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Chillicothe Softball Punches Ticket to State Semis With 11-0 Rout of Holden

Even before the Chillicothe Hornets softball team stepped onto the field on Wednesday night, the 2021 season had been a historic one, setting a program record for wins and breaking a slew of offensive school records. That run became even more historic as the Hornets secured their second-ever berth in the state final four with an 11-0 win at Holden.

The Hornets (29-4) ripped five home runs, including two from Kirsten Dunn, to avenge an 11-4 defeat against Holden (20-8) on August 28. The win also earns the Hornets a trip to Springfield to play for a berth in the state championship on October 29.

Chillicothe started things off right away as a double, single, and a walk loaded the bases for the Hornets with one out in the top of the first. Dunn then laid down a bunt towards third base, but the throw home was unable to retire Hope Helton coming down from third. Eagles starter Maddie Sechrest then hit Bre Pithan with a pitch, bringing in Kinlei Boley to give the Hornets to a 2-0 lead.

After two perfect innings from Boley, Chillicothe doubled the lead in the top of the third. With two outs, Dunn kicked off the home run derby with a deep fly ball over the left field wall. Pithan followed that up with an opposite-field shot over the fence in right-center, staking the Hornets to a 4-0 lead.

The Hornets were not done there, however. The bottom of the order ignited a rally when Hadley Beemer and Jolie Bonderer stroked back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the fourth inning. Sophie Luetticke followed with a line drive that snuck over the fence in left-center field to open up a 7-0 cushion for the Hornets.

With Boley, the Hornets ace, in the circle, the Eagles never mounted a serious scoring threat. Boley struck out four of the first seven before issuing a one-out walk in the third inning. Boley then retired the next seven batters before allowing a single to Abby Sisk with two outs in the fifth, which turned out to be the only hit of the night for Holden.

In in the meantime, the Hornet offense made the task even easier for Boley with a continued onslaught. Sisk took over for Sechrest following Luetticke's homer, but she cold not hold down the Hornet bats. Though she tossed three scoreless innings in the first meeting between the two squads, Sisk allowed a fifth inning solo homer to Dunn.

Dunn's homer was her second of the night, matching her combined total from the first 32 games of the campaign. One inning later, Helton put a bow on the night with a three-run blast, extending her own single-season school record of 46 RBI.

The home run made it 11-0, which allowed the Hornets to wrap up the contest an inning early due to mercy rule. Boley retired all three batters in the sixth, wrapping her 25th win, 12th complete game and and eighth shutout of the season. Sisk's fifth-inning single was all that separated Boley from her third no-hitter of the campaign.

The final out was a line drive to center off the bat of Kimmie Spring, which was snagged by Luetticke, sending the Hornets to state final four for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2011.

Boley (25-3) allowed one hit and one walk with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings, going the distance in a 69-pitch masterpiece. She extended her own school record for wins in a season.

Dunn led the offense with a 3-for-4 effort, crushing the two homers and driving in three runs. Luetticke and Helton each had two hits, a home run, and three RBI. Bonderer chipped in three hits and Pithan homered and drove in two runs.

The Hornets will now wait until the Class 3 State Tournament, which will take place on October 29-30 at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield. The Hornets will matchup against Perryville, who improved to 16-13 with a quarterfinal win over St. Charles West. Sullivan (26-9) and Blair Oaks (30-4) round out the quartet of teams heading to Springfield.

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