Expectations are at some of their highest levels to date ahead of the Chickasha softball fast-pitch season.
After a packed summer schedule that ended in early July with a trip to Denver, the Lady Chicks have been warming up with practice and a few scrimmages in the past few weeks before opening the season Monday against 5A District 2 rival Southeast. But as head coach Dennis Furr indicates, there may be little need to add fuel to a fire that has been burning since last October when his team just missed out on a state title.
"I would say we're hungry," Furr said. "We want the opportunity to do that again. Of course it's going to mean more having been there last year, and we talk about a state championship all of the time."
In a nail-biting 3-2 encounter, Grove edged out a win in the title game last fall, leaving the Lady Chicks with nothing but a growing desire for the better part of the year. Fortunately, that desire couples with experience in this years' team, as Furr returns all of the starters from the state title game for the 2013 season.
While all of the players may not be able to step onto the field from day one, the Lady Chicks are already casting an eye toward more crucial district encounters later in the fall with optimism.
"You're always going to get better as the year goes along," Furr said.
At the start of the season, there are a few injuries in the team Furr said he and the coaching staff is monitoring. Among that list is Brooklin Burns, who had to sit out all of the summer and some of the preseason preparation with a knee injury. At the moment, she will not be taking the field on opening day, Furr said.
"She has been practicing, and we're just waiting on clearance from her doctor," Furr said. "We've got some nagging injuries that might leave us a little short early on, but there is good depth there and we have a very talented group."
There's also two players that have moved into Chickasha late this summer, and Furr said is is waiting on confirmation for their eligibility.
After taking on Southeast, the Lady Chicks will take part in the Chisolm Trail Classic tournament that's hosted by Tuttle but is held in Shawnee on Aug. 15-17.