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.