They came to spoil the party, and spoil the party they did.
On Nixa’s senior night, Kickapoo ruined the fun. Chandler Jones’ ninth-inning RBI single broke a 3-3 tie and lifted the Chiefs to a 5-3 extra-innings win over Nixa on Tuesday night.
“It feels really good to beat them (at Nixa), especially on senior night,” said Jones, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and the game-winning hit.
Riley Herron went 2-for-5 with two doubles for Kickapoo. Ryan Murphy finished 2-for-4 for Nixa.
With one out in the ninth, Herron doubled and took third on a passed ball. After Tristan Stevens worked a walk, Jones turned around a 1-2 pitch and ripped it into right field, plating the go-ahead run.
“Once I got two strikes, I really calmed down and relaxed,” Jones said. “I knew that whatever he threw me, I was going to get it into the outfield—put it somewhere where I could get the guy home from third.”
The hit served as revenge for Jones, who had committed an error earlier that led to a run. With a runner at second base and one out in the third, Nixa’s Peyton Hannah hit a grounder to Kickapoo third baseman Jordan Dade. Dade’s throw to first was dropped by Jones, allowing Hannah to reach. He later came around to score.
“I was too busy thinking about the runner at third,” Jones said. “I closed my glove a little early, and it came out. That was on my mind the rest of the game.”
Kickapoo jumped in front of Nixa in the first inning—for a moment—when Jones hit a hot smash off the infield umpire that allowed Kyle Giefer to trot home from third. After some discussion, the umpires made Giefer return to third due to the ball being ruled dead once it struck the umpire. Kickapoo coach Jason Howser initially protested the call.
“They told me (it was a dead ball),” Howser said. “I didn’t want to stop the game and I didn’t want to protest, but both umpires said, ‘we’re with you. We want to get this right. We know the gravity of this game. You’re not going to offend us. Go ahead and look (at the rulebook).”
Both teams left the field briefly while the rulebook was consulted, which revealed the umpires got the call correct.
The brief delay became moot as, once play resumed, Kaleb Schmidt singled in Giefer, and the Chiefs took a 1-0 lead. They added a second run in the second when Preston Keisker’s double to center scored Giefer.
From there, Kickapoo struggled offensively against Nixa’s Luke Hauswirth. After surrendering five hits in the first two innings, Hauswirth didn’t allow another hit the rest of the night. In his five innings of work, he gave up just two runs and struck out eight.
Nixa countered in the third, tying the game on an RBI groundout by Hauswirth and RBI single by Jason Kinser. They took the lead in the fourth when a leadoff hit-batsman came home on Reece Chiasson’s line drive single to center. Chiasson’s hit was the last one allowed by Schmidt, who surrendered only one earned run and four hits in seven innings of work.
“The kid just competes,” Howser said. “He’s gritty. He’s not afraid to stand up there and make the adjustments between pitches to be successful.”
Kickapoo tied the game 3-3 in the sixth, manufacturing a run without a hit. Robbie Merced walked, went to second on a passed ball, to third on a sac bunt, and scored on another passed ball.
Kickapoo 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 7 2
Nixa 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Kickapoo: Herron 2 (2 2B), Jones 2, Giefer, Keisker (2B), Schmidt
Nixa: Murphy 2, Belcher, Chiasson