By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
A new chapter of the Highway 97 Rivalry was written Thursday night at Chieftain Softball Stadium as the Charles Page High School slow pitch softball team (10-5) dealt their nemesis back-to-back losses. In the first battle, Sand Springs led for the entirety of the game. Sapulpa rallied from an 8-2 deficit thanks to a pair of home runs by Analys Gloden, who is signed to Rose State College. Ultimately Sand Springs held on for the 8-7 win behind pitcher and Mid-American Christian University-signee Stella Millican (4-3).
In game two it was Northeastern State University-signee Jessica Schuler (6-2) with the win on the mound, giving up just two earned runs and twelve hits over eight innings. The Lady Sandites committed more than half a dozen errors over the course of the game, many resulting in runs. Ally Skaggs got the loss for Sapulpa.
Sand Springs wasted no time in getting on base, landing two hits on two pitches as Southwestern Oklahoma State University-signee Kennedy "Goose" Salyers hit a leadoff single, followed by a first-pitch double from Kimi Presnell. Oklahoma State University-commit Sydney Pennington doubled to score both runners for the 2-0 advantage.
Sapulpa wasn't content to trail this time and promptly tied things up in the same inning. Taylor Acree, who pitched the loss in the first game, scored on a single by Kristen Moore. Next was Gloden who scored the equalizer on a single by Coffeyville Community College-signee Raini Deeringwater.
Jensen Arnold reclaimed the lead for Sand Springs in the top of the second on a Jacie Taber sacrifice, but the Chieftains took their first lead of the game as Feather Roberts and Adrianna Butler scored on an error by Salyers.
The back-and-forth scoring continued as Schuler hit a home run and Rachel Blair singled in Jessica Collins to make it 5-4. In the bottom of the fourth, Jessica Hobbs hit a single and picked up two more bases to score Azelea Fogleman on an error at first. Acree batted in Hobbs and Sapulpa had the 6-5 edge.
Rachel Blair singled in Collins in the top of the fifth to tie things up, and the score would hold at 6-6 till the top of the eighth. With two outs and two strikes, Presnell resurrected the Sandite offense on a do-or-die double into the left field fence. Pennington followed it up with a double of her own for the go-ahead run, then was batted in on a single by Schuler.
Sand Springs gave up a single to Blakely Alden, but Skaggs, Adriana Banks, and Roberts were each put out by Pennington for the victory.
The Sandites return to action next Tuesday on a road game at Bixby (5-14). Sapulpa plays Memorial (4-16) next Tuesday, then the Highway 97 foes will get a rematch in yet another double-header next Thursday in the regular-season finale for both teams.