By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Charles Page High School varsity softball team (30-8) is headed to the State Championship for the second year in a row after winning their fourteenth Regional Championship in a three-game thriller against Stillwater (25-14). For the second year in a row the Lady Sandites had to battle their way up through the consolation bracket with a Thursday afternoon triple-header, and for the second year in a row they did it with style.
After suffering a come-from-behind 9-7 loss to the Pioneers Wednesday evening, the Sandites scored a 5-2 victory over Claremore (12-23), then got payback on Stillwater with a 9-5 victory to force a tie-breaker. In the Regional Finals, the Sandites once again trumped their foes, this time 7-5.
It was a shootout from the beginning with Taylor Tuck, Morgan Rohwer, Taylor Lane, and Laikyn Anderson all singling. The latter two scored the first two and Hunter White was hit by pitch to load the bases. With two outs on the board, Oklahoma State committed shortstop Sydney Pennington caught an impressive line drive to put out Sage Fluty and save the inning.
Freshman Felicity Horn made it as far as third base in the bottom of the first, singling and picking up a pair of sacrifices, but was left stranded. Alexis Hoang was hit by pitch in the top of the second but was also left stranded.
The Sandites tied things up in the bottom of the second. Sabrina Usher reached on an error and Kimi Presnell singled. Both scored on a single from Madelyn Blair.
Anderson sent a double into the centerfield fence and scored on a single from Sage Fluty to regain the lead at 3-2, but the Sandites surged ahead from there.
Usher doubled in the bottom of the third to score Makenna Skaggs, then Presnell singled to score both Usher and Elizabeth Luttrell for the 5-3 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, Pennington sent a homerun over the centerfield fence to score Jessica Collins and make it 7-3.
Neither team scored in the fifth or sixth innings and the Pioneers needed four runs in the seventh just to stay alive. It wasn't impossible, they had already beat the Sandites once with seven runs in the seventh. Hoang was hit by pitch and scored on a sacrifice from Rohwer. Tuck hit a single and scored on a sacrifice from Lane. With two outs and Anderson on base, White hit a ground ball to Luttrell at first and the game was over, 7-5.
Taber got the win on the mound with nine hits and four walks against three strikeouts.
The Lady Sandites will travel to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City next Thursday for round one of the Oklahoma 6A State Championship. Last year the girls made it all the way to the finals and lost 4-3 to Choctaw.