Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
An underdog victory
Ray-Pec slips past Belton for district title
By Stephanie Yeagle
Being the lone senior on a softball team is a lot of pressure. But Raymore-Peculiar’s Bridgette Sappington faced it head on, leading her team to a 2-1 Class 4, District 13 championship over rival Belton.
“Words can’t even describe how happy I am,” Sappington said. “We haven’t won districts since 2005, so our goal was to put one up and we did...It was pressure to be a leader and be a good role model for my teammates, but we pulled it off.”
Sappington fought through injuries her junior year, but first-year head coach James Brown is proud of how well she led the team.
“Bridgette is a beast,” Brown said. “She is a kid that we said from day one, we would like to see her have a great senior year. It’s something she and I talked about was that if she was going to have a great senior year, these freshmen and sophomores were going to have to and she was going to have to make them feel included and welcome...We wouldn’t be here without Bridgette.”
Sappington pitched all seven innings for the Panthers in the game, but it was her defense that pulled out all the stops behind her.
“It’s obviously a team effort,” Sappington said. “It’s not just me. It’s everybody.”
No. 2 seeded Raymore-Peculiar started out the game strong as Skyler Hime hit a single. Sydnie Harmon hit a sacrifice bunt to move Hime to second base and Rebekah Mueller followed with a triple to send Hime home. Mueller was tagged out at third, but the Panthers still had a 1-0 lead, an advantage they kept through the top of the third inning.
In the bottom of the third, No. 1 seeded Belton got a double from Jacqueline Ward and a single from Emilee Biondo sent Ward home to tie up the score at 1-1.
The score stayed knotted through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh inning, with one out, Sappington got a single on a Pirate error, with Quincy Martin put in as a courtesy runner. Erika Carvan was forced out at first, but Lauryn Deer hit a single.
Then Hime went up to bat and after eight pitches, whacked the ball up the middle, sending Martin home. Harmon’s fly ball was caught to end the inning, but the Panthers led 2-1.
Now Belton had three more outs to try and tie or win the game. Molly Chevalier was forced out at first and Aubrie Vaughn hit a long fly ball to centerfield that was caught. Rylee Hobson hit a single, but Daelyn Hall was forced out at first to end the game.
“I’m elated,” Brown said. “I couldn’t be any happier. I couldn’t be any more prouder of the girls. And hats off to Belton, they played a heck of a game. Katie Giacone threw and had us stymied most of the game. We just kept grinding and Hime had the bat of the year.”
Belton, the Suburban Small Seven Conference champions for the fifth straight season, end the season with a 22-6 record.
Raymore-Peculiar, 19-10, faced Suburban Big Six conference rivals Blue Springs South Oct. 10. The Panthers have a 2-1 record against the Jaguars for just this season.
“We have been playing really good ball the last three weeks or so,” Brown said. “We got a shot. That’s what I told the girls, you get out of districts, you win a coin flip and you are on your way to state.”