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Liberty Softball headed to Missouri Class 5 Final Four

Blue Jay's first appearance at State since 2006
Liberty High School Softball
Posted at 4:35 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 17:35:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Liberty High School hasn't won a state title in softball since 2004. Almost two decades ago...most players are the current team weren't even born then. Flash forward 18 years and the Blue Jays have a crack at bringing home the Missouri Class 5 title with a trip to the Final Four.

Senior Olivia Branstetter, who is verbally committed to the University of South Alabama says this post season run still hasn't hit her.

"I think it is surreal," Branstetter said, "It's kind of like just another game for me, I don't think until I step on the field, I'll be like... this is it."

She's not the only one feeling this way heading into the semi-finals on Thursday against Francis Howell. The last time Liberty made an appearance in the Final Four was in 2006, when junior Sierra Persinger was just one year old.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," Persinger said,"I get these little spurts of nervousness and emotions in my day and I'm like WOW this is real?"

For the nine seniors on this squad, this is the last chance to chase down their lifelong goals.

"My career ends when we win or lose so just to go to state as a senior is like a really big deal", senior Katie Bower said before getting onto the bus.

The left fielder added it won't be the field she's misses the most after this state run but her 'sisters'.

"No matter what we have always had each other's backs. We've been there for each other, we've been supportive on and off the field," Bower said.

"We can spend every moment together, like for weeks upon weeks and not get tired of each other," Persinger added.

The team was sent off in true Blue Jay fashion, with the entire school staying after the final bell to lead the team through the front doors and out to their bus. Parents, friends and family decorated the hallways with signs, an emotional moment for the seniors.

"We were walking through the hallways and my twin brother came up and hugged me and all his friends were cheering," Bransteeter said while walking out of the school, "I teared up a little bit."

Liberty will arrive in Springfield Wednesday night ahead of their Semi-Final game against St. Louis metro area school Francis Howell on Thursday at 1pm. If the Blue Jays win, they'll play in the state title game Friday against either Blue Springs South or St. Louis-area school Marquette.