Chillicothe (Mo.) HS golfers finish unbeaten in 2021 duals
Soccer girls blank Cameron again Tuesday; baseball beaten in nine again
Repeat experiences were the rule for Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ boys’ golf, girls’ soccer, and baseball varsity squads Tuesday (May 4). For two of them, that was a happy occurrence.
The golf Hornets wrapped up their regular season a perfect 9-0 in dual-match play when they cruised past visiting Trenton175-209 in a mid-April rainout make-up.
The Lady Hornets booters defeated Cameron early by the 8-goals-lead rule for a second time in as many meetings, once more by an 8-0 count and again with under 10 minutes of scheduled time remaining.
Finally, the baseball Hornets had their second 9-innings contest in the last four games and fell short a second time, 7-6 at Maryville.
Although the golf Hornets did nothing except win in dual-match play this spring and scored relatively consistently as a team, some persistent, perturbing inconsistency also remained a constant to the end, even with three team members sharing match-medalist honors with good rounds.
Freshmen Nos. 3 and 4 players James Mathew and Jackson Trout joined senior No. 1 Hornet Colby Gillespie in carding 43s to lead the way.
For Trout, it matched his season-best, while Mathew missed equaling his by a single swing. For Gillespie, it was a salving showing one day after the bitter disappointment of missing out on a top-4 finish at the Midland Empire Conference Championship, due to a scorekeeping-related disqualification.
For Gillespie, it also was a second-straight strong round after having three off-kilter ones in his previous four outings.
However, fellow senior Spencer Shira continued in the hot-or-cold trend which has gripped him and Gillespie the latter half of the season. Dead even with his classmate in total number of strokes used this season prior to the conference tourney, he had a second-straight “cold” outing, following his 95 in the MEC tournament with a season-high 51 Tuesday.
Filling the team-scoring void left by Shira’s struggles, as he did the day before in the conference tourney when Gillespie’s score was negated, No. 5 senior Dalton Ripley rebounded from a poorer-than-usual 114 at conference with a career-best 46 on the Green Hills Golf Course layout.
Although not involved in the varsity team action, freshman Tyler Stephens offered hope for the future when he posted a 48 for the nine holes after having a career-best 95 for 18 in his most-recent prior outing at Savannah.
Rounding out the Chillicothe playing contingent of eight were the other two of 2021 team’s five seniors, Ethan Gabrielson and Keagan Valbracht. They shot matching 58s.
Trenton had only one player crack 50. No. 1 Gavin Roeder slipped under that barrier with a 49. Its other three scoring players had between a 50 and a 55.
For the Chillicothe links lads, all that remains is one or two rounds of postseason competition.
On Monday, assuming nothing prevents it, the Hornets’ usual five will go back to St. Joseph’s Fairview Golf Course, scene of last Monday’s MEC tournament, to compete for a trip to the Class 2 state tournament.
To make it to state, a player must finish district with one of the 18 best scores. If at their best, any of the five Hornets could come up with one of those state-qualifying rounds.
At Cameron, the soccer Lady Hornets (10-6) duplicated their dominance of the Lady Dragons from about two weeks before, needing only about a minute more this time to end the match prematurely.
Juniors Sophia Luetticke and Allison Ishmael joined record-setting classmate Lucy Reeter in leading the onslaught in the non-conference action.
Back Luetticke, moving forward to the goalmouth area for “set pieces” like corner kicks, notched her second and third goals of the season off those, the first after another back, Ellie Barnett, directed the ball to her and the second off a Reeter setup.
Forward Ishmael, her freshman season two years ago cut short by a knee injury, twice converted Reeter feeds into goals, leaving Ishmael with five on the season, third-most on the squad.
Reeter, in the follow-up to the previous day’s match which saw her break the program record for goals in a match with six, found the goal with one of her shots, giving her 24 on the year, only two shy of legendary Lindy Saunders’ twice-achieved single-season standard 26.
However, by earning four assists – she also set up Juliann Gabrielson’s 11th tally of the season, Reeter might have set a new match mark for helpers (an exact record for assists in a match is not currently available).
What is known, records-wise, is that, with her current combination of 24 goals and 15 assists, Reeter will enter Thursday’s Midland Empire Conference match at Savannah with 63 scoring points (goals are worth two points and assists one), one less than Saunders’ season record of 64. Barring injury or other mishap, the current CHS 11th grader figures to be a lock to break that.
Also joining in the goal-scoring fun at Cameron were next-level-bound midfielder Julia Stimpson, who got her third of the year, as well as her sixth assist, and freshman Avery Baxter, younger sister of 2019 CHS All-State back Sydney and CHS Hornets star forward Mason. For A. Baxter, it was her first varsity goal.
Joining Reeter, Ju. Stimpson and Barnett in providing a “helper” (assist) was senior Londin Edds, who aided A. Baxter on her match-ending goal.
At the opposite end of the pitch, junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano had only one shot come on frame. She saved it, giving her and the team’s defense their ninth shutout, including one match which went into double overtime before being lost 1-0.
“Really proud of the effort and level of intensity we had,” Chillicothe coach Jimmy Chapman commented.
“Cameron’s goalkeeper had an amazing night, making over 20 saves, including a few that were very high-level and allowed the game to last as long it did.”
At Maryville, CHS’ baseball Hornets (8-10, 3-2 conf.) made a fine comeback to twice put themselves within three outs of an uplifting victory, only to be unable to close it out.
After scoring twice in the fifth and then three times in the top of the sixth to reverse an early 3-0 deficit, Chillicothe found itself knotted at 5-5 after six.
A leadoff double by Brock Ward in the seventh and a run-scoring error on a ball put in play by Gage Leamer gave the Hornets a chance to slip away with the victory.
However, one out away from the win and with runners on second and third, lead runner Connor Drake scored on what CHS’ digital scorebook lists as a steal of home. A pitch or two too late, the batter was retired, but the game went on to extra innings.
The Hornets got a man into scoring position in both the eighth and ninth, but could not bring him in before Maryville won it quickly in the bottom of the ninth.
Connor Weiss drew a 5-pitches walk to start the MHS ninth and was on the run when a ground ball eluded a Hornets infielder for an error. As the ball trickled into the shallow part of the outfield, the speedy Weiss kept running and scored to end it.
CHS’ third loss of the season to Maryville nearly had been one of its most-satisfying triumphs.
After starting pitcher Mason Baxter was cuffed around for five hits and three runs – all earned – in the first two innings, he settled down to retire nine of 10 Spoofhounds he faced from the third through the fifth.
That bought time for the Chillicothe offense to come up with a solution for MHS starting hurler Trey Houchin.
Shut out through four, the lower part of the Hornets’ lineup ignited – in a manner of speaking – a turnaround in the fifth. With one out, designated hitter Gabe Hansen was hit by a pitch and No. 9 batter Tucker Wagers reached on an error to get the top of the lineup.
Senior Baxter worked the count full before sending both Hornets runners to the dugout, sending an opposite-field blast past the Maryville right fielder for a 2-runs triple, bringing the visitors within a run.
Chillicothe then pulled even and then moved in front in the sixth.
Landon Winder led off with a double, stayed put as Ga. Leamer was hit by a delivery, and then dashed home on Brock Miller’s tying single to center field. With Ga. Leamer having gone to third on the hit, Wyatt Brandsgaard’s fielder’s choice grounder that forced Miller at second tacked on a second run of the inning for a 4-3 Hornets advantage.
With Brandsgaard having taken second on a throwing error on MHS’ attempt at a double play on his bouncer, after Hansen was hit by a pitch, too, they pulled off a double-steal. After T. Wagers became the third player plunked by Houchin in the inning, a Baxter fly ball to right served as a sacrifice fly, making it a 5-3, CHS, going to the home sixth.
When Maryville got a leadoff single and walk, Chillicothe head coach Joshua Lyle, with Baxter at 77 pitches thrown, decided to make a change on the hill, summoning another righthander, Griff Bonderer.
He immediately loaded the bases with another free pass, but induced a forceout at the plate from the next man. That, however, brought the top of the MHS order to the plate and Kade Wilmes, who had doubled in the second, did so again, tying the game, but also resulting in a man being thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning.
A follow-up single to center saw Wilmes held at third and Bonderer capitalized on that decision by striking out the next man to strand two and keep the score tied, 5-5.
Chillicothe soon regained the lead as Brock Ward opened the seventh with a double, stole third, and scored when Ga. Leamer’s 1-out bouncer to the right side was misplayed.
Bonderer’s hope of preserving that 1-run lead and earning the win in relief was aided by left fielder Brandsgaard cutting down Weiss trying for a double to open the home seventh.
Unfortunately for Chillicothe, however, Drake coaxed a walk, Houchin singled him to third, and, with two out, Drake was credited with the steal of home to tie it again, 6-6.
Statistically in the contest, the Hornets were out-hit 11-6 with three ’Hounds having 2-hits games. Baxter was one for two plus two walks and drove in three runs.
Each side committed three errors, but the Hornets benefitted from a whopping half-dozen hit batsmen.
After coming on to get the last out of the Maryville eighth with a man at third, Ward (1-2) suffered the unearned loss on the ninth-inning walk-off miscue. Adam Patton, who threw four innings of 1-earned-run relief for the home side got the win.
The baseball Hornets, their chances of avoiding consecutive losing seasons dwindling, were due to follow the Maryville defeat with a Thursday non-conference game at St. Joseph against Benton.
Next week’s play is to start Monday with Savannah and then bring Kansas City: St. Pius X to Chillicothe, as well, on Tuesday. That will wrap up both the regular and conference seasons.
For this year’s 6-classifications postseason, CHS finds itself assigned to Class 4 District 15 with unfamiliar foes Oak Grove, Odessa, Excelsior Springs and Richmond. Odessa will be the host site for the tourney, which will start late next week.