October 10, 2013

Lady Chicks coasting through regionals

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


After a regional tournament day where they beat their opponents by a combined 31-1 in two games, the Lady Chicks were in an understandably positive mood on their first postseason step toward their title goal.

Once their 11-1 win against Altus was called on run-rule in the fifth inning, the scene around the Lady Chicks dugout was full of laughter, dancing and overall enjoyment. The hard work put in during the season is paying off, and the thought of returning to the state title game next week is coming into full view. They've been there and done everything except get their hands on that trophy.

"We're ready for state," said center fielder Shorty Clift after going four-for-four against the Bulldogs. "We're wanting it bad since we lost, and we're getting ready for it."

That much is evident from the way the Lady Chicks are hitting, which head coach Dennis Furr said is getting better as the postseason commences. There are still many necessary steps to take before Chickasha is to take the field at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in the state tournament next week, and it starts with winning regionals at home today at 2 p.m. 

Chickasha started their game against Altus with three runs in the first inning. Leadoff Clift singled, while Brighton Gilbert got on base via fielder's choice. That set up pitcher Kelsi Gore, who's single brought in both players for an early 2-0 lead. Catcher Lynnsie Elam then came across home off of Tori Smith's double.

After opening both innings with a three-up-three-down against Altus, Gilbert and Tawn Neidy added two more runs in the second inning. The Bulldogs got their first hit in the third, but a 1-6-3 double play delayed their hopes of getting on the board.

Gore had two strikeouts and let up only two hits against Altus, limiting their ability to hang with the free-hitting Lady Chicks offense. As the game came to a close in the fifth, Clift got a triple off a shot to deep left-center. Neidy and Tristin Watkins came in to score, with the speedy Clift right on their heels and almost passing them up.

"I just take off," Clift said. "I look where the ball is, of course, but I run my hardest wherever it is."

The team is clearly excited, but confident, too, Clift said, having been through regionals and state before.

"We've already been there, and we've got some who last year didn't get to go," Clift said. "We know what it's like, we know how to think, how the facilities are, and the surroundings. We know it's coming."

The Lady Chicks began their postseason journey earlier that day with a 20-0 win over Capitol Hill. They were later eliminated by Western Heights, who will play another elimination game against Altus today at noon.