Record-tying attack, no-hitter orchestrate CHS diamond waltzes

Soccer split early-week MEC outings; golf, volleyball win again

As reported to C-T
Senior Mika Hibner of the 2021 Chillicothe High School softball Lady Hornets makes contact on one of her two opposite-field singles during Wednesday's 11-0 home victory over Tina-Avalon. A day earlier at St. Joseph, Hibner had one of three CHS home runs in a record-tying 22-3 blasting of St. Joseph: Lafayette.

The bats were bashing at a record pace for the Chillicothe High School softball Lady Hornets Tuesday (Sept. 3) as they racked up their fourth victory in a row and seventh of the season, 22-3 in five innings over the host St. Joseph: Lafayette Lady Irish.

The next afternoon, back at home, the top CHS pitchers combined on a 5-innings no-hitter in an 10-0, 5-innings triumph over tiny Tina-Avalon.

Tuesday also saw the golf and volleyball Lady Hornets post victories over nearby opponents, while the soccer Hornets responded to a tough home loss Monday with a dominant win on the home turf.

SOFTBALL

Equaling the team record of 21 hits in a 6-innings game set in a 2014 triumph over Marceline, the Lady Hornets brought the 10-runs-lead rule into play with a 10-runs, 7-hits top of the fifth inning that turned 12-3 control into a blowout at St. Joseph Tuesday.

“It was good to start the (Midland Empire Conference) season with a solid win,” CHS head coach Lee Rucker commented. “We are continuing to improve at the plate with our pitch selection and timing.”

Highlighting the record-matching offensive assault were the Lady Hornets’ first three home runs of the season – cleanup girl Mika Hibner’s 3-runs blast to center that capped a 6-runs second, leadoff hitter Sophia Luetticke’s 2-runs launch over the fence in right-center in the fourth, and Kirsten Dunn’s 2-runs clout in the fourth.

Dunn finished three for four with three runs batted in and two runs scored. No. 9 batter Jolie Bonderer drove in three teammates and scored three times while joining Hadley Beemer and Hope Helton in stroking two hits each. Youngster Isabelle FitzPatrick took advantage of the opportunity to get in the game by stroking a double, driving in a run, and scoring twice, once as a courtesy runner.

Pitching staff ace Kinlei Boley threw 2-1/3 hitless, scoreless innings to open the game with backup Halle Rucker (2-1) finishing the third and getting official credit for the win. Sophomore Hadley Beemer twirled the final two innings without allowing an earned run.

“It was a great team win with everyone contributing,” CHS head coach Lee Rucker remarked.

On Wednesday, at Daryl Danner Memorial Park, the anticipated romp over nearby Class 1 foe Tina-Avalon unfurled as expected.

Boley (6-1) again opened in the pitching circle, tuning up for the following day’s bigger, tougher game against visiting St. Joseph: Central with four more hitless, shutout frames. The 11th grader extended her run of consecutive innings without allowing any runs to exactly 31 with the stint.

Rucker threw the final inning, completing the shared “no-no.”

The only Lady Dragons baserunner against them was on a leadoff walk in the fourth inning.

At bat, leadoff girl Sophia Luetticke stayed hot, hiking her team-best batting average to .576 with a 3-for-3 day that included all doubles. Kirsten Dunn doubled twice and singled, while H. Rucker and Hope Helton drove in three runs apiece with two hits each. Hibner and Boley also had 2-hits days.

GIRLS’ GOLF

Prospering again in one of their limited opportunities to play on their home Green Hills Golf Course, CHS golf Lady Hornets rode another strong performance from a couple of seniors to a third dual-match triumph without a loss early in 2021 action Tuesday.

Returnee Abbey Hayen shot her best-ever competition round – a 48 – from the No. 2 spot in the lineup to earn match-medalist honors for the first time ever.

Playing the back nine at GHGC, her play led the Lady Hornets to a 204-263 victory over Tina-Avalon. It was CHS’ second win in a row over T-A, Chillicothe lowering its low-4 team score from the previous Thursday’s meeting by 13 strokes, while the small school foe’s score went up by 10.

Joining Hayen in registering a best-ever round was classmate Clara Leamer with a 50. It was only her second dual match ever and third-ever outing as she joined the program this year from the volleyball ranks.

Rounding out CHS’ scoring group were sophomore Anna Wallace and junior No. 1 player Skyler Powers, the top returnee from 2020, with scores of 53 each.

Playing only her second competitive round ever, Essie Hicks, another volleyball transplant, had a 67 that was discarded for the team scoring.

T-A received its best round from Emma Suchsland, whose score improved from 64 last week to 59 Tuesday. Top Lady Dragon Maggie Brockmeyer had a 61 this time after a 53 last week.

Completing the Tina-Avalon lineup were Paige Brown at 71, Reagin Haynes at 72, and Addie Crockett at 74.

While she had no team around her, Southwest Livingston’s Lyla Oesch also participated in the match, posting a 74.

Five Chillicothe golfers represented the team in the Central Invitational tournament at St. Joseph Thursday. The squad’s first slated action next week is a road triple-dual match against Cameron and St. Joseph’s Benton and Lafayette Tuesday.

VOLLEYBALL

Even with head coach Bob Long forced into quarantine through next week by a COVID-19 diagnosis, the volleyball Lady Hornets handily turned back another neighboring opponent Tuesday for their second victory in as many chances.

Visiting Brookfield, the Lady Hornets stormed to a tone-setting 25-7 victory in the opening game and went on to sweep the match with 25-19 and 25-10 verdicts in the succeeding games.

“The Lady Hornets dominated with their serves again,” fill-in head coach Amy Dixon, the normal chief assistant, reported. “Juniors Anna Fisher and Jessica Reeter and sophomore Kayanna Cranmer had seven, six and five aces, respectively.”

Reeter led the CHS spikers with nine assists and five digs, as well, stats reported by Long showed.

Sophomore Delanie Kieffer was the most effective attacker, driving home five kills.

After hosting tough Kansas City: St. Pius X in Midland Empire Conference action this past Thursday, the CHS volleyball girls will call on southern neighbor Carrollton Tuesday.

BOYS' SOCCER

Junior defensive midfielder Wyatt Brandsgaard of the 2021 Chillicothe High School soccer Hornets takes advantage of an offensive opportunity, unleashing this shot from about 20 yards to produced the third Hornets coach in their 6-0 home victory over St. Joseph: Lafayette Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Unable to hold for longer than a couple of minutes the second-half lead they took on a talented, pressuring Maryville Spoofhounds squad in a 3-1 defeat at home Monday, the Chillicothe High soccer Hornets found St. Joseph: Lafayette more maleable to mastery the next evening, winning 6-0.

Against Maryville, a rapid transition play initiated with a steal only yards from his own goal by senior inside back Nate King turned into the match’s first goal in the 49th minute Monday.

After King’s takeaway and long clearing kick, the Hornets worked the ball deep up the offensive right side, leading to a long shot from forward Sam Reeter toward the far (defensive right) part of the goal. The MHS goalkeeper hurried over to get his arms on it and knock it down, but could not control it. Johnny on the spot was senior forward Drake Cosgrove to direct it into the empty middle portion of the goal for his fifth goal of the season.

Unfortunately, within two minutes, Maryville crossed the ball into the goalmouth area from its right side and, on an ensuing shot attempt, James Distefano flashed just in front of Hornets netminder Jaxon Albertson to control the would-be shot and nudge it home from a few yards out, tying the match at 1-1.

Although Chillicothe continued to make some forays up the field, using something of a “dump-and-chase” method to try to beat the aggressive MHS backs who moved way upfield at every opportunity, it could not come up with another go-ahead goal.

Finally, about 10 minutes after Distefano tied it, the Hornets couldn’t get the ball cleared upfield after a MHS thrust when they had a chance. The clearing try intercepted about 30-40 yards from the CHS goal, the ball came to diminutive, talented, pesky Kason Teale, who unleashed a rising rocket into the top left corner of the Chillicothe net from about 25 yards.

Another 10 minutes or so elapsed before the quick-footed Teale got to a briefly-loose ball inside the CHS “18” and grounded it home from about 10-12 yards out, setting the final score.

“Maryville is a really talented team,” Chillicothe coach Tim Cunningham lauded, noting the ’Hounds peppered Albertson repeatedly, forcing him to make a dozen saves, many on quality chances.

“I thought our guys battled them in our defensive third (of the pitch) and created some good scoring opportunities in our attacking third,” the veteran coach continued. Chillicothe had two shots ring off goalposts – one in each half – that could have spelled a different result.

“We are improving in each match,” Cunningham asserted.

Statistically Monday, S. Reeter’s assist on Cosgrove’s goal was his seventh already.

Once the opponent switched from Maryville to Lafayette, Chillicothe regained its offensive and defensive prosperity, even with junior backup ’keeper Carson Steele stepping in between the pipes for the injured Albertson, who was knocked down twice and jostled a few other times by aggressive Maryville forwards the night before without any fouls ever being assessed on the ’Hounds.

The CHS defense limited Lafayette to only two shots on goal, both of which Steele handled successfully in his varsity goalkeeping debut, simultaneously make the debut a shutout.

“A tip of the hat to Carson,” Cunningham shared.

At the other end of Bob Fairchild Field, Cosgrove and fellow senior Chace Corbin resumed their hot early-season scoring paces.

Cosgrove rang up his second 3-goals (or more) “hat trick” of 2021 with tallies in the fourth, 26th, and 48 minutes, leaving him with eight goals only four matches in.

Attacking midfielder Corbin scored the last two goals within three minutes of each other early in the second half, bumping his season total up to six.

The other CHS goal belonged, in unassisted fashion, to junior defensive mid Wyatt Brandsgaard on a drive from about 20 yards on the left side in the 29th minute. It was his first of the year.

S. Reeter aided Corbin on the final goal, while Corbin earned his third “helper” of the year on Cosgrove’s third tally of the day.

Picking up their first-ever varsity assists on Cosgrove’s first two goals of the match were Gabe Hansen and Tyler Stephens, respectively.

“We were able to play several reserves extensively,” Cunningham said of the Hornets’ second of three home matches in four days, “helping them gain some valuable varsity experience.”

So dominant over the Fighting Irish was Chillicothe Tuesday that, by CHS statisticians’ count, the Hornets pelted the LHS goalkeeper with a stunning 40 shots on goal.

“An outstanding bounce-back match,” Cunningham praised his squad’s showing.

After hosting another strong MEC foe, St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond, on Thursday, the soccer Hornets are to welcome non-league opponent Knob Noster this coming Tuesday.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

ST. JOSEPH — In quite a rarity – it had not happened since 2006, St. Joseph: Lafayette’s tennis Lady Irish handed Chillicothe a defeat Tuesday, prevailing at home 5-4 by taking two of the three doubles sets and then fairly easily managing a split of the singles play. The absence of the Lady Hornets’ most-experienced lineup member and one of their top three 2021 players was a notable factor.

The teams swapped 8-3 victories in the top two doubles positions – CHS’ No. 2 tandem of Riley Washburn and Izzy Garr winning, but Lafayette’s Brooklyn Lorenz and Erinn Lotspeich capitalizing on Chillicothe senior Leah Lourenco’s absence to best Cami Carpenter and first-time doubles partner Bryton BeVelle.

When the St. Joseph team’s No. 3 duo bested Olivia Anderson and Audrey Snider 8-5, Chillicothe was in comeback mode for singles, not a favorable spot with the lineup diminished by Lourenco’s absence from the No. 3 position.

Carpenter edged Lorenz on a 7-4 tiebreaker to capture the No. 1 singles set and Washburn dominated her foe 8-1, but, with the only missing player, the elevated remainder of the CHS lineup struggled with only Garr prevailing, 8-3 at No. 5.

A Lafayette 8-3 win over Anderson at No. 3, an 8-2 decision over Snider at No. 4, and BeVelle’s 4-8 setback at No. 6 in her varsity singles debut meant a split of the singles and an LHS triumph that moved Chillicothe’s conference duals record to 1-2 and its overall mark to 2-2.

Chillicothe visited Lexington Thursday and was due to play in a tournament at St. Joseph Friday. Next on its plate will be a Monday trip to Kansas City for a rugged league assignment against St. Pius X.