In a seesaw game that featured plenty of home runs, solid defensive play and timely hitting, Monday’s Suburban Big Six Conference matchup between Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit North came down to one mistake.
With the game tied at 6-all in the bottom of the eighth, Sydney McGee reached first base on a swinging bunt that landed in front of home plate, but she was so fast she beat out the throw for a single.
She displayed her speed once again after a ground ball from Halle Howes went to Blue Springs third baseman Bella Andrews. She fired a throw wide of first baseman Alex Arndt. McGee scored all the way from first base as she slid into home for the game-winner in a 7-6 victory over the visiting Wildcats.
“I am not really made to hit for power,” said McGee, who was 4-for-5 with a double and four runs scored. “If I can get it down and go, it usually works out for me.
“I figured (North coach John Gage) was going to send me (to home plate). If I get out, the game is still tied.”
There was no hesitation on Gage’s part to wave her home.
“I told the girls, ‘Wow!’ said Gage, whose team improved to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the Big Six. “I am glad we were on the right side of the wow. When I saw the ball get away from the first baseman, I am sending her. I don’t care. Luckily she got there in time.”
It wouldn’t have happened without the clutch hitting of Kinsey Fiedler and Hawes. The Broncos trailed early when Blue Springs got a home run from Savannah Maynard in the first inning. North responded with two runs in the bottom of the first as Fiedler hit a home run and McGee scored on Sydney Cure’s bases-loaded walk, making it 2-1.
The Wildcats (5-3, 0-2 Big Six) tied it in the second after Presley Ziegenbein hit a home run off Cierra Harrison. Blue Springs took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth following Maynard’s RBI single on a line drive to right field, which scored Lany Anderson from second.
However, in the bottom half of the frame, Hawes put the Broncos back in front 4-3 when she drilled a sharp line drive over the center-field fence off Blue Springs pitcher Abby Kinzler.
“I just had to do it for my team,” said Hawes, who hit her first home run this season. “I was just thinking line drive and it went over.”
Of course, Blue Springs wasn’t about to let that be the winning run. In the top of the seventh, Anderson hit a one-out single and pinch hitter Brooklyn Saysoff brought her home with a double to the right-center field gap. The Wildcats were down to their last out before Cejai Holland flipped a single over the head of North’s second baseman to bring home the go-ahead run. One batter later, catcher Maddie Kielty tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single to make it 6-4. On that same play, Andrews was caught in a rundown between second and third and was the final out.
“That was huge,” Gage said of the final out. “With the way they were hitting, they could have scored two or three more runs.”
Just when it seemed like Blue Springs had the momentum, North got it back in the bottom of the inning. Fiedler led off the inning with another home run, her second of the game and seventh of the year to cut the lead to 6-5. Hawes later tied it with an RBI single that scored McGee. The Broncos loaded the bases after that, but Kinzler got out of the jam with a strikeout and a pop fly.
The Wildcats got a runner to second base with one out, but couldn’t push one across. That set the stage for McGee’s heroics.
“The game wasn’t lost on that,” Blue Springs coach Jim Brandner said. “We gave up a home run on a pitch that was supposed to be a pitchout and missed. That was a two-run homer. Take those two off the board and we are not even in extra innings. We are doing a lot of things right, but we are just making little mistakes.”