Michaela Tolliver’s heart beat so hard she thought it might burst right out of her Blue Springs South softball jersey early in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Raytown.

Michaela Tolliver’s heart beat so hard she thought it might burst right out of her Blue Springs South softball jersey early in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Raytown.

“I was nervous, and I was so scared,” Tolliver said. “But I knew I could pitch out of that bases-loaded jam because my teammates play such great defense.”

With the bases loaded and just one out in the top of the third inning of the Jaguars’ Greater Kansas City Suburban Invitational championship bracket quarterfinal at Adair Park, Tolliver went to work against the Blue Jays.

Two infield pop outs later, Tolliver was all smiles as Jaguars shortstop Kaitlin Schaberg told her, “We knew you were going to get out of that.”

It was easy for Tolliver to laugh as she dodged a bullet and went on to pitch a one-hit gem – her second in a row – that put the defending champion Jaguars in Friday’s 4 p.m. semifinal against Grain Valley.

“Michaela isn’t going to strike out a lot of hitters – she pitches to contact,” Jaguars coach Vickie Brummel said, “and that’s what she did in that inning. She threw strikes and let her defense back her up.

“That was a great job of pitching.”

For 21⁄2 innings, the game was a pitching battle between Tolliver and Raytown’s Lexie Worden.

But the Jaguars took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Madison Giles singled, went to third on Schaberg’s single and then stole home.

South then scored four runs in a sloppy fourth inning as Tolliver and Shannon Hughes singled and Brooke Parker reached on an error to load the bases.

Pinch runner Tatum Phillips scored on a wild pitch and Hughes followed right behind her when the ball was thrown away at the plate.

Giles then drove home a run with a line drive to right field, but was thrown out by the right fielder at first. Schaberg then tripled and scored on Lauren Chirnside’s double.
The Jaguars scored their final run in the sixth on a single by Parker and Giles’ RBI double.

“We’re playing like defending champions, and we all are excited that this win puts us one game closer to defending our title,” said Schaberg, who had a triple, a single and a run.

“We have so much faith in Michaela. She throws a lot of strikes and doesn’t take a lot of time between pitches, so the defense can be ready to back her up.”

This win was the second of the season for Tolliver as she is sharing duties on the mound with Megan Schwindler.

“I love pitching with Megan,” Tolliver said. “There is a lot of pressure when a team only has one pitcher, and Megan is a great pitcher. We’re having a lot of fun this season, and we really want to win the championship again this year.”