There were smiles – and more than a few sighs of relief – as the Blue Springs softball team celebrated an eight-inning, 2-1 Suburban Big Six win over Lee's Summit Tuesday afternoon at Jim Coen Field.
Just 24 hours earlier, the Wildcats lost an 11-10, error-plagued contest to Liberty – their second loss of the season and first conference setback – and following that game coach Roger Lower was not a happy man.
“I was pretty upset after that loss,” Lower said after his team improved to 21-2 overall and 7-1 in league play. “When I walk through the hall, I usually got a few, 'Hey, Coach Lows,' but not today. I think they're upset with me.”
But everyone was smiling following a dramatic win in which Brittani Reid singled home the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Mariah Welch drove home the game winner in the bottom of the eighth.
“We needed this one after that loss Monday,” said Reid, the younger sister of winning pitcher Alexis Reid. “We were down to our last out in the seventh, and I didn't care who got the hit to tie the game, we just needed to tie it and get it in extra innings.”
That's when Welch came through with two outs in the eighth inning.
“No one was happy after we lost to Liberty on Monday, and we didn't start out very well today,” Welch said, as the Tigers scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning and made it stand until Reid's big hit in the seventh. “We had to find a way to win this game, and we did. This is a big win; as big of a win as we've had this season because we needed it so badly after that loss yesterday.”
Alexis Reid managed to keep her cool and go the distance after lasting just two innings in the loss to Liberty.
“Oh, that game was so bad,” said Reid, who struck out 10 and allowed no earned runs against the Tigers. “This was a big win, because we had to prove to ourselves that we're a better team than the one that played yesterday.
“We got the big hits at the end of the game when we needed them. It feels good to get a win like this.”
Lower was thrilled his team was able to rebound following its lone conference loss. With the win over the Tigers, the Wildcats secured at least a tie for the conference title. They can win the championship outright with a home victory over Raymore-Peculiar on Thursday.
“We want to win conference outright,” Lower said. “We still haven't played our best game. We made some mistakes tonight but were able to overcome them with those late hits.”