Softball has, so far, been a fast-track for Chickasha senior Shorty Clift.
It's only appropriate, given her speed on the diamond made her a stolen-bases leader. Now Clift is taking those talents to Seminole State College, where she'll play under former OU player Amber Flores.
"Right off the bat, you can tell she's quick, she moves well," Flores said. "She's also raw, and as a coach that excites you. You know she's got so much more room to grow. She hasn't been playing softball all that long, only for a few years, and that's crazy."
Clift signed her letter of intent to play for the two-year school after she graduates from Chickasha in May. Having only started playing softball in 2012, Clift already has her eyes focussed on a big future in the game, and Seminole State is a first step to, she hopes, a future as a Sooner.
"Hopefully, I will go to JuCo (junior college) for one year, and OU for the next three," Clift said. "They wanted me to go to Seminole because coach Flores went to OU. They knew she could get me there."
Clift said the reigning national champion Sooners have been casting glances in her direction back in October, when the center fielder cleaned up at the Chickasha High School softball banquet with district and team MVP awards. Since then, Clift has taken part in a softball camp at the campus in Norman and done some serious work toward carving out a future in the game.
Normally around this time, Clift would be suiting up for the Lady Chicks basketball team, but she decided to sit out her senior season of basketball to better concentrate on softball.
"It's so fast," Clift said of her year-and-a-half in the game. "It doesn't even seem like a year's time. I knew that if I wanted to go to a big school, like Division I, I wanted to work on softball."
And if this was fast for the player, it's certainly that way for parents, Kent and Lori Clift, who joined their daughter at the signing ceremony in the high school library on Tuesday. It is undoubtedly a proud moment, and it certainly could spell bigger things.
"I think she definitely has the potential to reach that level," Flores said. "She's got to work, but if she does all the things right, she'll be absolutely prepared."
Academically, Clift said she's mostly undecided on what to study when she starts at Seminole in the fall. She said sports science interests her, but for now softball and basics are the main focus.