Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Softball Lady Hornets Pound Out 15th Win Monday
Volleyball girls fall in four to visiting Benton
The hits and runs – and, thus, the wins – keep coming for Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ softball Lady Hornets.
Monday (Sept. 20) at Lexington, the CHS diamond girls beat the Minutewomen and the rain, capturing a seventh victory in a row and 15th of the year, 14-1 in five innings.
That evening back in Chillicothe, the volleyball Lady Hornets held on – barely – to nip visiting St. Joseph: Benton in the first game of their non-conference match 25-23, but then regressed significantly in dropping the next two games 11-25 and 16-25. Regaining some of their early form and battling hard throughout the fourth game, they forced a couple of extra points, but lost them and the game 24-26 to surrender the match, 3-1.
Led by fourth-place individual Skyler Powers, the golf Lady Hornets finished sixth among eight teams in the Smith-Cotton Invitational tournament at Sedalia. Powers shot an 89.
Girls’ tennis play planned for Monday at St. Joseph: Bishop LeBlond was rained out.
The Lady Hornets’ lacing of Lexington was anticipated as Chillicothe continues to sizzle with the sticks, while maintaining strong pitching and defense.
The contest was a very good one for most of CHS’ four seniors, the unexpected exception being the team’s red-hot leading hitter.
Winning pitcher Halle Rucker threw four shutout innings of 1-hit ball, while supporting herself with a hit, two walks, two runs driven in, and two scored. Catcher Mika Hibner doubled among her three hits and knocked in a run. Infielder/outfielder Dawsyn Lightner came off the bench to stroke a double that started a 4-runs fourth inning and a walk to open the fifth, coming around to score both times.
Only Sophia Luetticke, who entered the contest with a .649 batting average for the season and seven hits in a row, didn’t put up big numbers. She went one for four, although the hit came leading off the game to give her eight hits in succession and a batting average over .650 at that moment.
The team’s “elder stateswomen” didn’t have all the fun.
Junior second baseman Bre Pithan had a perfect day at bat, going two for two with two runs scored. She drove in three with one swing of the bat, clearing the stuffed sacks with a double to left-center in the 4-runs CHS third.
Sophomore No. 9 batter Jolie Bonderer had her best varsity game as a hitter yet, finishing three for three with two runs batted in and one scored.
Additionally, classmate Hadley Beemer doubled and drove in two runs and sophomore backup Adra Stretch capitalized on her two plate appearances to rip a 2-runs triple and accept a walk.
With the overall 13-hits, 14-runs output, CHS’ softball sensations have plated at least nine runs in six of their last seven games and eight of the last 10. They have piled up double-digits hits totals in 10 of the past 12 contests.
“I felt like we started a little slow, but, the second time through the lineup, we started to get things going,” analyzed coach Rucker.
Weather and field conditions permitting, Chillicothe’s softball team is slated for two Midland Empire Conference games as the week goes on. The Lady Hornets are the loop’s only undefeated team (in MEC contests).
“Getting the win (Monday) is a good way to start the week with conference games at Maryville on Tuesday and (at home) with (St. Joseph:) Benton on Thursday,” observed coach Rucker.
“This is an important week on our schedule.”
The planned junior-varsity game at Lexington could not be played, due to lightning associated with an approaching thunderstorm.
After almost letting a late 5- or 6-points lead in game one get away, Chillicothe’s volleyball varsity had significant problems with their passing and receipt of serve the next two games to fall behind.
With their backs to the wall, they rallied at the start of the fourth game, seizing a 5-1 lead, but soon fell behind by several points.
This time, they managed to get back on even terms, thanks to sudden serving problems for Benton.
By the late stages, CHS had edged in front and had the serve and the lead at 23-22.
With the opportunity to force a decisive, abbreviated fifth game with a couple more good points, the Lady Hornets couldn’t get their next serve over the net, tying things again.
When Benton returned the favor, the Lady Hornets served for the game, but could not win the rally and the score leveled again at 24 apiece.
Benton didn’t let its second chance to close out not only the game, but the match, get away, serving an ace and then capturing the final rally to post the 4-games victory.
Statistically for Chillicothe (6-5), according to head coach Bob Long, juniors led the way for his team.
Anna Fisher had a team-high 11 “kills” (spikes), Jessica Reeter nine assists, Halle Hill seven assists, and Trista Tipton three service aces, he reported. Sophomore Delanie Kieffer was busiest in floor defense for the Lady Hornets, recording 16 “digs.”
Chillicothe did secure both the junior-varsity and “C” team matches from Benton.
Next for the CHS spikers is a Tuesday (Sept. 21) MEC match at Cameron.
Powers’ 18-holes round of 89 was tied for third-best in the small-schools division, but lost out for third on a tiebreaker to Carly Clarkson of Brookfield. Powers did take the tiebreaker over a Marshall player to claim fourth.
Team-wise, Chillicothe’s low-4 total of 435 was well behind fifth-place Brookfield’s 408. Jefferson City: Helias won the division title with a 375, 29 strokes better than runnerup Warrensburg.
The Lady Hornets’ team score was fashioned from its four best scores of the event. Those included, in addition to Powers’ 89, a pair of personal bests for tournament play, coach Darren Smith reports.
Senior Abbey Hayen fired a 108 and junior Izzie Montgomery a 112 to set new personal standards for 18-holes tourneys.
Completing CHS’ scoring quartet at Sedalia was senior Clara Leamer with a 126, Smith shared.
Next for the golf squad will be Chillicothe's annual home tournament Thursday (Sept. 23) at Green Hills Golf Course. The Midland Empire Conference Championship is slated for next Monday.