It was a standing-room-only crowd inside the Blue Springs South High School gymnasium as coach Kristi Williams’ two-time Class 4 state champion softball team was honored in an all-school assembly.
Principal Charlie Belt served as emcee while Blue Springs School District Superintendent Paul Kinder and district activities director Mark Bubalo watched from the sidelines.
One by one, the state champion Jaguars were announced to a thunderous ovation as they are just the fifth team in the big class history of the state to claim back-to-back titles.
“The last week has been really cool,” said junior catcher Tori Bradley, whose fifth-inning three-run homer provided a 10-0 mercy rule victory over Suburban Big Six Conference final four opponent Raymore-Peculiar in the title game.
“I’ve had teachers I don’t even know come up and congratulate me, and the same with kids in school. It’s been a fun week, and today is really special because everyone gets to share the championship with us.”
Senior Addie Lighter, who pitched and hit her way through a memorable season – including a 3-2 semifinal win over Columbia Rock Bridge in which she drove in the second and third runs in a dramatic three-run sixth inning – said the second title finally seems real.
“It’s all real because I’ve been able to realize all we’ve accomplished as a team,” Lightner said. “And the past week, teachers I never had have congratulated me, and kids I don’t know have congratulated me – and that’s so cool. And, of course, all my teachers and friends have told me how proud they are of all we’ve accomplished. It’s been a good week and today was really cool because we got to share everything with the school.”
Head coach Kristi Williams, who has led her Jaguars to two runner-up finishes and two titles over the past four years, also enjoyed the assembly as she was able to thank her players, coaches, fans and South administrators for their support.
“It’s kind of funny because last year we had to go around and tell people that we were state champions, and this year everyone seems to know, and that’s just awesome,” Williams said.
“This is a great school and we’ve had so much support this season and our girls are just amazing. I love everyone of them. They bought into everything we were doing. No one cared about their stats or who got credit for a win, they just wanted to go out and win – and they did!”