SPRINGFIELD – Excuse Bailey Baird for not quite having the idea of the home run trot down pat yet.
The Lee’s Summit junior shortstop had not hit a home run all season until the Oct. 26 Class 4 state final softball game at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield against Webb City.
So when Baird clubbed her two shots over the wall in left-center field, she sprinted around the bases on the heels of teammate Mo Mosier.
“I was just running so fast to get back to my team,” Baird said. “They were all supporting me. It’s just really exciting. I was so happy.”
Baird’s blasts led Lee’s Summit to its first softball state championship in school history, topping Webb City 7-1.
She finished with five RBIs, leading the Tigers (23-6), who had 14 hits.
“We hit up and down the lineup,” Lee’s Summit coach Tracy Bertoncin said, whose team committed just one error. “But you can give all the kudos in the world to the bats today, but our defense was stellar.”
Sophomore Mo Mosier led the defensive charge, starting a double play in the first inning and making all three put outs in the second.
As the lead-off hitter, Mosier reached base in all four of her plate appearances with two singles, a double and a walk. Senior catcher Rachel Pate added three hits for Lee’s Summit, whose first five hitters went 12-for-19 (.632 batting average).
Natalie Dummit and Brittany Kendall also added two hits apiece for the Tigers.
“We wanted to be aggressive early in the count and really just look for our pitch that we knew we could drive,” Mosier said. “We just really wanted to go out with a bang and win the first state championship our school had in softball. It just really feels great.”
Added Bertoncin: “It’s really tough to beat a team when your lead-off hitter gets on base.”
Baird, the team’s second hitter, homered in the first and fourth innings. The first put the Tigers up 2-0. Then, after the team scored three runs in the second inning, Baird’s second home run put Lee’s Summit up 7-0.
It was the second straight day that a Lee’s Summit player hit their first home run of the season on the state’s biggest stage. Alexis Reed homered in Friday’s 3-1 state semifinal win against Parkway North.
Webb City (22-5) was trying for its third softball title in school history, but could not knock in hitters despite collecting 10 hits.
Lee’s Summit junior pitcher Emily Robinson struck out three batters and battled out of trouble throughout the afternoon.
The Tigers were all aware of the softball championship drought at the school. Bertoncin took the girls into the fieldhouse before district play began and showed them the wall without a softball title.
“It was kind of an ah-ha moment,” Bertoncin said. “It was very cool to see them go, ‘OK, we can leave our mark here and do something.’
“Because they know they are talented and as a team they play well together.”
Lee’s Summit will graduate seniors Pate and Kelsey Jeffries but will return everyone else next season.