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October 15, 2013

For softball seniors, second chance at state also the last

CHICKASHA —

Tomorrow, the Chickasha softball team will begin the last step to take the 5A state title they narrowly missed out on last year.

It's a story that's been written before, actually as early as June. Before lifting the national title last summer, the Oklahoma Sooner softball team had to endure their own championship game disappointment when Alabama beat them to the top in 2012.

"Whenever they won this year, I was thinking that same thing," said Tori Smith, one of three seniors on the Lady Chicks team who will look to copy the Sooner efforts this weekend.

Last year as an even younger team, Chickasha lost out 3-2 to Grove in the final. Now, they are one year older and wiser, and they've picked up a few key additions along the way. Throughout that process, the seniors -- Smith, Madison Snyder, and Shorty Clift -- have all maintained a significant role in the team. 

Clift has moved up to become the leadoff hitter, Smith has moved from catcher to third base and, most recently, second, while gaining a reputation for doubles at the plate. Snyder backs up starting pitcher Kelsi Gore, but started at first base throughout the regional tournament.

"The underclassmen look up to you, so you have to set a good example," Smith said. "If you're going to get down about being moved from position to position, that's going to reflect badly to your teammates and that's taking the team down. It's better to know your role, accept it, and find a way to help the team out."

As the end of their softball journey draws near, it's interesting to note how they came to the team in such different ways. Smith only started at Chickasha High School as a sophomore, while Clift didn't start playing softball until last year.

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