Baseball Hornets erase losing streak, rout Trenton
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Regardless of where the game wound up being played, the Chillicothe High School baseball Hornets figured to halt their 4-games losing streak when they met the shorthanded Trenton Bulldogs Monday.
Heavier rain at planned game site Trenton than in Chillicothe during the early-morning hours led to the game being played on the Hornets’ home “Chuck” Haney Field at “June” Shaffer Memorial Park Stadium, but with Trenton acting as host.
That meant Chillicothe batted first, a circumstance it seized to grab a 4-0 lead before THS batted, starting the Hornets on their way to a 14-3 10-runs-rule triumph in five innings.
The victory moved CHS’ record to 8-9 before traveling to Maryville the next day. Trenton, which arrived with only nine players in uniform, dropped to 2-10.
Chillicothe zipped into the lead when six consecutive batters reached safely – five on hits and three on doubles – with one out in the top of the first inning.
Griff Bonderer, who would exit with nearly all the other starters after 1-1/2 innings, got the first of his two singles to get the rally started. Brock Ward then began the scoring with a double that plated Bonderer from first.
An error put a second runner aboard for Gage Leamer, who pounded a long, 2-runs double to left. Brock Miller swatted the third 2-bagger of the inning to make it 4-0.
Following a scoreless top of the second, CHS head coach Joshua Lyle replaced all of his starters except freshman pitcher Brody Cairns and catcher Gabe Hansen.
Trenton then put its first two men aboard in the home half of the second, but a baserunning gaffe led to an odd 6-5-9-4 double play which erased the two baserunners and left only the batter at first.
The CHS backups then knocked Trenton starting pitcher Bobby Schreckengaust out with a 4-hits, 5-runs third.
Trent Keith led off with a double over the center fielder’s head and dashed home as senior Braden Constant plugged the gap in right-center for another double.
A walk and a wild pitch led to Grant Leamer’s booted grounder to third making it 6-0, Hornets.
After the first out of the inning was made, Ruger Cox pulled a run-scoring double down the left-field line, followed by Cairns’ high, twisting drive to right-center off new pitcher Brayden Wiggins going for a 2-runs triple and 9-0 CHS margin.
Trenton got on the scoreboard twice in the bottom of the third against Hornets reliever and winner Justin Pyle (1-0).
Gavin Cagle led off with the Bulldogs’ first hit, a line drive single to center, back-to-back walks were handed out with one out, and a wild pitch scored the lead runner and advanced the others. A Kael Brock fly ball to center then allowed Tucker Otto to tag and score.
Chillicothe quickly got those runs back and more in the top of the fourth, leading to another THS pitching change.
After two walks, Hansen lifted a high fly to relatively-deep center that was nearly caught, but ended up going for yet another Hornets double as both Keith and Constant came around to score.
Following a Gr. Leamer hit to right, a fly ball by Alijah Hibner dropped safely in right-center field, making it 12-2. A pitch striking Landon Swift tacked on another and a too-high throw to home plate trying for an inning-ending forceout pushed the lead to a dozen.
Trenton nicked CHS’ fourth pitcher of the game, Alijah Hibner, for a hit and run in the bottom of the fifth, but a strikeout ended the inning and, with CHS up by 11, the game.
Statistically, Chillicothe produced its 14 runs on 14 hits and four THS errors. Half of the Hornets’ hits were doubles and another was Cairns’ triple. Trenton had only two hits and the Hornets fielded flawlessly.
Individually, CHS had two players with multi-hits games. Joining Bonderer in stroking two singles was frosh Gr. Leamer. Cairns, Hansen, and Ga. Leamer drove in two runs apiece.
All four pitchers Chillicothe employed were freshmen.