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October 15, 2013

For softball seniors, second chance at state also the last

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CHICKASHA —

"I didn't think any of this could happen," Clift said. "Basketball was my main sport and softball was something to play. It's switched around this time."

Snyder has the most experience, since she began varsity softball as a freshman and stayed along for what turned out to be an interesting ride.

"We went from having some players that didn't really know what they were doing to having a lot of great players who actually had to fight for their positions," Snyder said. "It was a big change."

One thing remains the same: they were all there in the state final last year, and they'll all be there again. As seniors, there was a little more pressure on them to increase their workload, Clift said.

"We have to, because we went far last year, but we know our boundary is way beyond," she said. "We need to reach as far as we can, because we know we can go that far."

The entire team has taken more upon themselves, since even before the season began they all had eyes for the state prize. Now they're at the summit, and with seniority comes cooler heads.

 "You can't let the atmosphere suck you in," Smith said. "Coach [Dennis] Furr tells us to play every game like it's a championship. That way when you get there, you won't choke. Last year we were pretty much satisfied with just making it to the state tournament. This year, we have that hunger we want to satisfy. Now, we're not looking to just be there. We want to really be successful."

So now the Chickasha seniors will take the field for the final few times wearing the purple and white hoping to end on a high note, no matter how bittersweet it may feel.

"I'm sure we're all ready to see how far we can get," Clift said. "We're all excited, but it's also bitter because we don't want it to end."

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