying the match, Italiano and the players just in front of her made sure neither happened during the long 62 minutes that followed Reeter’s goal.
According to team statisticians, transfer Italiano, who missed last Friday’s season opener due to a lack of the requisite number of preseason practices, rejected five Lady Tigers shots on frame, including one spectacular stop in the second half.
With Kirksville bidding to level the score at 1-1, Italiano grabbed some big “air,” springing a couple of feet or higher off the artificial turf of Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II’s Bob Fairchild Field to just get her fingers on the ball, deflecting it off the upper half of the crossbar and high into the air where she was able to track and catch it. That tremendous save kept CHS on top and it remained there until the final whistle.
“The varsity bounced back well,” Chillicothe head coach Jimmy Chapman said of his first-ever head coaching victory. “We didn’t allow Kirksville too many opportunities and created a lot ourselves.”
Next for the soccer Lady Hornets will be their first road trip, to St. Joseph: Lafayette next Monday.
(BB) Chillicothe 3, Lawson 2
LAWSON — After the host Cardinals picked up an unearned run on a dropped fly ball in the bottom of the first inning, Chillicothe countered with three in the top of the second and, like the soccer Lady Hornets, preserved that the rest of the contest.
Lawson inched within 3-2 in the fifth, but relief hurler Griff Bonderer stranded the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position when he fanned the game’s last two batters to close out a 3-innings save.
His work emulated that of starter Gage Leamer (1-0), who wiggled out of a tough first-inning spot, then fanned the top third of the Lawson lineup in the second with the bases loaded to protect the 3-1 lead his teammates had just provided.
After the Cardinals left a runner at second in the third frame and one at third in the fourth, when the junior righthander – making his pitching debut – had the first two LHS batters in the fifth reach safely, first-year head coach Joshua Lisle called Bonderer to the hill from left field.
The righthanded reliever gave up a seeming hit to the first batter he faced when a fly ball fell in left field. However, Bonderer’s replacement in left, senior Landon Swift swiftly grabbed the ball and fired it to second to get a forceout on the runner trying to advance from first.
The next batter hit a ground ball for the second out while a second Lawson run scored, but Bonderer struck out the following hitter on a 3-2 pitch.
After a 1-2-3 sixth, Bonderer gave up a pair of walks to open the home seventh, but regained his form and got a popup to catcher Brock Ward and back-to-back whiffs to end it, the last coming after the two baserunners had successfully pulled a double-steal that put the potential winning run at second.
The Hornets were out-hit 5-4, but bunched three of their hits together with a couple of walks in the visitors’ second to do all of their scoring.
With one out, Max Wagers legged out a swinging bunt down the third-base line and Wyatt Brandsgaard drew a 5-pitches base on balls. That put Landon Winder, another sophomore like the two preceding batters, at the plate.
He took the first pitch for a strike, then sharply struck a bouncer which went right over second base and into center field as M. Wagers wheeled home without a play, tying the score at 1-1.
A walk to senior Tucker Wagers, the No. 9 man in the CHS lineup, loaded the bases for the top of the order and Bonderer.
A strikeout victim his first at-bat against LHS freshman lefthander Lane Chapman, the Hornets 10th grader also took strike one before ripping a sharp grounder through the thick grass infield and over the rain-softened dirt and into center field. The clean single sent Brandsgaard home easily and Winder, after momentarily hesitating round third, re-accelerated and scored standing up when the Lawson center fielder overran the ball in his haste.
Although T. Wagers took third and Bonderer hustled into second safely on the outfielder’s misplay, they were left there, but it ultimately didn’t matter.
The only other Hornets hit of the game came from Ward, who singled to left leading off the sixth inning. Through two games, the junior backstop and cleanup hitter is four for seven with three runs batted in.
Statistically Monday, Leamer allowed four hits and four walks in his 4-plus innings, but also struck out seven. Bonderer added another five strikeouts with only two walks in his three innings of 1-hit, scoreless ball.
“Gage battled all game long,” Lisle assessed.
While CHS’ hurlers were registering 12 whiffs, its batters were going down on strikes 10 times.
“We have to cut down on the 10 strikeouts,” Lisle challenged, “but Lawson’s starter deserves some credit. He was a freshman lefthander who really threw the ball well.”