2018-10-10 ssl-regionalfinals3

Junior Sabrina Usher hit two home runs Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the east regional, helping her team to a state playoff berth. 

Sand Springs leader file

Sand Springs’ success in softball last year hinged a lot on an important group of seniors. Jacie Taber, Kimi Presnell, Madelyn Blair, Cameron Clemons and Elizabeth Luttrell were influential in guiding Charles Page High School into the Class 6A state tournament.

But now? Time to piece together some new household names to continue on Sand Springs’ winning ways, coach Shelli Brown said.

“My hope is that instead of rebuilding we reload,” said Brown, whose team went 23-9 in 2018. “Time will tell.”

Shouldering the offensive load this season will be Sabrina Usher and Makenna Skaggs after Taber and Presnell combined for 51 runs batted in 74 runs scored last season. Usher batted .458 with 40 runs batted in, 11 doubles and nine home runs as a junior in 2018. Skaggs posted a .353 batting average with 25 RBIs, eight doubles and a home run.

Usher and Skaggs should have opportunities to drive runs in this season with Felicity Horn offering some offensive punch. Horn hit .345 with 14 runs batted in a year ago.

“Both Sabrina and Makenna have power, and Felicity is a senior this year and her bat can add some power, too,” Brown said. “We have a freshman, Jaden Jordan, that has a lot of potential. I think we have some speed, so maybe our short game will benefit us some this year.”

During her final varsity season, Taber threw 39 innings and compiled a 6-1 record with a 1.58 earned run average. But she also missed some time in the pitching circle, which allowed Aliyah Taff to log some valuable innings.

“Aliyah has the most mound experience,” Brown said. “When Jacie was hurt last year, she really stepped up and did a great job. Mackenzie Bechtold also has some experience, and she had the opportunity to get some time last season, so I’m excited to see how she does this season.”

And when it comes to veteran leadership, Brown pointed to Usher again.

“Sabrina — and all of our seniors — will provide a lot of good leadership,” Brown said. “They will provide us with experience. And they’re already doing a great job with creating a good chemistry with our team.”