When players like Kimi Presnell, Madlyn Blair, Cameron Clemons and Elizabeth Luttrell graduated, Sand Springs had its work cut out in Class 6A. But the 2019 Sandites proved that reloading with talent and winning ball games was right up their alley.
Sand Springs went 23-13 this season, and coach Shelli Brown couldn’t have been happier.
“The team worked hard throughout the season,” Brown said. “They gave everything they had to place second in districts. They gave everything they had to win regionals. I’m so proud of every single one of them.”
A core group of seniors kept constant production pouring in on offense and defense. Senior hurler MacKenzie Bechtold split a lot of the pitching duties with Aliyah Taff, and on offense Makenna Skaggs, Rachel Jones, Jordan Pearson, Felcity Horn and Sabrina Usher kept the Sandites churning out runs.
“This senior group from day one worked hard to lead this team,” Brown said. “They built a team chemistry that changes every year, and they accomplished that goal. Everything we challenged them with they accepted and did their best.”
There was never a doubt in Brown’s mind that this year’s senior class would take the reins and lead by example. Sure enough, the veteran leadership spear-headed Sand Springs’ efforts in winning a regional championship and earning a spot in the 6A state tournament — where the Sandites came up just short in an 8-7 loss to Moore in the quarterfinals.
“This senior group worked together as a whole,” Brown said. “Each one brought unique characteristics to this team. They all of their own stories that brought this group together. Your team is only as good as its leadership, and this group did an awesome job of leading their team.”
Looking ahead to 2020, Brown is already excited about her current group of juniors — Drew Hawkins, Taff and Madison Lee — will continue Sand Springs’ recent success.
“My junior group has been fortunate to have been lead by two great senior groups,” Brown said. “I’m hoping they’ve learned from those and will put their own twist to their leadership rolls that start now.”