Speed kills, and Chickasha softball still has plenty of it.
That much was evident in Monday night's summer league games against Anadarko and Lawton-MacArthur. It's among a host of promising signs that this early preparation to make a run at the state title will not be in vain.
"We're going to be a good offensive team," head coach Dennis Furr said. "You've got to count on your defense, but we're going to score a lot of runs, not only because we can hit, but we're going to be fast and make that count."
If that sounds familiar, it's because that was the same message last year but with one big exception. Shorty Clift was a senior then, and no one was faster than her.
The Seminole State College signee led the team with 60 stolen bases. It's a lot to lose, but a cast of speedy base runners will still occupy spots in the lineup next season and, possibly, for years to come.
"We graduated a really fast player, probably one of the fastest I've ever had," Furr said. "But, we have a lot of girls coming back that can run, too. We're still going to be able to steal bases and manufacture runs when we need to."
Monday night, it was sophomore Karissa Duke and incoming freshman Brooke Sullivan who showed that the most in a team made up almost entirely of underclassmen. Against Anadarko, Duke contributed to Chickasha's 2-0 lead in the third by lining one down the third base line before stealing both second and third.
Later, Sullivan dropped an RBI single to center, extending the Lady Chicks lead to 4-0.
They eventually beat Anadarko 5-2.
Sullivan also provided a look at the potential long-term pitching options for Chickasha. She pitched three shutout innings, although she'll want to get a few more strikeouts in future outings.