By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Charles Page High School varsity baseball team (16-18 overall, 4-10 district) kept busy last week, playing five games in as many days to wrap up the regular season on a high note and build some momentum before this week's Regional Playoff.
The Sandites saw their winning record evaporate after eight-straight losses in the past couple of weeks. They started last week with back-to-back losses to the District Champions from Owasso (28-3, 13-1), but rebounded with a 10-0 shutout of Muskogee and followed it with wins over Tulsa NOAH and Booker T. Washington.
The Sandites will return to action this Thursday in Jenks for the Regional tournament. They will take on the 6A-3 District Runner-Up host team (19-12) at 11:30 a.m. On the opposite side of the bracket is Sapulpa (13-20) and Enid (22-11).
The Sandites have yet to meet Jenks this season. They are 1-1 against their Highway 97 rivals, losing their first meeting 1-0, but winning the second 6-5. The Plainsmen finished third in the Sandites' district, winning both meetings 4-0 and 5-1.
Owasso 5 CPHS 0
(Hits: OHS 7, CPHS 3. Errors: OHS 0, CPHS 0. LOB: OHS 7, CPHS 3.)
The District Champs took the lead right out of the gate with a run from Connor Beichler in the first inning. The Sandites picked up hits from Mack Thompson in the first inning and Cale Savage in the second, but both were left stranded.
Beichler scored another run in the top of the third off a double from Caleb Denny. Denny came in on a home run from Nate Wohlgemuth for the 4-0 advantage. Thompson added another single in the bottom of the inning but was left stranded once again. Owasso scored their fifth and final run in the fifth inning as Zach Jaccarino scored on a passed ball.
Cowley County Community College-signed senior Hunter Greathouse (3-6) got the start and the loss on the mound, pitching five hits, four runs, one strikeout, and three walks over three innings.
Riley Rutledge (0-0) pitched relief, recording two hits, one run, three strikeouts, and two walks in two innings.
CPHS 10 Muskogee 0
(Hits: CPHS 7, MHS 2. Errors: MHS 1, CPHS 0. LOB: MHS 6, CPHS 5.)
The Sandites recorded their fourth shutout and fifth ten-run victory of the season Tuesday evening in Muskogee (4-24, 0-14) on a make-up district game. Josh Cordell (5-3) got the start and the win on the mound with seven strikeouts in less than five innings. He walked three and only gave up one hit.
Savage got them in the swing of things with a second inning double, then scored on a single from Kyler Copeland. Courtesy-runner Garrett McCallie stole second and took third on a passed ball, then scored on a wild pitch. Josh Taber and Thompson drew walks and came in on a Treyce Tolbert double that caused the Roughers to change pitchers.
The change on the mound didn't help much as Sand Springs went back to work in the third inning. Braden Askew drew a walk and made it to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an error that landed Cal Watkins at first. Ty Steelman was hit by pitch and both runners scored on a single from Taber for the 7-0 lead.
Tolbert scored on a single from Savage in the fourth, Thompson scored on a passed ball in the sixth, and Tolbert scored yet again on a wild pitch to clench the run-rule victory.
Braden Millican (2-0) pitched the final inning and a half on the mound, giving up one hit and no walks.
CPHS 4 Tulsa NOAH 2
(Hits: NOAH 6, CPHS 5. Errors: NOAH 1, CPHS 1. LOB: NOAH 9, CPHS 5.)
Askew (2-2) didn't pitch his lowest-scoring game of the season, but he absolutely shattered his strikeout record. The Sandite previously recorded a 4-1 victory on the mound against Rogers, Arkansas with five strikeouts, but he more than doubled that performance with thirteen against the Northeast Oklahoma Association of Homeschools team (16-9).
The thirteen strikeouts was the most any Sandite or even multiple Sandites have recorded in a single game this season. Greathouse has the next two performances at ten strikeouts apiece, one of which was done in only five innings.
As impressive as Askew's performance was, the Jaguars had an equally incredible time on the mound behind Matt Merrill, who is signed with Pittsburg State University and is being scouted by the Dodgers and Mariners organizations. Merrill got the edge on Askew with fourteen strikeouts and only three walks to Askew's four. Askew gave up six hits and Merrill allowed five. But Askew was more consistent and pitched without a blemish, while Merrill threw three wild pitches and committed an error.
Watkins was the first to cross home plate, scoring on a double from Thompson in the top of the third. NOAH loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but Merrill flied out to Tolbert in center field to save the inning.
The rest of Sand Springs's runs came in the fourth inning thanks to a series of Jaguar mistakes. Greathouse singled, but looked to be in danger of getting stranded after the next two batters struck out swinging. Rutledge came in clutch with an RBI double, then scored on a wild pitch for the 3-0 lead. Savage walked, took second and third on a pair of wild pitches, then scored on an error by Merrill.
The Jaguars tried to battle back in the bottom of the fifth after Evan Jacoby walked and Sam Replogle singled. Askew hung two strikeouts on the board before Merrill singled in both runners. Merrill was left stranded after a third strikeout, however, and the Jags wouldn't score again.
CPHS 5 BTW 4
(Hits: BTW 8, CPHS 7. Errors: BTW 1, CPHS 1. LOB: CPHS 5, BTW 4.)
Cordell got off to another impressive start on the mound against Booker T. Washington (9-26), pitching two strikeouts in the first inning.
Taber got the Sandites on the board that same inning thanks to a pair of sacrifices. The senior drew a walk, took second on an error and third on a fly out from Thompson before scoring on a ground out by Tolbert.
Next to cross the plate was Tolbert on a single from Greathouse in the bottom of the third.
The Hornets cut into the deficit in the top of the fourth as Connor O'Malley doubled and scored on a sacrifice on the next play. Sand Springs had a quick answer in the bottom of the inning as Savage scored on a single from Watkins. Watkins came in soon after on a single from Braden Cook for the 4-1 lead.
Booker T. added a run from Easton Cope behind the bat of Ben Curry in the top of the fifth. Greathouse retaliated with a single to score Thompson in the bottom of the inning. Ramsey Gates hit the final run of the game on a solo homer, and the Sandites held on for the win.
Cordell got the win with six strikeouts and no walks against four hits and one run in four innings. Brock Youngblood (2-5) pitched three innings in relief and gave up three runs and four hits against two strikeouts and no walks.