October 8, 2012

Lady Chicks get ready to play for state

Aaron Colen, Sports Editor,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — After cruising through the regional tournament at home Thursday and Friday, the Chickasha High School softball team played a warm-up exhibition game against No. 7 Bethel from class 4A on Monday.

"It's not necessarily a win-lose deal, you want to play well," head coach Dennis Furr said. "I don't want to go a week without seeing live pitchers. I have two pitchers, and I don't want to have them throwing batting practice necessarily, so just to keep us in routine and keep our timing good with live pitching is the main thing."

Chickasha technically won the game  5-2, but it wasn't a typical competition, with both teams setting up situations for practice purposes in the middle of the game.

"I feel like it was really good, we all played really hard," pitcher Madison Snyder said. "And we were confident about it."

Catcher Tori Smith said the level of competition of Bethel helped the team get ready for state.

"This game definitely helped us out a lot," Smith said. "Their pitcher was better than the Shawnee pitcher. I think playing this game a couple of days before state keeps us in game mode."

The Lady Chicks had no trouble winning during regionals, beating Southeast 13-1 and Shawnee 13-2 on Thursday and beating Shawnee again 9-1 on Friday to take the regional title.

Because Chickasha played so well in district play, going undefeated in the district during the regular season, the team got a favorable draw in regionals.

"We don't feel like that's the caliber of opponent we're going to see in the state tournament, but we did what we had to do, so we felt pretty good about that," Furr said.

Shawnee was a team that could have caused Chickasha some problems, based on the experience the Lady Wolves brought back, but that turned out to not be the case.

"We thought we had the best team in the regional," Furr said. "I wasn't really sure, because Shawnee was a state tournament team last year, and they had their pitcher coming back, so I wasn't really sure how that was going to be."

Chickasha drew Tahlequah for the first round of the state tournament. Tahlequah was the state runner-up last season, and also return their main pitcher from last year.

"They have some really good players," Furr said. "The last ranking we did they were either No. 1 or No. 2. They're a good team. I think we match up with them where we can cause them some problems."

Smith said that while she and her teammates are excited about the state tournament, they also want to keep things in perspective.

"We're really excited, and we want to not play up there like it's a big game," Smith said. "We just want to get in there and do what we can do and fight."

Furr said the team has been playing well lately, and pitcher/first baseman Madison Snyder said she feels the team is ready for the challenge at state.

"I'm ready," Snyder said. "I think we came a long way, and we still have a long way to go. We just need to feel confident about that first game, and just go win."