Taber and Pennington pitch like pros in double-header shutouts of Sapulpa

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

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The fast-pitch softball edition of the Highway 97 Rivalry went to Charles Page High School (9-3, 4-0) Thursday evening at the Sandite Softball Complex. The Sandites won back-to-back games against the Sapulpa Chieftains (1-9, 0-4); both by shutout, one by run-rule.

Senior Oklahoma State University-commit Sydney Pennington (3-0) pitched a no-hitter in game one and sophomore Jacie Taber (4-1) struck out a career-best ten batters in game two and only gave up one hit.

The first game was a slow starter, but finished on a high note for the Sandites. Felicity Horn scored on an error in the bottom of the first, but the home team didn't find home plate again till the bottom of the fifth when Madelyn Blair singled to score Jessica Collins. Blair advanced to score on a throw. Freshman Sabrina Usher added a double, but was left stranded after stealing third. 

In the bottom of the sixth Sapulpa changed pitchers from Jessica Hobbs to Taylor Acree. Hobbs finished with four hits, two earned runs, and five walks over five innings. 

The pitching change did little to stem the Sandite tide as Cameron Clemons singled, Rachel Blair reached on a failed fielder's choice, and Horn was walked to load the bases. Collins grounded out to score Clemons, and Pennington doubled to score Blair and Horn. 

Acree finished with two hits, three earned runs, and one walk over one inning. Pennington had no hits, three strikeouts, and four walks over seven innings. 

Sapulpa put two on base in the first inning of game two. Pitcher Ally Zanca reached on a dropped third strike and Hobbs was walked, but the Sandites pulled out of it and piled on runs in the bottom of the inning.

Horn doubled, Collins singled, and both scored on a passed ball with Pennington at bat. Madelyn Blair was walked and Usher doubled. Kimi Presnell scored Blair on a single and Taber scored Usher and Presnell on a single for the 5-0 advantage.

Taber struck out two in the top of the second and one in the third. Horn was left stranded after a single in the second, and Sapulpa stranded two in the third. Kali Husman smacked a double for the lone Chieftain hit of the evening and Acree was hit by pitch.

Sand Springs added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Usher reached on error, Presnell reached on a fielder's choice that outed Madelyn Blair, and Taber singled to load the bases. Clemons hit a double to bring in Usher and Presnell, but was stranded.

Taber added two more strikeouts to her resume in the fourth inning and Pennington and Madelyn Blair both singled but were left on base. Taber struck out the side in order in the top of the fifth and Sandites came home to win it on run rule.

Taber doubled, Rachel Blair singled, and Makenna Skaggs scored Taber with a single. Collins reached on a failed fielder's choice that allowed Blair to score, and Skaggs scored after tagging up on a flyout by Madelyn Blair to end the game 10-0. 

Taber finished with ten strikeouts, one hit, and only one walk over five innings. Zanca pitched thirteen hits, one strikeout, and two walks over four and a half innings. 

The Lady Sandites return to action Friday at the Rogers State Festival in Claremore. They will play the Muskogee Roughers (3-1) at 7:00 p.m. and Pryor (7-3) at 8:30 p.m.

Sapulpa will take a break till the 27th when they will play Checotah (5-6) and Mustang (9-2) at the Stillwater OSU Festival.