Eight CHS players voted softball all-district

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Chillicothe softball Lady Hornets

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

As the 2021 Chillicothe High School softball Lady Hornets collectively chased a Class 3 state championship at Springfield this weekend, eight of them were doing so after being recognized by the Missouri Fastpitch Coaches Association as all-district players in the state’s talent-filled Class 3 District 8, CHS head coach Lee Rucker has announced.

Half of the eight teams which competed for the district team title Chillicothe won, propelling it toward its state semifinals and finals appearance yesterday and (depending on yesterday’s result) today, were ranked among Class 3’s 10 best teams through the regular season, according to the coaches’ association rankings.

The Lady Hornets selected to either first- or second-team slots on the all-District 8 squad include seniors Mika Hibner, Halle Rucker and Sophia Luetticke, juniors Hope Helton, Kinlei Boley, Bre Pithan and Kirsten Dunn, and sophomore Jolie Bonderer.

Five of the CHS players – Boley as pitcher, Helton as catcher, Luetticke as an outfielder, and Dunn and Pithan as infielders – were voted to the all-district first team by the coaches from the schools involved (Macon, Savannah, Kirksville, St. Joseph: Benton, Maryville, Cameron, Richmond, and Chillicothe) in the recent tourney CHS hosted.

Tabbed for second-team berths were infielders Rucker and Hibner and outfielder Bonderer.

All of the Lady Hornets voted to the teams have had outstanding seasons offensively and Boley has been similarly successful as the team’s top pitcher.

Luetticke has vaporized several former team records – a couple she had set last year, as have Helton and Boley. Luetticke entered this weekend’s state semifinals and finals batting .654, nearly .100 higher than the team record she set in 2020.

While not in record-setting territory, Pithan, Helton, Dunn, Boley and Hibner all toted batting averages .400 or higher – Hibner’s .400 was the only one of the five lower than .465 – through the team’s first 31 games.

Bonderer, who occupies the No. 9 spot in the team’s lineup, was at .371 and Rucker at .324, but with a .420 on-base rate.

The only member of the usual CHS batting lineup not tabbed all-district was sophomore Hadley Beemer, who was “only” batting .353 with a .436 on-base rate.

As a pitcher, Boley owned a 21-3 won-lost record, matching the team record for wins in a season. Her earned-run average was 0.56 across 125 innings.

Players were considered for their performances throughout the regular season, not just the district tournament.