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 Slaughter State Champion 14-6

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

It’s been a long, hard ride for the Sand Springs Lady Sandite softball team, and it’s been incredible.

The current seniors were part of the first team in over a decade to win a Regional title, and they’ve done it not just once, but three times.

In their first trip to the State Championship, they were shut out 2-0 by Yukon who went on to win the state title. In 2013, they lost 6-2 to Moore who went on to be the State Runner-Up.

This year it was the Sandites’ time to shine.

Goose Salyers (16-1) got the start and the win on the mound for Charles Page High School, while Abbey Brickey got the loss for the defending state champions from Mustang.

The Lady Broncos emerged to an early lead as MacKenzie Donohoo hit a groundball into left field to be the first player on base, and was soon brought home on an RBI double by Madison Perrigan.

With two outs and Perrigan on third base, Salyers walked Zoe Jones and Alexia Vargas to load the bases. Karis Clark was at bat and it looked like Mustang might be about to explode offensively. With a full count, Clark hit a groundball to second-baseman Kimi Presnell and was put out on first base.

The Lady Broncos had run-ruled seven games before tonight, but that threat had been adverted—for now.

Sydney Pennington was the lone Sandite on base in the bottom of the first and she was left stranded as Sand Springs failed to find their legs to start the game.

Mustang came in to bat once again, and this time there would be no stopping the hits. Brooklyn Sparkman was struck out, but from there it was a swinging contest. Kaitlyn Thomas struck a single and Audrie Morrison brought her home on an RBI double.

Next was Perrigan with a second RBI, this time a triple, on her second at bat, confirming herself as a major threat. Perrigan was hands down the best batter of the night, with a perfect batting average, a perfect on-base percentage, and a 2.50 slugging average. She was also the fastest base-runner out there.

The lumber-jacking didn’t stop there. Kylie Dodson brought Perrigan in with a single, and were it not for a tremendous catch by center-fielder Jessica Collins, it would have kept going from there. Zoe Jones slammed the first pitch thrown at her and it almost cleared the field, but Collins was in the air, barely snagging the ball as she collided with the fence to avert a potential home-run and bring the Sandites in, trailing 4-0.

The Sandites were ready to respond. Kali Mallory drew a walk and was replaced on base by curtesy-runner Caley Thompson. Thompson stole second while Collins was at bat, then Collins was walked to join her. Presnell bunted for a single to load the bases and now it was Rachel Blair’s turn to do some damage.

With a full count, Blair finally connected for the biggest hit of the night, a 3RBI triple into center-field.

Jacie Taber was put out at first and Salyers and Millican were both struck out, but the damage was done. Blair had shown Mustang that the Sandites were here to fight.

The Lady Broncos managed only one base hit in the third inning, and Sand Springs was thirsty for blood.

Pennington found first base on a bunt and an error by Jones, and was soon joined by Schuler with a single into left field. Mallory connected for an RBI double and was replaced by Thompson once again. Collins bunted for a single, thanks to an error by Clark, and the bases were loaded with no outs.

Presnell was batting now, and the Bronco errors continued to worsen. Schuler was paying attention, and was ready when Perrigan, the catcher, allowed an errant ball to travel past her. By the time the catcher found the ball and realized what was happening, Schuler had stolen home plate and tied the game.

Presnell finished her at bat with a line drive right over Brickey’s head to score Thompson and claim first base. The Sandites had taken the lead, and wouldn’t slow down or look back.

Presnell stole second with Salyers at bat, and Salyers connected for a 2RBI single with some help from an error by Britani Sanders on first base. The inning came to a close on the next at bat, and the Sandites had taken an 8-4 lead.

The State Champions attempted to rally in the top of the fourth. Donohoo pulled off a single and Perrigan brought her home with an RBI triple. Dodson hit a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 8-6, but those would be the last runs the Broncos ever scored.

In the top of the fifth, Vargas, Sparkman, and Thomas hit singles to load the bases, but the Sandite defense managed to ward them off once again. Schuler dived into the dugout net to catch a foul ball from Clark, Donohoo was put out at first with an assist from Presnell, and Caitlin Cantrell was struck out.

What the Broncos had expected to be their magic inning instead turned into a nightmare.

Rachel Blair drew four straight balls for a walk, and Mustang decided it was time for a change on the mound. It was quite probably the worst call of the game.

Sparkman took over as pitcher, but the pressure was too much for the poor girl. Visibly shaking, she walked Madelyn Blair, Salyers, and Millican, and brought home Rachel Blair for a free run. Pennington sacrificed herself to score Madelyn Blair and that was enough for Mustang to realize they had made the wrong call.

Brickey went back to the mound, but it was too late to stop the Sandite tide.

Schuler let loose a centerfield fly to load the bases and Mallory hit an RBI single to bring Salyers in. Presnell hit a single to score Schuler and the Sandites ended the inning with a 12-6 lead.

Perrigan continued to impress with yet another double, but Dodson and Jones were both put out in the infield. Vargas hit a foul ball and Millican gave one of her signature diving catches to snag the put out and once again it was time for Sand Springs to do some damage.

Salyers hit a single and was brought home by Pennington with a double. Schuler followed suit, bringing Pennington in with a double of her own for a 14-6 lead.

The seventh inning was a no-hitter, and just like that Sand Springs had won their first state quarterfinal game in nearly two decades.

The Lady Sandites will next take on Moore at 2:30 on Friday. Moore (34-4) defeated Muskogee (22-18)  11-1 in their quarter-final game.

Sand Springs (30-8) has not played Moore this season, but when it comes to mutual opponents Sand Springs has a slight edge. The Sandites win by an average of 7.4-2.4, whereas Moore wins by an average of 6.2 to 2.7

No matter what, it’s bound to be one exciting game! The winner will advance to the Championship round Saturday at 5:00 PM. 

Grand Slam Schuler seals Sandites' ticket to State

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

It was a hell of a day for the Sand Springs Lady Sandite softball team.

After a 25-7 regular season and a 13-1 district record, it came down to Regionals for Charles Page High School and they got to host their own tournament at the Sandite Sporting Complex in Prattville. By all expectations, the only team that should have given the Sandites any trouble was Union, who had beaten them 5-2 early in the season.

It was a complete surprise when they found themselves with a 2-1 loss in the opening game to a team with a losing record. Claremore moved forward, while the top-seeded Sandites fell to the loser’s bracket. It would be an uphill climb from there. They narrowly fended off Ponca City 4-3, whom they had shut-out run-ruled twice earlier in the season. The Sandites had lost their swag.

It would take either a miracle, or more perseverance than most students will ever muster to overcome the odds stacked against them. The Lady Sandites threw the odds out the window.

After Union dealt Claremore a 6-2 loss the day before, the Lady Sandites had to replay the Lady Zebras to move forward. It was a slow start, but the Sandites found their feet in the top of the third.

Goose Salyers, the pitcher, hit a line drive double into the fence and was soon joined by Stella Millican who drew a walk. Sydney Pennington followed Salyers’s lead with a left field double to score Salyers, but Millican was put out on third by Loren Shockley. With two outs, Jessica Schuler stepped up to the plate and sent Pennington home on a single into right field for a 2-0 lead.

The next inning was even more impressive. Jessica Collins and Caley Thompson both hit singles and Kimi Presnell sacrificed herself to advance them to second and third. Then, Madelyn Blair stepped up with a 2RBI double and was eventually brought home on a single by Salyers.

In the final inning Schuler was hit by a pitch and was replaced on first base by courtesy-runner Carsidy Perdue. Kalli Mallory hit a double to advance Perdue to third, and she was eventually scored on a bunt single by Collins for a final score of 6-0.

The Lady Sandites got the win, but they still had a long road ahead of them. Union was undefeated in a double-elimination tournament, and the Sandites would have to beat them twice in a double-header to win the Regional.

Senior Stella Millican started off the scoring for the Sandites, bunting for a single, and was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Schuler. Next up was Collins with a left field double, batted in by Rachel Blair with a bunt single.

In the fifth inning Salyers and Millican were both put out and it came down to Pennington to get Sand Springs back on track. A left field single put her on base and Schuler followed her with a walk. Catcher Kalli Mallory brought home Pennington with a single and the Sandites won 3-0.

Salyers got the win on the mound against Union. 

It was do-or-die in game three. Jessica Shuler and Madelyn Blair elected to “do.”

Schuler and Mallory hit singles and Mallory was replaced by Thompson as a curtesy-runner. Presnell drew a walk to load the bases. With two outs and one strike, Madelyn Blair brought home everyone but herself on a 3RBI Triple into the centerfield fence. Salyers was next up with a double to score Blair and just like that, the Sandites had scored more runs in one inning than they did in the entire first game.

The score remained unchanged until the bottom of the fifth when Pennington hit the first home run of the night over the left field fence. Collins was not far behind her with her own homerun to take things to 6-0.

Union threatened in the top of the sixth as Sammi Dutton hit a single and Lexi Dobson hit a double. After a brief timeout, the Sandites found their motivation and didn’t allow another base hit.

It was clear who the victor would be, but Schuler wanted to put a good measure on Union just to prove to anyone who might doubt that the Sandites are still not a team to mess with. Cameron Clemons hit a single, Salyers hit a single on a full count, and Millican was walked to load the bases. Pennington brought home Clemons on a single for a 7-0 lead and then it was Schuler’s time to shine with a 4RBI Grand Slam to win the game an inning early by run-rule.

Pennington got the start and win on the mound.

From the brink of elimination to the indisputable regional champions, the Lady Sandites improved to a 29-8 record and earned their ticket to the State Championship. This marks their thirteenth regional championship.

 Detailed write-ups on each game, including stats and photos, will be up this weekend. Thanks for reading and be sure to tell your friends and family about www.SanditePride.com!

 

*This article has been corrected to reflect Salyers as the pitcher in the first game against Union and Pennington as the pitcher in game 2.

**This article has been corrected to include a run by Carsidy Perdue in the 7th inning against Claremore for a final score of 6-0.