Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Baseball Hornets Drub Dragons 15-1 in Five, Stand 3-0 in Loop

Tennis Hornets’ recent surge squelched at Savannah

As reported to C-T
  • Baxter, Hibner homer; Bonderer strokes four hits at Cameron

Two Chillicothe (Mo.) HS spring sports teams which entered Wednesday on recent rolls had divergent developments as they competed in Midland Empire Conference road play.

At Cameron, the baseball Hornets racked up their third victory in a row – all in MEC action – as they walloped their hosts 15-1 in five innings behind a performance which featured a pair of Chillicothe 2-runs home runs, four hits by its leadoff man in the lineup, and combined 2-hits pitching.

At Savannah, however, the tennis Hornets’ hopes of three conference dual-match wins in as many afternoons were hammered by the host Savages, 9-0.

BASEBALL

The baseball Hornets decisively stayed undefeated in conference competition by dominating every phase of their game at Cameron Wednesday.

At the plate, according to statistics posted online by the team, senior winning pitcher Mason Baxter and freshman reserve Alijah Hibner swatted 2-runs home runs, sophomore leadoff man Griff Bonderer went four for five with five runs scored, and Baxter and reliever Gabe Hansen checked Cameron on two hits and no earned runs while combining for eight strikeouts and only two walks.

The Hornets (4-2 3-0 conf.) scored a first-inning run and then two in the second before throwing a hammerlock on their victory with a 7-runs third. Baxter ripped his roundtripper in a 3-runs fourth and Hibner “left the yard” with a man on for the last two runs in the fifth.

Landon Winder, one of five sophomores in Chillicothe’s starting lineup, delivered a 2-outs, RBI single to center field to plate Bonderer in the opening inning, giving the Hornets a lead they’d not surrender.

In the second, a pair of inning-opening errors set up a sacrifice fly by Gage Leamer and 2-outs, run-scoring double by junior catcher and cleanup hitter Brock Ward.

Then came the big third.

Again, Cameron’s defense faltered on the first two batters before sophomore Brock Miller’s hit loaded the bases for No. 9 batter Tucker Wagers. The versatile senior infielder-outfielder delivered a double to left-center field, making it 5-0 and sending the Hornets’ nest into a frenzy.

Bonderer’s second hit scored Miller and Baxter’s single brought home T. Wagers for a 7-0 gap. A run-scoring groundout by Ga. Leamer was followed by another Ward RBI hit, a single to left. After Ward stole second, first sacker Winder’s second RBI single of the game made it a 10-0 contest after 2-1/2 innings.

Following Cameron’s plating of its only run in the home third, Baxter quickly trumped that when he followed Bonderer’s third single with a blast over the fence in center field. After walks to Ga. Leamer and Winder, sophomore center fielder Max Wagers doubled into the gap in left-center for a 13-1 margin.

In the top of the fifth, after Bonderer’s fourth hit – a double to left with one out, frosh Hibner, who had taken over at shortstop for Ga. Leamer in the bottom of the fourth, got a 2-outs chance to swing the bat and connected for a shot which cleared the fence in left-center for a 2-runs blast.

Statistically, in addition to Bonderer’s 4-for-5, 5-runs, one RBI day, four other Chillicothe batters – Ward, Winder, M. Wagers, and Baxter – had 2-hits games as part of the guests’ 17-hits onslaught and a half-dozen Hornets had multiple runs batted in. Baxter led with three, while T. Wagers, Hibner, Ga. Leamer, Ward, and Winder picked up two apiece. Six of the 17 Hornets hits went for extra bases.

Chillicothe also benefited from the four Cameron miscues and a handful of free passes.

Cameron’s only hits were a Ty Campbell double off Baxter in the third, driving in the lone Dragons run, and a Dominic Hurst single off Hansen in the fifth.

With his three innings of work with six whiffs, righthander Baxter picked up his first win of 2021 after a couple of losses. He pounded the strike zone relentlessly, credited with 41 either swinging or called strikes or balls put in play out of 55 deliveries. According to the team stats sheet, 10 of the 13 batters he faced saw a first-pitch strike, generally forcing Cameron batters to hit on his terms.

By not only winning to carry a 3-games winning streak into this weekend’s 3-games Marshall Invitational Tournament, but also being able to get Baxter off the mound after only 55 pitches and three innings, Chillicothe was able to enter not only the Friday-Saturday Marshall event with almost-fully-fresh pitching, but also enhanced its pitching-availability outlook for next Monday’s and Tuesday’s slated quarterfinal and semifinal games in the Pony Express Tournament at St. Joseph.

At Marshall, CHS is to meet Salem in its first round-robin game Friday at about 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, they’ll have a late-morning contest with Clinton and a late-afternoon game with the host.

On Monday, they’ll start the tourney at St. Joe with a 6:30 p.m. game against Platte County at Phil Welch Stadium.

TENNIS

Making up a late-March rainout at Savannah, the Chillicothe net boys could not find anything approaching the success they’d had in defeating St. Joseph: Benton and Bishop LeBlond the preceding two afternoons.

Only one of the nine sets against the Savages saw the racquet Hornets able to win more than two games.

That lone instance was in the No. 3 singles position, at which CHS senior Carter Allen battled Matt Collier back and forth, according to Hornets coach Bob Long, before Collier claimed the set in a 7-4 tiebreaker. That capped the SHS shutout win which appears to mark Savannah as the team to beat in the MEC team title race this spring.

At No. 1 doubles, Allen and parter Caleb Corbin were whacked 8-2 by Andrew and Matt Collier. At No. 1 singles, SHS freshman Cole Horton dominated CHS’ Chace Corbin, previously 7-2 in No. 1 singles action this spring, 8-1.

Four of Savannah’s nine position victories came without loss of a game as Chillicothe’s 2021 records slipped to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

The CHS varsity team will participate in Kirksville’s annual “Tennis Under the Lights” tournament Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, the Hornets will take on the hosts before facing Trenton in a Friday evening dual there.

Then, on Monday, they’ll start a string of 4-consecutive home matches, hosting Cameron in league action.