By Mike Genet
The Tuesday afternoon winds were not a problem for Blue Springs softball’s Alexis Reid.
In addition to clubbing a home run into the teeth of them, the junior pitcher also created some breeze with Blue Spring South bats flailing at her fastball.
Reid fired a three-hit shutout with no walks and eight strikeouts in the circle and helped her own cause with a round-tripper in the Wildcats’ 3-0 Suburban Big Six win at their crosstown rivals.
Working with battery mate Darian Frost, Reid was able to effectively move her fastball around, from in on the hands to down and off the outside corner.
“My main focus was just to try to get ahead of most batters,” Reid said. “Since I’m a speed pitcher, I was just giving ’em the gas first and then hit my spots.
“When I got down in the count, I just resorted to pitching what I trusted to get ground balls and outs, because that’s what you want.”
Blue Springs, which improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Six, nearly staked Reid to a lead before she toed the rubber. With two on and two out, Darian Frost singled to left but the one-hop throw from South’s Sami Backus’ was in time to nail Brittani Reid at the plate.
The Wildcats did break through in the second against Jaguar starter Megan Schwindler, as Morgan McMahan laced a leadoff single after fouling off four two-strike pitches and advanced on Kaylie Gilgour’s bunt. Schwindler fanned Mariah Welch, but Alexis Koop’s fly to left field got knocked down by the wind and dropped for a shallow double to plate McMahan.
Tylin Stephens and Madison Sykes followed by drawing walks, and a wild pitch allowed Koop to score for a 2-0 edge.
Alexis Reid led off the third by driving a 1-0 pitch through the wind over the left-field fence, giving her all the run support she ultimately needed.
“I’ve been working on hitting inside [pitches], and that’s where it was,” Reid said. “I got the hands in, got lucky and it went out.”
Twice, South (6-4, 2-2 Big Six) got a runner to third but couldn’t plate her against Reid. In the second, Shannon Hughes reached on an infield nubber and moved up on two passed balls before Reid got a harmless grounder.
In the fourth Madi Giles blooped a one-out double and swiped third base, but Alexis Reid induced a pop foul and a grounder to second that Brittani Reid fielded cleanly on a short hop.
Four times a Jaguar batter tried to bunt for a hit, and only the last time was it successful. Reid also stranded that runner in the sixth.
“She pitched a great game,” South coach Kristi Williams said. “The problem is, we’ve relied on our offense.
“We were just trying to get anything started – just get a few runners and hopefully it would be contagious. We had a few hit hard where they didn’t have to move and inch.”
Schwindler didn’t allow another runner after Reid’s blast, yielding five hits and three walks against two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Erin Griesbauer finished with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, recording five strikeouts against just one walk.
Though three runs were enough Tuesday, Blue Springs coach Roger Lower said he wished the Wildcats would have continued to put together good at-bats and possibly build on their lead, impressing upon his girls that more runs means less stressful innings for Reid over the long haul.
“We just kind of get in the habit of scoring a couple runs and then relaxing and thinking Alexis is going to shut them down,” Lower said. “Defense looked good, and Lex pitched real well. I think we’re just better offensively than we’ve shown.”
Follow Mike Genet on Twitter: @genetEJC