October 7, 2023

By Fred Liggett

The 2023 Lee’s Summit Tigers softball team enjoys playing games at the new softball/baseball complex located at East Trails Middle School located off Bailey Road. On Tuesday, Oct. 3 previous Tigers softball team members were in attendance enjoying Senior Night activities and much more.

The class of 2023 is a small group of seniors where just three players were honored. Chariss Barnard, Madison Rowden and Miranda Medrano were honored before the game. Coach Shauna Parker and the Tigers played host to conference rival Park Hill Trojans. Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a quick 2-0 lead. The Trojans would come back and put four on the board in the top of the second inning to enjoy a 4-2 lead. A Tigers comeback wasn’t in the cards as they fell 8-3 on this day.

At the end of the second inning the game was halted so the Tigers could recognize the 2003 and 2013 Tigers softball team members who were in attendance. A total of 14 team members along with a pair of coaches lined up on the third baseline to be recognized by fans and friends. Tracy Bertoncin, head coach of both teams, led the charge to have this special night take place during the 2023 season.

Being honored at the game was the 2003 state semi-finalists who went 22-6 and finished third in the state. The 2003 team was the first to play at Legacy Park and called it the Field of Dreams. This softball team had seven members named all-conference. The 2013 team was also honored for a state championship the Tigers earned that fall. Heading to the state final four the Tigers beat Parkway North and Webb City to claim a state title that year. Five players were named all-conference and the team was led by Emily Robinson.

Bertoncin feels it “was really cool to honor the final four teams having been 10 years apart.” Following the events at the softball complex the group toured Lee’s Summit High School and checked out all the recently completed improvements to the school. Bertoncin was joined by Blake Little who served as an assistant coach on the 2003 team. The success the two teams enjoyed was due to “team chemistry” Bertoncin says. Bertoncin adds, “Those Tigers teams were willing to work hard, dedicated themselves and genuinely like each other.” The closeness the team shared when playing still exists as Bertoncin states being “Facebook friends with all of them.” In addition to that team members text during the season and share life events. No matter when someone may have played for the softball program this night will be long remembered by the Tigers softball family.