Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Thursday, May 6, Roundup: Soccer Girls Post 10th Shutout at Savannah as Frosh Kieffer Scores Pair

Reeter breaks another record, as well. Tennis boys fall 6-3 at Maryville in regular-season finale

As reported to C-T

SAVANNAH, Mo. — Although it likely had no impact on their seeding for the upcoming district tournament they’ll host, the Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ soccer Lady Hornets at least made certain head coach Jimmy Chapman’s first season in that post will produce a winning overall record.

Facing a Savannah Lady Savages squad it nipped only 1-0 at home virtually a month earlier, Chillicothe (11-6, 4-2 conf.) posted its 10th shutout of the season – including a match it subsequently lost 1-0 in double overtime, a 4-0 decision.

“Great end to a great week!” proclaimed the coach, an assistant for the CHS girls’ and boys’ programs the previous several years.

Freshman Delanie Kieffer produced her fourth and fifth goals of the season to double the lead provided by top scorers Lucy Reeter and Juliann Gabrielson in the first 25 minutes or so of the Midland Empire Conference match.

Reeter, who broke yet another team record and moved to the threshold of equaling one more, had what proved to be the decisive goal when she opened the scoring in the 17th minute off an assist from senior Makayla Vance.

Vance’s third assist of the season led to her junior teammate’s 25th goal. Combined with her then-15 assists, Reeter’s 65 offensive points (two points for a goal, one for an assist) elevated her past Lindy Saunders’ previous record of 64 points (26g, 12a) in 2015.

That made two CHS records Reeter has claimed in the past three matches, including most goals in a match (six). If she scores one more goal this season, she’ll tie Saunders’ season standard of 26, and would claim it to herself, as well, with another pair in the last four or more matches.

Just less than 10 minutes after Reeter began the scoring, Gabrielson drove home her 12th of the season, aided by senior Julia Stimpson’s seventh “helper.”

In a huge development, Kieffer boosted the CHS lead to 3-0 in the final minute of the half, scoring off Reeter’s 16th assist. Although not exhaustively researched to date, that assist total is thought to be a Lady Hornets season record, as well.

Chillicothe’s 3-goals lead held until the final 10 minutes when Kieffer got her second tally of the day off a Hailee Williams assist, setting the final score. 

At the defensive end, junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano and the CHS backfield and midfielders were effectuating yet another whitewash. According to Chapman, team statisticians tracked the netminder was having to make eight saves.

“We had great intensity throughout the match,” praised Chapman.

“We fought tired legs and a physical Savannah team in the second half and were able to keep the clean sheet and not really let Savannah have too many shooting chances.”

Thursday’s victory on the Savannah pitch assured CHS of finishing with an above-.500 record, since only three regular-season matches remain this coming week. The first of those will be at Kirksville Monday.

TENNIS

Playing out the regular-season string before Saturday’s (May 8) non-team singles and doubles district tournament, Chillicothe HS’ tennis Hornets sustained a 6-3 loss at Maryville.

Most noteworthy from that match was head coach Bob Long’s first-time pairing of cousins Caleb and Chace Corbin for varsity doubles play.

They made the move pay off with an impressive 8-4 No. 1 position victory over Mitchell Meyers and Carson Kempf, a Spoofhounds combo which had taken second in doubles in the MEC Tournament the previous week.

According to Long, that set was tied 4-4 before the Corbins took charge.

Later in the day, junior Chace Corbin solidified his claim to being the league’s second-best individual (behind Savannah freshman Cole Horton) by besting the top ’Hound, Matt Goodridge, by the same 8-4 margin.

The Hornets picked up a third set triumph in No. 3 singles when Allen, in a back-and-forth battle with Kempf, stared down four set/match points in a best-of-12-points tiebreaker and closed out a 9-8 (6) victory by winning each of the last six points.

The racquet Hornets, minus anyone with experience as a varsity regular prior to this spring, wound up the regular season a very respectable 3-3 MEC mark. Overall, they went 4-11. 

Also in action Thursday (May 6) were CHS’ track-and-field teams, but no results from the Irish Relays hosted by St. Joseph: Lafayette were available yet at the time of this story’s initial posting.

BASEBALL

Except for a scant few runs, the 2021 Chillicothe High School baseball Hornets’ won-lost record could be noticeably different – both for the better or worse. As it is, entering the final couple of games of the regular season, it is 8-11, meaning a once-seemingly-ascending season could conclude by late next week with a second-straight losing mark.

Standing 6-2 after winning their second of three games in Marshall Invitational Tournament April 17, the Hornets have seen nine of the next 11 land in the “lost” column, including a second-straight walkoff – or, perhaps more accurately, runoff – loss Thursday at St. Joseph.

Having again used a middle-to-late-innings comeback to erase a road deficit, the Hornets came away empty-handed when host Benton snapped a 6-6 deadlock by having a runner score from third base on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Cardinals’ game-ending “rally” began with a leadoff single by its No. 9 batter and grew into a bases-loaded situation with a pair of hit batsmen sandwiching a second-out strikeout. With a 1-0 count on the next Benton batter, Chillicothe relief pitcher Gage Leamer (4-3), who had throwing two scoreless frames in relief of starter Landon Winder after the Hornets had erased a 6-1 deficit after four innings, had another pitch not only miss the strike zone, but also elude catcher Brock Ward. When it did, Kaden Gresham, whose hit had begun the inning, dashed down the line from third to send everyone home. That mirrored a loss at Maryville two days before when the winning run scored without the batter doing anything.

For a fourth time in their last seven contests during the current downturn, the Hornets had lost by a single run, including twice in extra innings.

While such close losses are frustrating and mean with only eight more well-timed runs over seven games, the CHS record to stand at 12-7, it bears noting that, during the Hornets’ unexpected fast getaway out of the 2021 gate, half of those six early wins were by a single marker. Among them was an extra-inning triumph in which they’d trailed by three runs in the seventh and which ended with a bases-full base on balls.

With seven 1-run games total, a near 50-50 split doesn’t suggest being either snakebitten or “living right,” but rather seeing the odds balance out. Whether, in the tough final two regular-season games at home – Monday against Midland Empire Conference third-place Savannah (4-1 conf.) and Tuesday against current co-leader (with St. Joseph: Lafayette) Kansas City: St. Pius X – and then in district tournament play the Hornets can balance their ledger remains undecided, but a daunting task.

Bringing Thursday’s game in south St. Joseph to a bottom half of the seventh inning after Benton scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to claim a 6-1 lead was a daunting challenge itself, but one the Hornets met.

In the top of the fifth, with the first two batters having struck out and CHS still hitless against Cardinals freshman starting pitcher Jackson Kanacsky, Mason Baxter forced a Cardinals infielder to handle the ball and reached safely on an error. Sophomore Griff Bonderer then rapped the Hornets’ first hit to left, moving Baxter to second. Ward then joined them aboard when hit by a 1-0 pitch.

Winder, already aware his time on the mound had ended, aided reliever Ga. Leamer’s situation by stroking a 2-runs single to center field. Although Ga. Leamer’s groundout ended the inning, the visitors were within 6-3 and had some momentum.

When Kanacsky’s stint on the bump also was halted by Quinton Redemer’s entry to start the top of the sixth, Chillicothe went right back to work.

Brock Miller ripped an 0-2 pitch for a leadoff double ahead of Gabe Hansen’s walk. Following a strikeout, No. 9 batter Tucker Wagers went the other way to right field for a single to score Miller and put the potential tying runs on base.

A 4-pitches walk to Baxter advanced the tying run into scoring position and, following another strikeout for the second out, Ward watched four of five pitches miss the zone, pushing Hansen home.

Given one more chance to preserve the lead, the Benton hurler could not, also giving Winder a bases-loaded free pass that plated Wagers and knotted the score at 6-6.

Cardinals relief pitcher Zayne Ulmer took over and got an inning-ending groundout to strand three men.

Coming to bat in the seventh still tied 6-6, Chillicothe looked set to take its first lead of the game when Miller, who had a perfect 2-for-2 day plus two walks, led off with a triple to right field, but he never budged.

Ulmer got a bouncer to the drawn-in first baseman for the first out and followed that up with back-to-back strikeouts, the first looking and the second swinging.

Benton then turned a mere leadoff single in the home half into the game-winner.

Statistically, Benton out-hit the Hornets 9-5 and CHS defensive difficulties continued with three errors to BHS’ one. Each team scored four earned runs.

Individually for the Hornets, in addition to Miller’s success, Winder drove in three runs with a hit and two walks.