Prior to the season, some Blue Springs South softball players said the team wouldn’t have as much power in the lineup as it had last season because of the graduation of all-state players Bailey Fowler and Madi Hecker.
So, they figured they would need to play a lot of small ball in 2017.
South designated player Addie Lightner has helped quash that assumption.
She was one hit from the cycle as she went 3-for-4 with a home run, five RBIs and three runs in South’s 17-6 mercy-rule victory over crosstown rival Blue Springs Tuesday at home.
South actually was in a 6-1 hole going into the bottom of the third inning.
After Aubrie Munoz’s RBI single. Lightner crushed an inside pitch for a three-run shot that went over the left-field fence to pull South within 6-5.
“(Blue Springs pitcher Reggie Kanagawa) kept coming inside, so I was expecting it and I got a hold of one,” Lightner said, a first-year varsity starter. “I have been seeing the ball really well.”
She then put the Jaguars ahead for good in the fourth inning. Following Haley Woolf’s game-tying RBI single, Lightner smacked a two-run single to make it 8-6. Abby Sciara then made it 10-6 with a two-run single.
Lightner came close to slugging her second homer of the day in the sixth when she drilled a pitch just 10 feet left of the left-field foul pole. The next time she made contact she doubled off the left-field wall, just a few feet shy of another homer. That set up a six-run inning for South. Kailee Odegard ended it early on the mercy rule when she ripped a towering two-run homer to left field.
“It was an inside pitch and I just turned on it,” Odegard said. “If it didn’t go over, I knew the team behind me would pull me in.”
Lightner is leading South’s newfound power, while Odegard and Woolf are also making contributions.
“We knew she had a lot of pop in her bat,” South coach Kristi Williams said of Lightner. “She played JV last year and showed that pop then. I think that might be her third (home run). She sees it really well and has no problem taking a big swing at something.
“Kailee has quite a bit of power too. And Haley has six or seven doubles, so we have some kids with a lot of extra-base power.”
Easton Seib picked up the win and tossed three shutout innings to end it after giving up six runs in the first three frames. Reggie Kanagawa, who was a last minute addition in the circle as freshman Bri Barchak was originally slated to start. Kanagawa took the loss as she gave up 10 runs on nine hits and struck out four as she continues to rehab following rib surgery earlier this year.
“It’s more than just knocking off rust, she has to fight her way back,” Blue Springs coach Jim Brandner said of Kanagawa. “She didn’t get to throw all summer and the first time she threw was in August. It’s going to be a process. We’re going to have to pitch her so she can be strong enough to throw at the end of the season.”
Woolf was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Sciara was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Munoz, Odegard, Regi Hecker and Savannah Everhart all had two hits each.
Kanagawa, Corona and Hallie Walls had two hits apiece to lead Blue Springs.