Blue Springs South softball coach Kristi Williams realized the importance of a heart-to-heart talk with sophomore catcher Tori Bradley.
She was about to make one of her biggest plate appearances, in one of the marquee games of the season Wednesday afternoon at South.
Lee’s Summit West pitcher Jordan Weber had just intentionally walked Addie Lightner to get to the sophomore catcher, who had struck out on six pitches in her two previous at-bats.
“I just told Tori to take a deep breath, relax and have some fun,” Williams said.
Bradley responded with a game-tying RBI single.
Freshman Bailey Brumley followed with an RBI single and the Jaguars claimed a 2-1 victory with Easton Seib starring on the mound.
“Our girls were up and excited in the dugout the entire game,” Williams said. “When Easton got her single off the wall in left field, you could see the girls’ reaction. It was like, ‘We can get a hit.’ And we went out and had the big sixth inning.”
Seib’s hit was the only one Weber allowed through the first five innings. Weber, who has committed to pitching at Missouri, finished with 12 strikeouts.
The sixth-inning rally started with a double by leadoff hitter Regi Hecker.
“I saw that Regi Hecker had a ‘I am not going to be stopped’ look on her face and knew she was going to do something,” Williams said after the Jaguars improved to 10-1 overall and 1-1 in the Suburban Big Six.
Weber, though, struck out the next two batters. That put the spotlight on Bradley, who did not come close to touching the ball in her previous at-bats.
“It’s not the biggest or hardest hit I’ve gotten, but it was the most important,” said Bradley, who hit a line drive up the middle off Weber’s glove to tie it 1-1. “I didn’t want to let my team or our coaches down. I was so happy I got that hit.”
Bradley went to second on the throw home and then scored on Brumley’s two-out, game-winning single.
“How about the freshman and the sophomore coming through for us?” said Seib, a senior who improved to 10-1 with the win. “We don’t think of any of our girls as freshmen or sophomores or by class – we’re all just Jaguars.”
The comment brought big smiles to Bradley and Brumley.
“When Tori got the hit, I knew I had to get one, too,” Brumley said. “I’m just a freshman, so it was definitely my biggest hit. This is such a big game and we all wanted to win so much. I was so happy when I got that hit for Easton and everyone else on the team.”
Seib allowed a hit an inning and struck out just five – including two of the last three batters she faced – but when the ace needed a big out pitch, she delivered.
“It’s so much fun to pitch against West and Jordan,” Seib said. “She’s a great individual. When you play against her you better be ready because you know she is going to give it everything she has.
“I’m just so proud of our girls to come up with those two big runs in the sixth and to have played such great defense. This is one of those wins that you never will forget.”
Weber finished with a single, double, triple and the lone RBI for the Titans (7-2, 2-2), who opened the season with a title in the Greater Kansas City Invitational.