Here are the 10 high school softball players to watch in Eastern Jackson County in 2021

Karl Zinke
The Examiner

The Blue Springs South softball team had its run of four straight state final four appearances and back-to-back state titles interrupted last season. 

Lee’s Summit North upended the Jaguars in the Class 5 District 7 championship game on the way to a state runner-up finish. 

The Broncos still have all-state pitcher Cierra Harrison after she shared Examiner Softball Player of the Year honors with Kinsey Fiedler, who was one of the nation’s top recruits and now plays at the University of Washington. 

The Broncos, though, not only lost Fiedler, they also lost all-state second-teamer Halle Howes and all-region players Sydney Cure and Maddie Burton to graduation. 

Blue Springs South lost all-state players in Tori Bradley and McKenna Lester but bring back a lot of weapons, including all-state outfielder Elle Smith. 

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Grain Valley, which has already beaten Lee’s Summit North, should make some noise this season as well with several top players returning. 

Those three teams will likely battle it out for softball supremacy in Eastern Jackson County – and possibly the state. 

They are well represented on The Examiner’s 10 Softball Players to Watch (in alphabetical order) for the 2021 season: 

Emily Berry, IF, Blue Springs South 

The junior middle infielder and utility player came into her own as a sophomore last year and appears to be on the brink of a breakout season this year. 

She hit .351 last year and showed big power numbers with 11 doubles, seven home runs and a .766 slugging percentage. That has drawn recruiting interest though she has not yet committed. 

“Big bat, true utility. Wouldn’t be surprised if she plays 2-3 positions for us this fall,” Jaguars coach Kristi Williams said. 

Erynn Boatright, IF, Truman 

The junior earned all-region and first-team Examiner All-Area honors as a sophomore and should be one of the leaders for the Patriots, who shared a Suburban Middle Six Conference title with Grain Valley last season. 

Truman shortstop Erynn Boatright makes a diving stop on a shot up the middle in a game at Grain Valley last season.

She played mostly shortstop last season but may see time in the outfield this year after hitting .443 with 13 extra-base hits (10 doubles), 24 RBIs, 25 runs, eight steals and just five strikeouts in 108 plate appearances. 

Bailey Brumley, P/IF, Blue Springs South 

An all-district and All-Suburban Big Eight selection last year, Brumley will be looked to as one of the Jaguars leaders this season. 

Brumley hit .375 with three home runs and 21 RBIs last season and played a nearly flawless first base (only one error all season), while going 5-1 in the circle. 

Brumley, who has not committed to a college yet, will see action at both spots again. 

“Bailey is such an asset to any team she is a part of,” Jaguars coach Kristi Williams said. “She is our personality – great kid and awesome player.” 

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Alysa Garlock, IF, Fort Osage 

The senior is a versatile weapon for Fort Osage, able to play catcher or anywhere on the field.

Garlock spent much of her time last season at second base and shortstop while hitting .393 with 14 extra-base hits, a team-high 31 RBIs, a 1.036 OPS and just five strikeouts in 89 at-bats. 

Cierra Harrison, P, Lee’s Summit North 

The two-time all-state pitcher is one of the state’s top recruits this season after a monster year as a junior that culminated in a Class 5 state runner-up finish. 

Lee's Summit North pitcher Cierra Harrison throws in a district championship win over Blue Springs South last season. The two-time all-state selection returns to lead the Broncos in her senior season.

She was 23-3 with a 1.30 earned run average, a school-record 272 strikeouts, just 32 walks, five shutouts and three no-hitters, including two perfect games. She also hit .438 with a 1.250 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in limited time at the plate. 

She should be a force again for the Broncos this season. 

Hailey Hemme, P, Grain Valley 

After earning second-team all-state honors as a sophomore last season while helping lead her 25-5 team to a district title and a Class 4 state quarterfinal berth, Hemme and the Eagles could be poised for a big season. 

Hemme was 12-2 with two saves, a 1.19 ERA, 141 strikeouts, just 35 walks and multiple no-hitters while sharing time in the circle with Avery Huffman. 

That duo is back and has already helped the Eagles to a 5-1 start, including a win over Lee’s Summit North, last year’s Class 5 state runner-up. 

Avery Huffman, P/IF, Grain Valley 

The senior earned all-region honors as a junior while helping lead the Eagles to a 25-5 record and a state quarterfinal berth. 

Grain Valley's Avery Huffman was a force at the plate and in the circle for the Eagles last season.

She was a danger both at the plate and in the circle. She was 10-3 with a 1.72 ERA, 123 strikeouts and just 39 walks as a pitcher. She also hit .330 with 15 extra-base hits (including seven triples), 21 RBIs and 28 runs. 

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Brooklyn Saysoff, IF, Blue Springs 

The junior was an all-region and All-Suburban Big Eight pick as a sophomore and should lead the Wildcats this season. 

She hit .436 with 22 RBIs last season while splitting time between first base, third base and pitcher. 

BryLeigh Sims, IF, Grain Valley 

The senior third baseman earned second-team all-state honors last season while helping power Grain Valley’s offense into the state quarterfinals.

She hit .440 with big power numbers (six home runs, 11 doubles, two triples, .770 slugging percentage) and a school single-season record of 42 RBIs last season. 

With a talented cast around her, those numbers could climb. 

Elle Smith, OF, Blue Springs South 

The diminutive and speedy senior center fielder made a splash last year in her return from an injury that kept her sidelined for most of her sophomore season. 

The Indiana University commit, a true slap hitter, batted .420 with five triples, 38 runs, 30 stolen bases and a .500 on-base percentage from her leadoff spot and earned first-team all-state honors from the Missouri Fast Pitch Coaches Association. 

Blue Springs South leadoff hitter Elle Smith flashes signs to the dugout after hitting a triple in a district game last season. The all-state outfielder returns for her senior season before heading to Indiana University.

“Elle is an athlete that can do things that you haven’t ever seen done before,” Jaguars coach Kristi Williams said. “She is able to do those things due to her commitment to keeping herself in the best shape possible. She is constantly working on her craft; whether it be running bases, running down balls in the outfield, or just getting stronger. Elle has such high expectations and goals for her herself that she just keeps pushing herself toward attaining those goals. She knows she will only get there through hard work, so she puts in the work. She expects those around her to put in the work as well, which is what makes her such a great leader on and off the field as well. 

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“Elle is a player to watch because is a player who is so much fun to watch. You can tell she loves the game and loves competing. She does everything with a smile on her face, and she just loves our sport. It shows in everything she does, and she does it all at such a high level.” 

Here are some others in Eastern Jackson County to keep an eye on this season: 

Karli Allin, jr., SS, St. Michael the Archangel 

Lindsay Barker, sr., P/OF, Fort Osage 

Kiara Boldridge, jr., IF, William Chrisman 

Cameryn Bown, jr., OF, Grain Valley 

Bri Craig, fresh., 3B/OF, Oak Grove 

Makenna DeLany, jr., OF, Blue Springs 

Isabelle Dufva, soph., OF, William Chrisman 

Maddy Duvall, soph., P/IF, Blue Springs South 

Madison Hoffman, soph., OF/P, Blue Springs South 

Kathrine Hulse, sr., P/Utility, Oak Grove 

Emma James, sr., 2B/P, Fort Osage 

May McCoy, jr., IF, Lee’s Summit North 

Dawn McIntyre, sr., OF, Fort Osage 

Kelbi Meisenheimer, sr., OF, Lee’s Summit North 

Cece Mora, jr., IF, Truman 

Aariana Paprocki, soph., IF, William Chrisman 

Lauren Parker, sr., OF, Grain Valley 

Anna Pritchard, sr., OF/P, Truman 

Aubrey Rogers, sr., C/IF, St. Michael the Archangel 

Kadence Shepherd, soph., IF, Blue Springs 

Savannah Short, sr., 3B, Fort Osage 

Addi Sutton, soph., C, Truman 

Katie Sutton, sr., IF/P, Truman 

Logan Turner, sr., IF, Lee’s Summit North