Addie Lightner’s two-run homer propelled Blue Springs South to its first state championship in a dramatic 2-0 victory, with Easton Seib on the mound, in 2018.
The senior star wrapped up her brilliant prep career with an exclamation point Saturday at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield, where Lightner tossed her second postseason shutout season to lead the Jaguars to a 10-0 five-inning mercy rule victory over Raymore-Peculiar in the Class 4 state title game.
Lightner’s Jaguars have gone to state the past four years. She appeared in three of those games - finishing second as a sophomore and winning state titles in 2018 and this year.
“She just willed this team to victory in the postseason,” South coach Kristi Williams said of Lightner. “Last year we had Easton and Abby (Sciara) as leaders, and this year Addie was our leader – along with the other seniors on our team.
“This year – winning it two years in a row and going the past four years – is like a dream come true for me and our players. It’s like I’ve (said) so many times this season, they’re battle-tested, they take it one pitch, one at-bat, one inning at a time and they are so confident. It’s been a dream season for all of us.”
As the team bus pulled into the South parking lot late Saturday afternoon, Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross, South parents and fans lined the sidewalks with signs, and balloons and cheered everyone as they stepped off the bus.
“This is so cool,” Lightner said as she was mobbed by fans and family members. “Today was so different from Friday when we won by one run (3-2).
“We got it going offensively today, scoring those early runs, and I just pitched with so much more confidence when I have a lead. You don’t have to be so perfect with a lead, and we were able to score 10 runs, which is pretty amazing in a championship game.”
Senior leadoff hitter Regi Hecker, who had three hits, stole three bases and scored three runs, got the offense going in the first inning with a single, stole second and scored on McKenna Lester’s RBI double.
“We knew we’d be in good shape if we got Addie an early lead, and we were able to get her a lot of runs,” Hecker said. “My job is to get on base and score runs and I was able to score three times.”
When asked about her team’s legacy, Hecker had a ready answer.
“It’s amazing, and I’m so proud to be a part of it,” Hecker said. “Addie was great today and like we’ve talked about, hitting is so contagious. We got so many runs today and Tori got the home run to end it.”
Catcher Tori Bradley put the finishing touches on the mercy-rule win with a three-run homer in the fifth inning.
“That was cool,” Bradley, who finished with two hits and five RBIs, said, grinning from ear to ear. “It wasn’t that dramatic since we had the seven-run lead, but it was cool to end it early. Addie was pitching so well. This is her team. She’s an amazing pitcher.
“You know she started the season playing shortstop and finished pitching us to the state championship. She’s amazing! This whole season has been amazing!”
Lightner had five strikeouts and limited Ray-Pec (26-6) to no walks and five hits – one an inning. The Jaguars, who finished 20-6, scored three runs in the first, one in the second, three in the fourth and three on Bradley’s homer in the fifth.
McKenna Lester, who also walked three times and scored three runs, and Lauren Rogers each doubled with an RBI and Bailey Brumley was 3-for-4 and scored two runs.