Cierra Harrison thrives on pressure.
Yet the Lee’s Summit North sophomore standout pitcher admitted following a 6-3 Suburban Big Six victory over host Blue Springs South Monday night that an early two-run cushion was a game-changer.
“She loves pressure,” North coach John Gage said with a grin after his Broncos improved to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in league play. “The tighter the game, the better she pitches.
“And every time we play a conference opponent she’s going to be on the mound and you know it’s going to be a close game.”
The Broncos gave Harrison a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI double by Kinsey Fiedler and RBI single by Halle Hower.
“That gave me some breathing room, which was great against a good hitting team like South,” said Harrison, who finished with nine strikeouts. “My defense played great and my offense kept getting big hits. It was a lot of fun to come over here and win a big game like this.”
South actually took a short-lived 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third when Lauren Rogers slugged a two-run homer – which bounced off the top of the center field fence – and Addie Lightner hit an RBI single.
But the Broncos tied it 3-3 in the fourth on Madison Sanders’ RBI double. They took a 4-3 lead in the sixth when Logan Turner scored on a wild pitch.
And they blew the game open with a two-run seventh inning as Sydney Cure doubled and scored on Kelbi Meisenheimer’s triple. Meisenheimer then scored on Maddie Burton’s RBI double.
“They got the big hits when they needed them, which is something we did early in the season but haven’t been doing lately,” South coach Kristi Williams said after her defending state champion Jaguars (10-4) dropped to 2-3 in league play and lost for the fourth time in its last five games.
“Our girls played hard – they always play hard,” Williams added. “We got a lot of hits (nine) – they were just spread out over the seven innings. We’re so used to getting the hits when we need them, and we’ll start going it again.
“I just want these girls to have success. We’re 10-4, but we haven’t had a lot of success lately and we’re going to find a way to start winning games again.”