Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Golfers Strong, But Not Strong Enough, in Own Tournament April 22

(Updated Saturday, April 24, 12:20 a.m., with details on all three Thursday events) Baseball Hornets salvage one win from tournament, soccer girls shut down, out

As reported to C-T

A Thursday which seemed to offer the possibility of being an all-around success instead became one of solid, steady play by Chillicothe (Mo.) HS spring sports squads, but rather unsatisfying.

CHS’ golf Hornets got the increasingly-customary fine, balanced play from its varsity members during their own Chillicothe Invitational Tournament, but that only gained them a fifth-place team finish and one individual medal-winner, Spencer Shira.

On the soccer pitch at Mid-Buchanan HS, south of St. Joseph at Willow Brook, the Lady Hornets blanked host Mid-Buchanan through 80 minutes of regulation-time play and into a second overtime period before the host Mid-Buchanan Lady Dragons avenged a 5-0 early-season loss to CHS with a 1-0 triumph not quite three minutes into the second 10-minutes overtime period.

Actually posting a triumph – in lopsided fashion – were the baseball Hornets, who had eight runs on the scoreboard before Kansas City: Northeast took its first swings en route to a 15-2 5-innings conquest in the seventh-place game of the Pony Express Tournament at St. Joseph.

GOLF

The golf Hornets had their typical, well-balanced performance from the entire lineup – four were in the low 90s or below and the fifth barely inched into triple digits, but enough other teams had either similar 1-through-4 balance or a couple or three players who played very well that Chillicothe’s low-4 team score of 356 left them only a close fifth out of 13 in the team standings. The Hornets were a mere five shots over 18 holes away from tying for second.

Repeat champ Kansas City: St. Pius X had two of the four best individual scores – a 72 and a 78 – to power it to a 14-strokes triumph in the team competition. The Warriors’ 337 out-distanced Maryville (351), Savannah (352), South Harrison (353), and CHS in the relatively-close action.

While, in many years, the title-winning score has been similar to SPX’s this year, it pales in comparison to the north KC school’s 2019 total. On that occasion, with the top three individuals shooting 75 or lower, it won with a 301.

Led by a big jump by senior Shira, Chillicothe improved its team score by 10 from the most-recent Chillicothe Invitational two years ago.

Shira placed ninth individually Thursday with an 83, 11 strokes better than his 2019 score. He shot a 42-41, coach Jim Wheeler reports.

Two senior classmates – Colby Gillespie and Dalton Ripley – also participated two years back, one joining Shira in making a significant improvement.

Gillespie virtually matched his 2019 score, carding a 47-43–90 this time after having a 91 as a sophomore. Ripley, on the other hand, slashed 15 strokes off his ’19 round with a 50-51–101, even though the improvement didn’t put him into the Hornets’ scoring foursome this year.

The other two scoring players were freshmen Jackson Trout and James Mathew, each of whom shot virtually his season average – Mathew with a 91 and Trout a 92.

In the individual competition, tiny Orrick’s Dylan Comstock marked himself as a player to watch in the upcoming Class 1 state tournament by firing a 1-under par 71 on Chillicothe’s generally-links-style Green Hills Golf Course. The son of early 2000s Tina-Avalon High School coach Mitch Comstock, he was a steady 35-36 on the day, allowing him to nip St. Pius X’s No. 1 player, JD Dintino, who posted a 72. In third, five shots back of Dintino, was Maryville’s Trevin Cunningham.

Shira’s 83, four shots below his 2021 average to date, actually equaled the eighth-best round, but he lost the eighth-place medal to Cole Taylor of South Harrison on a scorecard playoff.

Gillespie’s 90, five strokes above his average, placed him tied for 16th, with Mathew alone in 18th and Trout tied for 19th. Ripley was 38th individually.

The golf Hornets next are to compete in Monday's (April 26) Bishop LeBlond Invitational tournament at St. Joseph.

SOCCER

Not surprisingly showing significant improvement from the first week of the first-ever season of high school soccer, when they lost 5-0 in Chillicothe without having a shot on net, Mid-Buchanan’s Lady Dragons used an aggressive defensive approach to nullify the potent Chillicothe attack and, after more than 90 minutes, emerged 1-0 winners over the visiting Lady Hornets at the school at Willow Brook Thursday.

Off a right sideline throw-in deep in the CHS end of the pitch in the 93rd minute (second overtime) of the scoreless duel, Mid-Buchanan directed the ball into the Chillicothe penalty area well to the defensive left of the CHS goal. When the ball was played high into the air – possibly by a defender battling to clear the ball away – toward the middle of the field about 10 yards from the goal, MBHS freshman center forward Emily Parrott intercepted its descent with a jumping header. While Parrott’s play sent the ball looping back up into the air about 10-12 feet, an online video showed, it was toward the goal and the parabolic arc looped it over the head of CHS goalkeeper Allie Italiano, but descending under the crossbar and into the net for the game-winning goal.

“We had the old soccer stereotype of out-shooting, out-possessing them, but they led in the category that counts at the end of the day,” mused Chillicothe head coach Jimmy Chapman philosophically after his squad slipped to 8-5 on the season.

Although the hosts (9-3), who are No. 10 in the Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Class 1 “power rankings,” didn’t exhibit much more potency than in the first meeting, but were much more efficient in limiting Chillicothe’s scoring chances, the Lady Hornets coach noted.

“They beat us with physicality,” he observed. “We couldn’t use our athletic advantage like we did the first game against them.”

“We didn’t play badly, but we didn’t capitalize on our chances. They did really well at containing our forwards and their goalkeeper played a very good game.”

Chillicothe’s soccer girls are to return to action Monday at St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond (5-4), which is No. 6 in the soccer coaches’ rankings. CHS defeated Bishop LeBlond 4-2 at home on March 31.

BASEBALL

Even with a makeshift lineup that was minus six regular starters, an 8-runs top of the first inning put the baseball Hornets in total charge immediately.

A 2-runs single by Hornets leadoff man Griff Bonderer in his second at-bat of the opening half-inning, RBI singles by catcher Gabe Hansen and sophomore shortstop Trent Keith – making his first varsity start, and Landon Winder’s scoring-starting run-scoring single highlighted the enormous Chillicothe first. The Hornets also received four walks and benefitted from back-to-back Northeast errors.

CHS made it 10-0 in the third on Winder’s second RBI single and a bases-loaded walk to freshman cleanup batter Alijah Hibner, who walked three times on the day and had a single in his only official at-bat.

The Hornets (7-5) then positioned themselves well for a “runs-rule” abbreviated victory with another five runs in the fourth. After Northeast again made consecutive errors – it had eight on the evening, Ruger Cox drove in a run with a forceout grounder to third and, with two out, Keith and Winder also reached back to back on miscues before Hibner’s hit placed Winder from second for a 15-1 margin.

Statistically, winning pitcher Grant Leamer, another freshman, went the last three innings in his varsity mound debut. He allowed both runs on two hits and three walks, but struck out six.

Starter Hibner easily could have gotten the win by going another inning. He didn’t surrender any hits, walking one man and having another reach on CHS’ only error. He whiffed four.

At bat, the Hornets had only an 8-2 advantage with Winder the lone individual with more than one. He went two for three with a walk, two runs scored, and two knocked in. Also driving in a pair apiece were Hibner and Bonderer. Gage Leamer, the third starter (with Winder and Bonderer) staying in the lineup, joined Cox in scoring a team-most three runs.

Each team left five runners aboard.

Thursday’s Chillicothe diamond triumph followed its second error-littered loss in the tournament, 10-6, to Maryville the night before.

After single runs by Maryville in the bottom of the second and third innings Wednesday – the first one scoring on a 2-outs error, the Hornets cut the lead in half in the fourth, thanks to one of MHS’ errors. An inning-opening misplay and 2-outs walk to designated hitter Hansen allowed Tucker Wagers’ 2-outs single to center to pull CHS within 2-1.

Two Chillicothe errors in the bottom half produced a third Maryville run before the Spoofhounds blew the game open – with considerable help – in the bottom of the fifth.

Three of the first four Maryville batters reached on CHS miscues and the fourth had a single, doubling the Spoofhounds’ runs total to six. Before the inning ended, three bases on balls, another error, and only the second MHS hit of the frame led to three more tallies going on the board, leaving the Hornets trailing 10-1.

To their credit, rather than being depressed and despondent, they battled back to make things somewhat interesting.

Wyatt Brandsgaard led off the visitors’ sixth with a double to left-center field and scored on an error on a ball hit by Trent Keith, who had relieved starting and losing pitcher Ga. Leamer (4-1) in the fifth.

With one out, Wagers singled in another run, then scoring with two outs when sophomore Brock Miller ripped a 2-runs home run over the Bartlett Park Field fence in left-center.

An error sustained the inning, followed by a single to left by Brock Ward. Yet another MHS misplay on a ball hit by Winder made it a 10-6 game and Brandsgaard’s being hit by a pitch following that meant the potential tying run was at the plate. However, Maryville went to a relief pitcher for the second time in the inning and Connor Weiss got a strikeout to strand the bases full of Hornets.

Weiss then set Chillicothe down in order in the seventh, fanning the first two, to save it for Maryville.

Statistically, Miller was the game’s top hitter with a first-inning double to go with his roundtripper. T. Wagers went three for four – all singles – to raise his season’s average to .300 from the No. 9 hole in the lineup and matched Miller’s two RBI to give himself eight on the year, tied for third-most on the team.

Ward, the team’s top hitter thus far at .472 with team highs of 17 hits and 11 RBI, also enjoyed a 2-hits game and Brandsgaard had a double as CHS out-hit Maryville 9-8.

Chillicothe's next scheduled varsity baseball action is Tuesday at St. Joseph: Lafayette. That will be a Midland Empire Conference game. CHS currently stands 3-0 in the league.