Even amid the attention and pressure of a state tournament, Blue Springs South maintained a business-as-usual attitude.
Blue Springs South has hit the ball well all season, and Friday was no different, even if it was a semifinals game in the Missouri Class 4 state softball tournament.
The Jaguars took an early lead, relaxed and cranked out a 10-3 victory over Washington at the Killian Softball Complex on Friday.
Blue Springs South, 28-4, will next face Troy Buchanan on Saturday at 4 p.m. with a state championship on the line. It would be the Jaguars’ for state title in softball.
The Jaguars had never even won a district title before, which made Friday’s easy-going feeling all the more remarkable. They felt comfortable enough to crank out 12 hits and had a 5-3 lead after two innings. When they pushed across four runs in the seventh inning, the Jaguars had reached double digits four the 14th time this season.
“That’s just kind of been our thing going through the whole season,” Blue Springs South coach Kristy Williams said. “You never know who’s going to come up with the big hit, and we have nine girls in the lineup capable of doing it at any point in time.”
Blue Springs South had five batters with two hits, including catcher Haley Woolf, who had a triple an drove in three runs. Woolf admitted to some butterflies early, but said jumping ahead quickly helped calm the Jaguars down.
“We just try to put the ball in play and do whatever we need to do to get some runs,” Woolf said. “We were (nervous) in the beginning, but after that we just went out there and played like we know how to play.”
Williams doesn’t expect any different when the Jaguars go after a state crown on Saturday.
“We’ve been trying to stay loose all week and not look beyond the next thing in front of us,” Williams said. “We talk about being present in the moment, and that helps keep them relaxed.”
Titans finish third
Lee’s Summit West went from one extreme to another to place third in Class 4.
After getting no-hit by Troy Buchanan 1-0 in the semifinals, the Titans’ Jordan Weber threw a no-hitter in the third-place game to beat Washington 2-0.
Weber, a sophomore, struck out nine and walked two and only allowed Washington three baserunners. She wasn’t too shabby against Troy Buchanan either, striking out 12 while giving up only four hits.
It was just the Titans’ misfortune that Troy Buchanan’s Kiersten Nixon was more dominant in the semifinal. Nixon held LS West hitless and got an unearned run in the fifth inning to spoil Weber’s spectacular first outing.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to that pitcher,” LS West coach Eric Doane said of Troy Buchanan’s Nixon. “We didn’t exactly go cold, but we didn’t make the adjustments necessary where she was spotting her pitches.”
Nixon was perfect through four innings and ultimately allowed only two base runners, on an error and a hit batsman. Weber matched her inning for inning until Troy Buchanan’s Anna Sullivan hit an infield single and stole second. LS West tried to pick her off as she headed for third but the throw sailed past third base and Sullivan scored easily.
“We knew it was coming,” Doane said. “We knew they were going to fake bunt and steal, but the throw just got away.”
Tough break for Smithville
Smithville coach Steve Tingler thought the line drive Warrenton’s Kaylee Anderson hit down the third-base line was foul. So apparently did the third-base umpire. But the home-plate umpire called it fair.
Anderson got to stay on second with a double, and it started a two-run, three-hit first inning that Tingler said set the tone for the Warriors’ 4-0 loss in the Missouri Class 3 semifinals.
“That was kind of a big break,” Tingler said. “It was kind of a momentum builder for them. If it had gone the other way it would have been different I think, but that’s the way it is.”
Anderson made those two runs hold up in the circle as she held Smithville to three hits while striking out eight. Smithville did make contact, but the Warriors had three line drives snagged by Warrenton’s first baseman.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played behind,” Tingler said. “We were already a little nervous to start with, and then when we got behind we played a little tight.”
Smithville finished fourth after losing to Cape Girardeau Notre Dame 4-1 in the third-place game later on Friday.
Lathrop fourth in Class 2
Lathrop finished fourth in Class 2 with a 1-0 loss to Jefferson Festus in the third-place game. The Mules had lost to Centralia 4-2 in the semifinals game earlier on Friday when Centralia hit two home runs in the eighth inning.