Bella Andrews brought the big lumber to Blue Springs South High School Tuesday afternoon.
But her power show wasn’t enough for her Blue Springs softball team to get past the defending Class 4 state champion Jaguars.
Andrews hit a two-run homer in the first that cleared a grove of trees nearly 30 feet beyond the left-centerfield fence and followed that with a mammoth grand slam home run but the Jaguars rallied for a 9-7 Suburban Big Six victory.
The Wildcats third baseman added an RBI single to account for every Wildcat run.
“Bella hit the crapola out of the ball in her first at-bats, and you have to give her credit for a great game,” Jaguars coach Kristi Williams said after her team used a five-run sixth inning to earn the come-from-behind win.
“It just shows what our girls are made of. We had a freshman, Kierra Goos, on the mound and she is such a gritty competitor. Even though she gave up those two homers to Bella, she settled down and pitched a strong game and saw her teammates come up with enough runs to win the game against our big rival.
“It was just a great game for both teams, and I’m proud of our girls for finding a way to come back and get a big win.”
Andrews’ two-run homer came in the first inning, her grand slam in the second and her RBI single in the fourth.
“She’s a great hitter, and I kept challenging her,” Goos said. “My teammates did a great job coming back and winning the game. They played great defense and really got some big hits, especially in the sixth inning when we scored five runs.”
South scored two runs in the first on RBI singles by Tori Bradley and Bailey Brumley. The Jags added a run in the second inning on a pop-fly double by McKenna Lester, who finished with four hits, two runs scored and four RBIs.
“I just want to help our team win,” said Lester, a right fielder who missed most of last season with a torn ACL. “I’m so happy to be back, and to contribute in a big game like this is really special.”
Lester had her second RBI single in the fourth and that set the stage for the dramatic sixth inning.
Lauren Good walked to open the inning, and Lauren Rogers followed with a walk. Regi Hecker singled to load the bases for Lester, who delivered a two-run single.
Addie Lightner followed with a two-run double to put the Jaguars ahead 8-7. Brumley followed with her second RBI single.
“We have come up with some big hits the past couple of years, and we were able to do that tonight,” Lightner said. “We were all so proud of Kierra the way she battled out on the mound, and we wanted to beat Blue Springs and get her the win.”
Following the loss, Andrews walked toward the Blue Springs bus with two softballs in her hand.
“I think one of them is one of my homers and the other one is just a softball a little kid gave me,” Andrews said. “It’s disappointing to lose the game, but I thought we really played well and fought until the end of the game.
“We saw a lot of good things tonight and we hope we can get them when they come over to our place.”
Wildcats coach Jim Brandner said that Andrews has seven homers in seven games for his 5-2 squad.
“She has been on fire this season and she certainly did everything possible to help us win this game,” Brandner said. “We’ll come back from this. We just need to clean some things up and we’ll be fine.”
The loss was the first conference setback for the Wildcats while the Jaguars improved to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.