By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
For the second year in a row, the Yukon Millers (23-5, 13-1) spoiled the Sandites' run at a District Championship. The Charles Page High School varsity softball team (20-6, 11-3) hosted Yukon Thursday evening with an 11-2 district record to the Millers' 12-1. The Lady Sandites had already defeated the Millers on their home turf earlier this season, so a win at home to tie their records would have given the Sandites their first and only district title since 2012.
Last year the Sandites came into their final district game against Yukon undefeated at 13-0, having beaten the Millers 4-3 earlier in the season. That time Yukon was 12-1 and defeated the Sandites 4-0. The two teams split the district title, but Yukon claimed the number one seed on run differential.
Sand Springs drew first blood in the 5-2 loss with a single from junior Madelyn Blair to score Makenna Skaggs in the bottom of the third. Skaggs was running courtesy for sophomore pitcher Jacie Taber who doubled. Freshman Sabrina Usher hit a single to follow and advanced Blair to third, but the two were left stranded to end the inning 1-0.
In the top of the fifth, Mady Taylor was hit by pitch for a free base, and advanced to second on an error that allowed Jewell Lee to reach first. Taylor tied the game up as Rylee Uhr reached on an error, and Lee scored soon after on a single from Aleyah Holman. Cheyenne Factor was hit by pitch to load the bases, and all three runners scored on a double from Breley Webb. The Sandites gave up a double to Hannah Franklin and walked Janie Abrams to reload the bases, but pulled out the inning with a double play from Kimi Presnell at second to Blair at first.
The Sandite freshmen stepped up in the bottom of the sixth as Usher hit a double and scored on a double from Felicity Horn, but that would be the last run of the game. Senior Rachel Blair also hit a single in the inning, but was put out on a fielder's choice to bring the visitors in to bat. The Millers didn't land any hits in the seventh, but didn't need to. Madelyn Blair singled in the bottom of the inning, but was left stranded to end the game 5-2.
Taber (8-4) got the loss on the mound with four walks and four hits against two strikeouts and zero earned runs. Webb picked up the win with one strikeout, two earned runs, nine hits, and two walks.
After coming in second in the district, the Sandites will get to host their own Regional tournament beginning October 6th. Though official brackets won't be released by the OSSAA until the 28th, current district standings would have the girls playing Claremore (10-18) in the preliminary round. The tournament is double elimination, so the girls will play either or both Stillwater (19-12) and Sapulpa (7-18). Those pairings aren't final, however, as some teams still have district games left to play. Ponca City (16-14) still has three district games left and could surpass Sapulpa in the standings which would send either Ponca themselves, or Norman (13-7) to Sand Springs.
The girls will get plenty of practice in before Regionals, however, as they travel to the Northeastern State University Tournament in Tahlequah Friday and Saturday. They will take on Muskogee (7-12) at 2:00 p.m. and Moore (20-4) at 4:45 p.m. Friday. On Saturday they will play Jay (14-13) at 2:15 p.m. and Muldrow (13-13) at 3:45 p.m., followed by bracket play.