In a conversation with her assistant coaches Friday, Lees Summit softball manager Tracy Bertoncin said she thought her shortstop, Bailey Baird, was close to breaking out for a big game.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
Well, they dont come much bigger than this.
Baird launched a pair of two-run home runs Saturday afternoon, lifting Lees Summit past Webb City, 7-1, in the Missouri Class 4 state championship game at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield.
It marks the first softball state title in school history for the Tigers, and Baird made some history of her own. Shes the only player to ever homer twice in a Missouri state softball championship.
Ive just been having a lot of really good at-bats lately, which has helped me see the ball (well), Baird said. You just hope you can put a good swing on it when it matters.
She got the scoring started early Saturday. As part of a three-hit afternoon, second baseman Mo Mosier led off the game with a single. Baird connected on the first pitch she saw one batter later, driving her first home run of the season over the left-field fence. Lees Summit added three more runs in the second inning before Baird hit her second two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Webb City pitcher Kaitlin Beason was tagged with all seven runs one day after throwing eight shutout innings in a 1-0 semifinal victory against Eureka.
I think they were expecting that same type of game, because weve had a lot of (low-scoring) games, too, Bertoncin said. When we were able to put two runs on the board in the first inning, it was tough for them to take. You could see it on their faces.
It had the opposite effect for Lees Summit starting pitcher Emily Robinson, who was able to relax while pitching with the lead.
Robinson allowed 10 hits and walked three over the complete-game effort, but she worked her way out of trouble throughout the game. Sydney Graham helped that cause when she threw out a runner at the plate, ending a third-inning threat.
Robinson was on the mound for 16 of the Tigers 24 wins this season.
I knew the games would be harder as we went along, but weve all wanted this so bad, Robinson said. I didnt want to let my team down.
Rachel Pate added three hits for Lees Summit, and Natalie Dummit and Brittany Kenall each collected two more.