Senior designated hitter Ben Menke blasted a grand slam and senior right fielder Nick Christensen added a two-run shot Thursday night as the surging Fulton Hornets humbled Hallsville 12-3.
Senior catcher Brandon Hammerstone also supplied a three-run double for Fulton (9-6), which amassed 14 hits in picking up its fifth straight victory.
"We've gotten some outstanding pitching performances, our bats have come alive and we're not making silly mistakes in the field," Hornets head coach Darren Masek said.
Fulton jumped on Hallsville at the outset, tallying four runs in the first. Junior Burke Echelmeier - playing second base at the time - singled with one out and senior third baseman Joel Matthews coaxed a walk. After freshman shortstop Dalton Horstmeier singled to load the bases, Menke cleared them with his slam.
The Hornets made it 5-0 with a run in the second. Hammerstone opened the inning with a single and moved up when senior first baseman Dalton Depping reached on an error on his sacrifice attempt. Both runners advanced on junior center fielder Jake Abbott's sacrifice and Hammerstone scored on Echelmeier's single.
The Indians cut into Fulton's lead when they came up with three runs in their half of the second, but the Hornets countered with four runs in the fifth. Horstmeier led off with a single and Menke was hit by a pitch.
Junior left fielder Jordan Reynolds then drew a walk to load the bases and Hammerstone followed with a three-run double to push Fulton's lead to 8-3. Hammerstone went to third on the play and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
The Hornets put the game away by adding three runs in the sixth. Matthews started the inning with a single and Christensen followed with his two-run homer to left, making it 11-3. Horstmeier was then hit by a pitch and Reynolds and Depping drew back-to-back walks to load the bases again.
Sophomore pinch-hitter Josh King came through with a single to bring in Horstmeier and cap off Fulton's scoring.
Horstmeier finished 3-for-4, while Hammerstone and Matthews were both 2-for-3. Echelmeier was also 2-for-5.
"We hit the ball extremely hard and got off to a very good start," Masek said. "We continue to hit the ball up and down the lineup, and throughout the game. We didn't let up."
Senior Austin Harrison started for the Hornets but was chased after allowing Hallsville's three runs in the second. Echelmeier inherited a two-out, bases-loaded situation, but he wriggled out of the jam when he got the Indians' No. 3 hitter on a called third strike.
Echelmeier threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings, struck out seven and issued just one walk to log the win.
"Burke came in in a tough spot, but he pitched his game and was very effective," Masek said. "I thought he had total command of his stuff and he looked sharp."
Fulton remains on the road for a North Central Missouri Conference matchup at rival Mexico at 5 p.m. today. The Hornets defeated the Bulldogs 7-3 on April 7 in Fulton.
Fulton girls' soccer (V).........7
KIRKSVILLE - Junior forward Lola Weiss, senior midfielder Kara Henry and sophomore midfielder Jenny McCarty responded with two goals apiece as the Lady Hornets breezed to the NCMC win Thursday night.
Fulton didn't appear to be fazed by a lengthy layoff, improving to 12-2 overall and 5-2 in the North Central Missouri Conference. The Lady Hornets, because of weather postponements, had not played since winning their division of the Lady Spartan Invitational in Moberly on April 16.
Fulton carried a 2-0 lead into halftime Thursday night, then took control with five goals in the second half. The Lady Hornets erupted for 26 shots on goal and had four corner kicks.
Kirksville - which was shut out at Fulton 6-0 on April 4 - finished with four shots on goal and four corner kicks Thursday night.
"I couldn't have asked for the girls to come out more on top of their game," Fulton head coach Kati Wallace said. "Our intensity level was where it needed to be. You're not sure if they've lost their focus (with that much time off), but they were focused.
"The girls' communication was good. On defense, they were getting people where they needed to be. Offensively, they were asking for the ball and they were controlling it in the middle of the field."
Weiss assisted on two goals, including one by sophomore stopper Anna Fink. Henry also had two assists, while McCarty and junior midfielder Jessica Klutts each had one.
Fulton (2-5-1) was shut out 3-0 in the junior varsity game.
The Lady Hornets travel to Hannibal for an NCMC contest at 5 p.m. Monday. The junior varsity game will be played first. The Lady Hornets blanked Hannibal 3-0 on April 7 in Fulton.
Hornets' King, Kelley make
Class 3 sectional golf meet
CLINTON - Fulton's Josh King and Jordan Kelley qualified for the Class 3, Sectional 3 golf championships during District 5 play Wednesday at Clinton Country Club.
King shot an 86 to tie for 15th place with Eldon's Matt Hart. Kelley finished with a 91 to end up in a three-way tie for 19th with Bolivar's Pat Gaither and School of the Osage's Michael Terlaga.
"Josh struggled early but finished strong; Jordan had a good first nine (holes) but struggled on the back nine," Hornets head coach Pat Kelley said. "It was close, but once (Jordan) found out that he qualified for sectionals, he felt some relief.
"I don't think either one was satisfied with their scores. They know they'll need to play better to qualify for the state tournament."
Glenn Ripsch also shot a 94 for Fulton, which finished seventh overall with a 373 total. JoeRyan Anderson provided a 102.
Fellow North Central Missouri Conference member Boonville captured the District 5 team title with a cumulative score of 331. Jefferson City Helias' Michael Huber and Bolivar's Haden Stevens shared medalist honors.
The Sectional 3 championships are scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, at Marshfield Country Club. The start time has not been determined.
Meanwhile, the Hornets will compete in the NCMC championships at Mexico at 9 a.m. Monday.
T-Birds secure District 3 golf
title, make Class 2 sectional
HANNIBAL - The North Callaway boys qualified as a team for the Class 2, Sectional 2 golf championships after winning the District 3 title Wednesday at Norwoods Golf Course.
The Thunderbirds compiled a 376 total to earn their first-ever district championship. North Callaway's threesome of Dillon Dowden, Kyle Latham and Gary Wathen - each shooting a 93 - shared fifth place in the individual standings.
Alan Westling added a 97 to tie for 11th with Palmyra's Hunter Baggett, while Kalyn Meyer shot a 118 to finish 27th.
Palmyra's Ryan Dehaan carded a 79 to claim individual medalist honors.
North Callaway will enjoy the luxury of playing on its home course, Tanglewood in Fulton, for the Sectional 2 championships on Wednesday, May 4. The start time has not been announced.
Wildcats golf team finishes
eighth at District 3 meet
BOONVILLE - The New Bloomfield boys accumulated a team score of 464 to take eighth place at the Class 1, District 3 golf championships Wednesday at Hail Ridge Golf Course.
The cutoff line to qualify for sectionals was 103, and the Wildcats' Dustin Gillespie and Cameron Baker both shot a 106.
Silex secured the District 3 team title with a 340. Silex's Thomas Smith was individual medalist with an 81.