The pupil got the best of his iconic teacher Thursday night at Adair Park where Dan Harper’s Truman High School softball team used a nine-run sixth inning to claim a 12-5 Suburban Big Six victory over Roger Lower’s Liberty North Eagles.
Harper, who was a C team coach for Lower back in the mid 1990s, called the former Blue Springs High School three-time state championship coach and longtime friend this past summer when he heard he was taking the coaching job at Liberty North.
“I love Roger, and learned so much from him,” Harper said after his Patriots improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in conference action. “We talked quite a while, and I jokingly told him I was going to kick his (rear end) when we played them.”
Lower, who was 458-116 with 11 conference and district titles in 20 years at Blue Springs, remembered the conversation following the game.
He shook Harper’s hand, grinned and said, “You got me.”
“That’s class,” Harper said. “I’m so happy he’s coaching again. Roger Lower is a coach; he needs to be coaching, and he’s going to do great things up at North. I’ll cheer for him every game, except when he plays us.”
Although the final score would not indicate it, the game was a nail-biter for five innings, as the Eagles (6-2, 3-1) held a 5-3 lead.
That’s when the Patriots exploded for nine runs in the sixth on eight hits.
Kara Amos had two doubles in the inning, scored twice and drove in two runs.
“We were down (going into the inning) and we just focused on the job at hand, and got it done,” said Amos, the starting pitcher, who gave way to winning pitcher Myel White in sixth inning. “Crazy things can happen in softball and that’s what happened in the sixth inning.”
Catcher Chloe Armstrong was 5-for-5 with two singles, an RBI and scored a run in the sixth.
“We were down, but we never gave up,” Armstrong said. “We were relaxed the whole game. Even when we were down, we knew we could come back and win.”
One of the biggest hits of the inning came from Melanie Johnson, whose bases-loaded single gave the Patriots a 7-5 lead.
“That inning was emotional, the adrenaline was rushing and everyone was ready to go up to the plate and contribute,” said Johnson, who had four hits in the game. “When I saw the bases loaded, I just wanted to hit the ball hard, and I was able to get the job done.”
White came on in the sixth with runners on second and third in a 5-3 game and struck out the No. 1 and 2 Eagles hitters to end the scoring threat.
“I was focused and ready to get the job done,” White said. “I knew we could come back. This is a big win for our team.”
Harper lavished praise on his team.
“We’ve had some games this season where we didn’t get the big hit, but we got it today,” Harper said. “Everyone girl on the field contributed to this win. I am so proud of them.”