With three monumental swings of the bat, Blue Springs High School senior Bella Andrews accomplished what many prep softball players would be thrilled to enjoy in an entire season.
On a sun-drenched Blue Springs South High School field in 2019, the Wildcats third baseman hit a two-run homer, a grand slam and added an RBI single to account for all seven runs in a 9-7 loss to the Jaguars.
But when you ask Andrews about the one high school game that is seared into her mind, it is another contest against the crosstown rival Jaguars.
“The seven-RBI game was fun, but it happened during the middle of the season and I knew we had more games to play,” said Andrews, who has signed to play for the University of Missouri-Kansas City softball team.
The one I will always remember is our 5-4 loss to South in district play.
The Wildcats fought back from an early deficit to tie the Class 4 District 13 title game at 4-all. Andrews, who had two doubles and an RBI in the game, then lined a shot over the right-field wall that curved foul at the last moment.
“When I hit it, I knew it was out of the park, but I didn't know if it would be fair or foul,” Andrews said. “I still see that ball curving foul at the last minute. That was a tough loss to end your career on.”
Andrews finished her final high school season with nine home runs, nine doubles, 30 RBIs, a .412 batting average and a 1.424 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) while being named All-Suburban Big Six Conference, all-district and Examiner All-Area first team.
“I have so many great memories of playing softball at Blue Springs with all my friends on the team and our great coaches,” she said.
She was hoping to have one more chance to play with teammate Savannah Maynard and a few South seniors in the Mo-Kan All-Star Softball Series, but the games were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That would have been so cool to play one more game with Savannah and to be on the same team as all the great players from South, but it isn’t going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Andrews said. “What worries me more – a lot more – is this fall when I’m supposed to be attending classes and playing softball at UMKC.
“It was always my dream to play Division I softball and I don’t want the quarantine to keep me and all the other players from being able to play this fall. I feel so bad for all the (high school) seniors that lost out on spring sports and I don’t want to miss any games at UMKC.”
She also wants to play a game with a special fan in the stands.
“My older sister Gabby was a great player, and played at Texas Southern and Missouri State,” Andrews said, “and I’d love for her to be at my first game at UMKC, like I was at her games at Blue Springs.
“She was my inspiration and I want to let her know how much I always admired her and how I’d like her to be at as many of my games at UMKC as she could possibly attend.”