October 11, 2013

Chicks blank Altus to punch state ticket

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


Chickasha softball powered through its regional tournament, beating Altus 10-0 in the tournament final to book their ticket to state for the second consecutive year.

Sophomore pitcher Kelsi Gore threw a no-hitter against Altus in the game that ended in the fifth inning on run-rule. On top of the head up fielding by the Lady Chicks, Gore struck out five batters and recorded no walks.

"It feels great, and I just hope it'll be similar to that in the state tournament," Gore said after blanking the Bulldogs. "It just feels great to be able to go back. I feel blessed to have the teammates I do, the love on our team, and the coaches that we do."

The Bulldogs faced Chickasha in a rematch from Thursday, when the Lady Chicks also won by a margin of 10. Leadoff Shorty Clift continued to shine against Altus going three-for-three with a triple, two runs and two RBI. Clift went four-for-four against the Bulldogs on Thursday.

She and shortstop Brighton Gilbert were the first two runs across the plate as Chickasha took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Gore brought in Clift on a sacrifice fly, while third baseman Amanda Bradford did the same to bring in shortstop Gilbert. Catcher Lynnsie Elam opened her game with a triple, and pinch runner Jaycie Brown did the rest by coming across the plate on a wild pitch.

After that initial burst, things settled down for both teams. With two on, Altus held Chickasha in the bottom of the second. The favor was returned in the third after Bailee Dickson reached first on an error for the Bulldogs and Kallie Voice advanced on a fielders' choice. Gore struck out Summer Sturdevant before Gilbert's throw from short to first retired McKenzie Briscoe and preserved the shutout.

The offense picked up again in the fourth inning, with a leadoff double for Chickasha by Tori Smith. Tristin Watkins hit her in with a big triple, and another triple from Clift brought in two runs as the game began to get out of hand.

A leadoff double by Elam and later an RBI single from outfielder Tawn Neidy sealed the game. The win means the majority of Chickasha's squad will make state trip number two, this time at Firelake complex in Shawnee instead of the usual ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in northeast Oklahoma City.

"As long as we're at the state tournament, I don't care where it is, " Gore said. "I feel like it'll be, not easier for me, but my nerves won't be as bad. I'll know how to handle the pressure, and the atmosphere of it won't be as new to me."