Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
OKLAHOMA CITY —
The Chickasha High School softball team finished the season as the class 5A state runner-up, losing in the championship game to the Grove Lady Ridgerunners on Monday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Lady Chicks lost the game 3-2, and finish the 2012 season with a record of 33-10. Grove ended their state championship season at 25-5.
“We’re probably better than we were Thursday,” head coach Dennis Furr said. “We just continue to get better and better, and these girls have continued to learn how to play and fight hard, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Neither team got a hit in the first three innings. The first hit of the game came courtesy of Grove pitcher Jessica Walker, who hit a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth to give Grove a 1-0 lead.
Chickasha broke its hitless streak in the bottom of the fourth. Chicks’ pitcher Kelsi Gore reached base on an error, and Karlye Weber came in as a courtesy runner for Gore.
A walk by Madison Snyder moved Weber to second base, and she scored on a single by third baseman Brooklin Burns.
Grove took the lead back in the top of the fifth inning. Left fielder Morgan Knox led off with a single, but was thrown out on a fielder’s choice play at second, when second baseman Megan Freeman reached first.
Catcher Ashleigh Tramel reached first on a Chickasha fielding error, moving Freeman to second. Freeman scored on an RBI double by third baseman Taylor Dodson, putting Grove up 2-1.
The Lady Ridgerunners extended their lead in the top of the sixth inning, when first baseman Libby Morris singled into center field to lead off the inning and eventually scored on an RBI double by Knox.
The Lady Chicks bounced back in the bottom half of the inning. Gore got to first on a walk and Burns got her second RBI of the game with a single. Burns finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Going into the seventh inning down 3-2, Chickasha held Grove scoreless. Tawn Neidy led off the inning with a walk, and a sac bunt by Sydney McHugh got Neidy, the potential tying run, to second, but the game ended on a ground ball by Tori Smith for the third out.
“We had a chance, that’s what we wanted to do, we wanted to grind it out,” Furr said. “We made a couple of base running mistakes, and I felt like the umpire missed a call at first base that ended up giving them a run, but that’s the breaks in this game. The margin of error is small.”
Kieley Clift was the only batter besides Burns to get a hit. She went 1-for-2 with a walk. Gore pitched the entire game, and allowed three runs on five hits and struck out six batters.
The state championship game was an example of one of the ways this Chickasha team has grown from the beginning of the year, said Furr.
“There were times in the year when bad things would happen and it would just be like a snowball going downhill that we couldn’t get stopped,” Furr said. “We’ve gotten to where we can put those behind us and keep fighting along.”
With only one senior this year, the Lady Chicks are in position to make runs in the state tournament for the next few years, if they continue to improve.
“We are really young,” Furr said. “Coming into the season we were really inexperienced, too. If we can stay focused and keep working how we’ve been working, the potential to be great is there.”