There are many ways to measure Lee’s Summit’s dominance in Missouri Class 4 softball this season. But there’s one method that may be most telling of all.
In their last three games — from the quarterfinals through their 5-0 victory over Holt on Saturday in the Class 4 state final at the Killian Softball Complex — the Tigers outscored the opposition 25-0.
“It definitely says, with a very strong statement, that this team is talented and deserves this recognition at this level,” Lee’s Summit coach Tracy Bertoncin said.
As the defending champion, Lee’s Summit, 26-6, had already received its share of recognition. The title defense, the first in Class 4 since Lafayette (Wildwood) won back to back in 2000-01, just embellished its reputation.
After clubbing Liberty North 13-0 in the quarterfinals Oct. 18 and Jefferson City 7-0 in Friday’s semifinal, Lee’s Summit looked ready to do the same against Holt. Bailey Baird led off the Tigers’ first with a double, and one out later pitcher Emily Robinson clubbed a two-run bomb over the center-field fence for her fourth homer over her last three games.
But after Alexis Reed homered to lead off the second, Holt pulled its starting pitcher, Natalie Rothmeyer, for sophomore Sydney Hansen. Hansen kept the Indians in the game by retiring eight of the next 10 Tigers she faced.
“She had a different windup, so she was a bit deceptive.” Robinson said. “She pitched good.”
But not good enough to keep Lee’s Summit from scoring again. Baird singled for her second hit leading off the fifth and scored her second run on a groundout. A throwing error brought home another run.
“It worked for a couple of innings, but our kids are disciplined hitters and they love to hit,” Bertoncin said. They’re willing to make adjustments.”
Robinson pitched 11 scoreless innings in those previous two shutouts, and she added seven more in dominating a Holt lineup that had not been goose-egged all season. Holt’s only hit was a single in the sixth, and it never had a base runner reach third.
Then there was the Tigers’ defense. Lee’s Summit did have two harmless errors, but they had more plays like the one in the sixth by second baseman Mo Mosier, who lunged after a ball that left the glove of leaping first baseman Alexis Reed. Mosier flipped the ball back to her in time to make the out.
“How do you beat that kind of defense?” Bertoncin said. “We’ve talked over and over again, their score being zero is the most important score on the scoreboard. And we were able to do that the last three games.”
And claim another state title. With emphasis.
“I think that kind of puts an exclamation point on it,” Bertoncin said.