After a year with Lane Smith as the number one pitcher on the mound, Fightin' Chicks baseball will get their first taste of life without him and other seniors in summer league play starting this weekend.
Chickasha will take on Tuttle at 3:30 p.m. this Friday followed by a game against Yukon at 5:45 p.m. in a Blanchard tournament. The following week, they begin a schedule of double-headers known as the Red Dirt League. These games will give the team and coaches a chance to make sure they rearrange the pitching rotation in time for next spring. Smith recorded a 2.19 ERA and went 9-2 as a starter last season.
"We have to make sure we have guys on the hill that will get strikes and know what our four starting pitchers are going to look like," Head Coach Brad Gore said. "The guy we have coming up next is Cade Morris, who pitched some last year. But, we'll also have to get a good look at the two or three other guys that will complete the rotation."
The Red Dirt League will include 32 teams, Gore said, giving the Chicks plenty of chances to test out new charges and begin the process of shaping a team together.
"It's open competition now," Gore said. "The guys will be competing for their spots. It's a fun time, because you get to see how your team will look. But, it's also sad to have to lose some of your players."
In addition to Smith -- who last week signed to play for Seminole State College -- Chickasha will also be losing starters Blake Burns and Brant Haile to graduation.