The smiles and laughter at the Chickasha High School softball end of season banquet Monday night were a stark contrast to the scenes when this team last took the field together.
Among them, one smile was understandably a little bigger. Outfielder Shorty Clift, in her senior year, highlighted the list of honors handed out that evening, taking home the District Most Valuable Player award, team MVP, recognition as one of the team's three seniors and recognition for the highest batting average at an impressive .607. It's a lot to take in for someone who only began playing at this level last year.
"It's amazing," Clift said. "I don't want to leave my team, but it's part of life. You have to leave somewhere and go make another life, and go from there."
The pain of a loss to Tahlequah in the state quarterfinal over a week ago was more than evident on the Lady Chicks' faces when it was all said and done. Clearly the players and coaches felt their season ended too early, and there was still no use covering those feelings Monday night even after a fall that was successful in its own way.
"It's tough to sit and say you're proud of a 28-6 season with this group of girls," head coach Dennis Furr said. "We sets the goal of a state championship and fell short of that. We're still a young team, and we did have a good season."
This is reflected in the long list of district honors. On top of Clift's MVP award, catcher Lynnsie Elam, third baseman Amanda Bradford, and outfielder Tawn Neidy were named to the all-District first team of the year. Shortstop Brighton Gilbert, second baseman Tristin Watkins, and senior infielder Tori Smith made the second team, while Brooklin Burns, Karissa Duke, and senior Madison Snyder received honorable mention. Furr handed out a most improved award to Jac Gray, a team spirit award to Karlye Weber, a hustle award to Elam, and the batting champ award went to Amanda Bradford.