Sydney Pennington selected as finalist for Junior Women's World Championship Team

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Charles Page High School senior and Oklahoma State University commit Sydney Pennington is headed back to the national level for softball, once again. This July the star infielder competed on the Amateur Softball Association All-Star Team at the Junior Olympic Cup in Powder Springs, Georgia. Now she's headed to Florida this December to try out for the Junior Women's National Team.

The JWNT Selection Camp will be held December 31-January 1, 2017 in Clearwater, Florida. During the selection process she will participate in drills and simulated games, and will be evaluated by the USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Committee, says a press release from the organization.

If Pennington makes the cut, she will get to compete at the 2017 Junior Women's World Championship next July. 

Pennington is a a four-time All-Metro player, four-time All-District player, All-Region player, All-State player, and was named the District Player of the Year three years in a row. She finished her senior fast-pitch season with a 6-0 record on the mound for a 1.41 ERA over 39.2 innings pitched with 29 strikeouts and only 23 hits. She batted .543 for 10 homers, 45 runs, and 38 RBI without a single strikeout. 

Lady Sandite Softball ends season 30-9 with 10-2 loss to Mustang

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Charles Page High School varsity softball team (30-9) saw their season come to a close at the State Championship quarterfinals in Oklahoma City Thursday afternoon. The Lady Sandites advanced to the State Tournament with their second-straight Regional Championship and met the Mustang Broncos (33-6) for the second-straight year. Last year Sand Springs ended the Broncos' season en route to a State Finals appearance, but this year it would be Mustang with the payback win.

The game started off close enough as both CPHS sophomore pitcher Jacie Taber (11-7) and Mustang junior Kylie Dodson gave up few hits in the first couple of innings, and the score was tied 1-1 till the bottom of the third. That's when things fell apart for the Sandites. 

In the top of the first inning the Sandites landed three runners on base with two hits. Freshman Felicity Horn started the game off with a walk, but was called out on a controversial offensive interference call on a single from Jessica Collins. Horn collided with second baseman Zoey Jones who chased Collins's groundball into the baseline directly in front of Horn. Oklahoma State committed senior Sydney Pennington sent a single into right field on the next play, sending Collins to third. Collins then scored on a groundout from Taber, and the inning came to a close with a groundout from sophomore Elizabeth Luttrell.

Mustang tied things up in the bottom of the inning as MacKenzie Donohoo singled to start, reached third on an error by freshman catcher Sabrina Usher, and tagged up to score on a fly out from Jones.

The Sandites stranded Kimi Presnell in the second on a single, and Horn in the third on a walk, while Taber pitched a no-hitter in the bottom of the second. 

Mustang took the definitive lead in the bottom of the third. Freshman Kayla Mantooth singled and made third on an error that put Anna Hammer on first. Donihoo singled to score Mantooth, Jones flied out, and Audrie Morrison singled to score Hammer.

With Donihoo on third and Morrison on first, Dodson was walked to load the bases. Karis Clark was next to bat and sent a homer over the left field fence for the 7-1 lead. Mustang didn't stop there. 

After Kaitlyn Thomas flied out to Pennington, Amelya Huggins sent a double along the same path as Clark's homer, but it dropped just short of the fence and Horn was quick to hold the runner to second. Mantooth sent a pop fly to Presnell and the disastrous inning was brought to a close.

Sand Springs went into a dry spell on hits after that. Mustang stranded Jones on a double in the fourth and Thomas on a single in the fifth, and the Sandites didn't get on base till the top of the sixth. 

In the top of the sixth Collins flied out in foul territory and Pennington tipped a grounder to the pitcher, but Taber got things back on track with a line drive double to left field. Courtesy runner Makenna Skaggs came home on a right field single from Luttrell to make it 7-2, but Usher grounded out to first to end the offensive.

Mustang added three more runs in the bottom of the inning as Mantooth singled and scored on a double from Jones. Morrison followed it up with a double to score Jones and advanced to third on an illegal pitch. Dodson singled to score Jones and Mustang took the lead 10-2.

The Lady Sandites tried to stage a rally in the top of the seventh and put two on base. Rachel Blair drew a walk and Horn singled, but both were left stranded as Mustang secured their ninth straight win and advanced to play Moore (30-6) in the semifinals. 

Taber gave up twelve hits, eight earned runs, and one walk in the game. This was her first game of the season without a strikeout. The Sandites scattered six hits over the game and reached on two walks. 

The Lady Sandites end the season 30-9 with a fifth place finish at the Broken Arrow Tournament, a third place finish at the Northeastern State University tournament, a Regional Championship, and a second place finish in the district. They will graduate three seniors this year in Sydney Pennington, Rachel Blair, and Jessica Collins.

Lady Sandite Softball will take on Mustang in the State Quarterfinals Thursday

Photo: Scott Emigh

Photo: Scott Emigh

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Charles Page High School varsity softball team (30-8) is headed to State for the second-straight year after winning their fourteenth Regional Championship last weekend. The District Runner-Up team boasts a long roster of impressive athletes, and is a mostly young team with only three seniors.

The girls will travel to Oklahoma City Thursday and will take on the Mustang Broncos (32-6-1) at 1:30 p.m. on Field 3 of the ASA Hall of Fame Softball Complex. The Sandites and Broncos have yet to meet this year, nor have the Sandites met any of the five teams to beat the Broncos this year. Mustang is, however, undefeated against teams that have beaten the Sandites. They went 1-0 against Jenks, who the Sandites are 1-1 against. They beat Union 5-3 while Sand Springs fell 4-3. They have a win and a tie with Yukon, who the Sandites are 1-1 against. 

A win against Mustang will pit the Sandites against the winner of Owasso (35-3) vs. Moore (29-6). The Sandites have met Owasso only once, on the second gameday of the season, and lost 2-1 in extra innings at the Broken Arrow tournament. Sand Springs has met Moore only once, and dealt them a 4-0 loss at the NSU tournament. The semi final game will be Friday at 2:30, also on Field 3. 

If Sand Springs makes it to the finals, they could play Southmoore (33-2), Union (31-10), Westmoore (28-9), or Yukon (27-6). The Sandites haven't played Southmoore or Westmoore this season. They've met Union once and lost, and split two games with Yukon. The finals will be Saturday at 5:00 p.m.

Last year the Sandites were 29-8 going into the State tournament and were district co-champions after splitting games with Yukon. They ended Mustang (33-9)'s five-game winning streak in the quarterfinals 14-6. In the semifinals they ended Moore (34-5)'s thirteen-game winning streak 5-3, but became the thirteenth-straight win for Choctaw (36-7) 4-3 in the Championship game. 

This year the Sandites have played one more game than last year, but otherwise have a nearly identical record overall. In district play they lost two more games than last year and were district runners-up to Yukon, who they split with. The girls have lost some slugging power in Jessica Schuler (.514 batting), Kennedy "Goose" Salyers (.387), and Kalli Mallory (.351), but have improved defensively with fourteen shutouts this season compared to eight last year. This season they win by an average score of 7-2 compared to last year's 7-3. Their batting has drastically improved from the first half of the season to the latter, as well. In their first nineteen games they surpassed ten hits six times and averaged .291 as a team. In the last nineteen games they surpassed ten hits ten times and averaged .360 as a team. 

Oklahoma State University committed senior Sydney Pennington (6-0) is undefeated on the mound this season, but spends most of her time at short stop where she has had a hand in 5 double plays this season. She currently holds a .549 batting average on 102 at bats this season, with 26 singles, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 10 home runs, 38 RBI (runs batted in), and 45 runs. Coaches frequently won't even allow their teams to pitch to her, and she has been walked 31 times this season--usually intentionally. She has not been struck out once. She gets on base more than 65% of the time and has 2 stolen bases this season. She has not been caught stealing. At the mound she is equally dangerous with a 1.41 ERA (earned run average) and 1.135 WHIP (walks + hits per innings pitched) on 39.6 innings pitched. She has faced 160 batters this season and has given up 23 hits, 18 walks, 9 runs, and 8 earned runs with 29 strikeouts. She throws 61% strikes and has only thrown 6 wild pitches and hit 4 batters this season. 

Sophomore first baseman Elizabeth Luttrell has been in on 2 double plays this season and is sitting at a .426 batting average on 54 at-bats, with 15 singles, 5 doubles, 3 home runs, 18 RBI, and 19 runs.

Sophomore pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman Madelyn Blair (13-2) holds an impressive record on the mound and has been in on 4 double plays this season. She currently holds a .342 batting average on 117 at-bats with 30 singles, 10 doubles, 4 sacrifices, 32 RBI, and 11 runs. She has stolen 1 base and been caught stealing 1 time. At the mound she holds a 1.41 ERA and 1.198 WHIP on 74.3 innings pitched. She has faced 314 batters this season and has given up 55 hits, 17 walks, 23 runs, 15 earned runs, with 53 strikeouts. She throws 69% strikes and has only thrown 2 wild pitches and hit 17 batters this season.

Freshman courtesy runner Makenna Skaggs has racked up the runs for our pitchers this season while seeing limited action at the plate. She holds a .333 batting average on 12 at-bats with 4 singles, 2 RBI, and 21 runs.

Freshman catcher Sabrina Usher holds a .327 batting average on 104 at-bats this season with 17 singles, 16 doubles, 1 home run, 2 sacrifices, 25 RBI, and 25 runs. She has stolen 1 base, been caught stealing once, and been picked off once. 

Senior outfielder Jessica Collins has seen a lot of action in center field this season and has made numerous wild catches to prevent base hits, and has been involved in 1 double play. She currently holds a .324 batting average on 111 at bats this season with 29 singles, 7 doubles, 18 sacrifices, 22 RBI, and 38 runs. She has stolen 5 bases and only been caught stealing once. 

Freshman outfielder Felicity Horn holds a .297 batting average on 101 at-bats this season, with 22 singles, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 4 sacrifices, 14 RBI, and 32 runs. She has stolen 1 base and been caught stealing once. 

Sophomore pitcher and left fielder Jacie Taber (11-6) holds a .292 batting average on 113 at-bats this season, with 23 singles, 9 doubles, 1 home run, 5 sacrifices, 20 RBI, and 19 runs. She has stolen 3 bases and been caught stealing twice. She holds a 1.38 ERA on the mound with a 1.134 WHIP on 112 innings pitched. She has faced 467 batters this season and has given up only 66 hits, 34 walks, 36 runs, 22 earned runs, with 98 strikeouts. She throws 66% strikes and has only thrown 5 wild pitches and hit 27 batters.

Sophomore second baseman Kimi Presnell has been in on 7 double plays this season and holds a .280 batting average on 107 at-bats, with 24 singles, 6 doubles, 4 sacrifices, 16 RBI, and 22 runs. She has stolen 11 bases and only been caught stealing twice. 

Sophomore third baseman Cameron Clemons has been in on 1 double play this season and holds a .274 batting average on 73 at-bats, with 15 singles, 5 doubles, 9 sacrifices, 17 RBI, and 16 runs. 

Senior outfielder Rachel Blair holds a .176 batting average on 74 at-bats this season, with 11 singles, 2 doubles, 6 sacrifices, 5 RBI and 12 runs. 

Jensen Arnold has seen limited play this season and currently holds a .500 batting average on 10 at-bats with 1 single, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 RBI, and 4 runs.

Freshman first baseman Rachel Jones hasn't seen much action this season, but has been in on one double play. She holds a .000 batting average on 4 at-bats. 

Lady Sandites fall 4-3 to Choctaw in State Championship game

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

It was an emotional night for the Sand Springs Lady Sandite softball team.

Years of hard work, a 13-1 district record, and a Regional Championship brought the girls further than any Sandite had been in their lifetime. The Sandite Magic failed to show itself in a Saturday night 4-3 loss to Choctaw, but the Sandite talent and hard work showed itself every step the way.

Though they may not have brought home the first ever state title for Charles Page, they did make runner-up for the first time since 1996. It may not be what they were hoping for, but still a damn impressive run and something to be proud of.

Sometimes teams lose because they don’t play their best. Sometimes teams lose because they didn’t want it badly enough. Neither was the case for the Charles Page sluggers. Sometimes things just don’t work out. One thing was clear, however. Nobody could have wanted that title more than our girls, and they gave their full 100% every step of the way.

Senior Kennedy “Goose” Salyers got the loss on the mound, only her second of the season, and finished with a 17-2 record. Salyers will go on to play for Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Chenise Delce, a University of Tulsa-commit, got the win for Choctaw.

It started off quickly enough as Paige Russell, the first batter up, connected for a single on the second pitch of the game. She wouldn’t remain on base for long, however, as she was thrown out at third by first-baseman Jessica Schuler.

Schuler is going on to play college ball at Northeastern State University.

Jamie White was the third Lady Yellowjacket to get on base with a single, but both her and Katie Long would end up stranded.

Delce pitched a no hitter in the first inning and brought her team in give their bats another try. They managed a single, but this time it was Erika Vessels left stranded.

Sand Springs finally got on base in the bottom of the second inning with a walk by Jessica Collins. Simply getting someone on base was a momentum starter for Sand Springs and Rachel Blair followed her with a single-by-error. Both were left stranded going into the third, but the team had found their legs.

The magic inning came in the third for Choctaw as Long and Jamie White both hit singles. Haley Pomplun connected for a massive double to score Brooke Edwards (the courtesy-runner for Long), and on the next play Allyssa Sievert hit a double of her own to score White. With a 2-2 count and two outs, Kennedy Henry found the right field fence for a 2RBI Single and a 4-0 lead. Those would be the only runs the Yellowjackets would score, but it would be enough.

Sand Springs came ready to do major battle. Madelyn Blair smacked a single into right field, Salyers smacked a single into left field, and Stella Millican drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Schuler grounded for a single that scored both Blair and Salyers. Unfortunately, the Choctaw defense was just too fast for Millican to find home plate. Sand Springs had closed the gap to 4-2 going into the fourth, but they wouldn’t find home plate again till the bottom of the sixth.

Defensively, the Sandites excelled, stranding three on loaded bases in the fourth. Sydney Pennington, a junior Oklahoma State University-commit, caught a pass from Kimi Presnell to out Brown on second and assisted Schuler on outing Delce at first in a beautiful double-play in the fifth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Salyers hit a single and Millican tried to sacrifice bunt to move Salyers ahead. Unfortunately, the Yellowjacket defense opted instead to out Salyers and Millican would be ultimately be stranded at second with Pennington on first.

Of the six Sand Springs seniors we’ll be losing, Stella is the third to be going to college, having committed to Mid-American Christian University earlier this season.

The final Sandite run would come in the bottom of the sixth. Collins hit a lead-off double into the left field fence. Rachel Blair was next at bat and sacrificed herself on a line drive to White. White tried to catch Collins off base on second, but instead, Collins capitalized on a massive overthrow error and came home to thunderous applause.

Presnell tried to tie things up, drawing a walk before stealing second on a catcher’s error. Unfortunately an infield fly from Salyers left her stranded and it came down to the final inning.

Seivert singled and Brown nailed a double and it looked like Choctaw was lining up to put icing on the cake. Instead, it was Pennington who stole the show, catching a line drive from Henry then tagging out the runner on second for a single-handed double play to bring in the Sandites for one last chance.

Pennington grounded for a single, but it would be the final hit of the season for the Lady Sandites.

Head Coach Shelli Brown expressed tremendous pride in her team. “We were almost put out on that first day of regionals,” she said, “but they bounced back and have been in the zone ever since.” The Sandites committed only two errors Saturday night at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, and it was clear they had played their hardest. “We got beat by a great team tonight. It was a great game to watch and a pleasure to coach.”

This game reminded me of the classic question, “what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” Ultimately, it wasn’t that the Sandites were outclassed, or even that they beat themselves. It was just the luck of the draw as both teams showed up and played their hearts out.