One mistake can make the difference between living to play another day and packing your gear and heading home.
One mistake led to the biggest win of the season for the Blue Springs High School softball team and ended the season for a gritty and determined Lee's Summit North Broncos.
“I was talking with John (Gage, the Lee's Summit North coach) and he told me he wasn't going to let Alexis (Reid) beat him. Well, his pitcher made one mistake or we might be talking about a 1-0 loss.”
In the Class 4 District 14 semifinals at Blue Springs South Thursday afternoon, Reid threw a complete-game four hitter and belted a two-run homer to lead the 22-2 Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over the Broncos.
“Roger's right,” Gage said after his 12-17 team lost its 10th one-run game of the season. “I told our starting pitcher (Sarah Lewis) not to give Reid anything she could hit. We walked her the first time with a runner on base, and we wanted to walk Reid her second time up.
“But Sarah got the ball a little too close to the plate. And you saw what happened. It was her only mistake of the game.”
Following a Madison Sykes walk in the bottom of the third inning, Lewis threw a fastball that was high and away.
“It was a mistake pitch,” said Reid, who was hitting cleanup for the Wildcats. “I know she didn't want to get it that close to the plate.”
Reid deposited the ball over the right center-field fence to drive in Blue Springs' lone runs.
“We were so impatient at the plate,” said Lower, who had a lengthy meeting with his team following the win. “I've seen John's kids play a lot the past few weeks, and they play great defense and get the timely hitting.
“They beat us 1-0 today if they don't make that mistake pitch to Alexis.”
The Broncos grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Taylor Urzendowski was bit by a pitch and sacrificed to second. With two outs, Bray Dempsey lined a fastball up the middle for an RBI single.
“As well as each team had been playing, we knew runs were going to be a premium,” Lower said. “Give them credit, North played a heck of a game.”
The Broncos didn't go down without a fight as Erica Serrone struck out in the bottom of the seventh, but reached base when Darrian Frost's throw to first sailed over the head of Morgan McMahan.
She went to second on a groundout and appeared she might score the tying run when Lewis drove the ball to right field.
But Mariah Welch ran it down for the final out.
“It was definitely one of those 'Oh my gosh,' moments,” Welch said. “I didn't know if it was over my head or not. I just ran as hard as I could and stuck my glove up and it landed in my glove.”
Reid experienced the same type of moment on the mound.
“I thought, 'Oh my gosh,' I hope Mariah gets to it,” said Reid, who had four strikeouts. “I rely so much on my defense. That was the biggest defensive play of the game. After she caught it, I felt like I could breathe again.”
Blue Springs advances to today’s 4 p.m. championship game against Lee’s Summit (19-6), a 6-0 winner over Lee’s Summit West in the other semifinal.