Former Wildcat's prediction for Jaguars comes true

Blue Springs South staves off rival Blue Springs with the help of Wilhelm's key home run, which winning pitcher Barchak foresaw

By Bill Althaus
Blue Springs South freshman Abbie Wilhelm slugs a three-run home run in the third inning of Monday's game at Blue Springs. Wilhelm and the Jaguars held off a late rally by the rival Wildcats for a 5-4 win.

A newbie and a former Wildcat pitcher played key roles in Blue Springs South’s Suburban Big Eight win at Blue Springs.

Freshman Abbie Wilhelm hit what proved to be a game-winning three-run homer and Bre Barchak, a senior who transferred from Blue Springs to Blue Springs South following a family move, survived a rocky seventh inning on the mound as the Jaguars claimed a 5-4 win on a sun-drenched Monday afternoon.

Barchak did more than win the game. She came up with a bold prediction that Wilhelm made come true.

“I was really mad after I made an out in the first inning,” Wilhelm said, “and Bre came over to me and told me to forget about it. She told me I was going to hit a home run my next time up, and I did. I guess she knew what she was talking about.”

When asked about the prediction, Barchak grinned.

“I just went over and told her to forget about the out, because she was going to hit a homer her next time up,” Barchak said. “I really felt like she was going to do it, I just wasn’t saying it to make her feel better. And it was so cool when she hit it.”

Blue Springs South pitcher Bre Barchak fires a pitch to a Blue Springs batter in Monday's game at Jim Coen Field. Barchak, who transferred to South from Blue Springs, shut down a rally by her former team in the seventh to help the Jaguars claim a 5-4 win.

The blast over the fence in deep left field in the third inning was a difference maker as it gave South an early 3-0 lead. Tori Bradley started the inning with the double and advanced to third on Bailey Brumley’s single.

Wilhelm then cleared the bases with the homer that landed near a group of fans sitting in lawn chairs in the left field parking area.

The Wildcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Makenna DeLany tripled and scored on a throwing error. Pitcher Brooklyn Saysoff then helped her own cause with an RBI single, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

The Jaguars added two big runs to make it 5-2 in the top of the fourth when Elle Smith walked and went to third on an infield error that allowed McKenna Lester to reach first. Smith scored on Bradley’s RBI groundout and Lester scored on a Brumley’s RBI single.

Blue Springs South's Elle Smith (7) beats the throw to third base in the Jaguars' 5-4 win over rival Blue Springs Monday.

Barchak had it on cruise control going into the seventh when the Wildcats made it interesting against their former teammate.

Cejai Holland reached on an error and Izzy Milligan doubled her to third. Saysoff drove home her second run of the game with a single and Abby Kinzler made it 5-4 with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Blue Springs' Abby Kinzler (14) hits a sacrifice fly to score Izzy Milligan, background, from third base in the seventh inning of Monday's game against Blue Springs South. The Wildcats scored two runs in the inning but fell short in a 5-4 loss.

“That’s when I went behind the mound and took a deep breath,” Barchak said, “because I didn’t want them to tie the game and go into extra innings. By doing that, I just clear my head and it helps me get focused.”

It worked as she struck out Kadence Shepherd, who had singled in her previous at-bat, to end the game.

“It’s the first time I’ve pitched against my old team, and it’s at my old high school, so I really wanted to win this game.” Barchak said. “I owe so much to my teammates today who made all the big plays and got the big hits, so we could win.”

The win gave the two-time defending state champions a 10-5 overall record and 4-1 conference mark while the Wildcats fell to 6-5 and 2-3.

“I’m proud of our girls,” Wildcats first-year head coach Anna Cole said. “I told them, ‘Don’t think about playing a state champion team, just go into it like it’s any other softball game.’ And they did that for the most part.

“We played well and made it exciting in the last inning.”

Blue Springs outfielder Matti Peters (0) holds her glove up to signify she made a diving catch in Monday's game against rival Blue Springs South at Jim Coen Field. The visiting Jaguars, though, claimed a 5-4 win.

Too much so for South coach Kristi Williams, who quipped, “We make it exciting, that’s for sure.

“Anna’s doing a great job at Blue Springs and Bre did a nice job, especially coming up with that big strikeout to end the game,” Williams added. “You know she’s thinking about a lot of things since she went to school here, and she did a great job today.”

Blue Springs South players on the bench cheer a Jaguar rally in Monday's game at Blue Springs. The Jaguars edged the Wildcats 5-4.