EDMOND – One of the strongest family bonds there is in this world, is the bond between sisters.

EDMOND – One of the strongest family bonds there is in this world, is the bond between sisters.

While Ardmore softball standout Lexi Duff and Lady Tigers head coach Charli Crawford have always had this bond, the last six years have not only strengthened it beyond measure, but given them a unique opportunity which few siblings, let along sisters get to have.

Duff has gotten to be guided throughout her high school career by her sister as her head coach at Ardmore.

Over the last few years, they have gotten to experience the highs and lows of high school softball together from the heartache of being so close to going to state, to finally achieving a life- long goal of reaching Oklahoma City together this season, which was the first time Ardmore softball had reached the state tournament in 14 years.

Speaking of this season, it wasn’t just the Ardmore Lady Tigers who left their mark on Southern Oklahoma, but it was Duff herself as well.

Aside from being a consistent force at the plate with a .455 batting average, 51 hits and 39 RBI’s, Duff also made her presence known on the mound.

She finished her senior year with a 1.1 ERA, totaling 313 strikeouts with 19 shutouts. Duff also threw five perfect games with nine no-hitters.

Then there was the matter of Duff cleaning up in the post-season awards department.

Not only was she named as a member of the All-Ardmoreite softball team, but she finished as a two-time Pitcher of the Year on the All-Ardmoreite softball team, along with being named District 5A-2 Player of the Year and the Regional Player of the Year. She also was the 2018 recipient of the Spirit award at the Best of the Arbuckles Preps Banquet.

“Blessing would have to be my word to describe my thoughts on this season as a whole,” Duff said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year and I’m so thankful to God for this amazing journey.”

Saturday afternoon though, these sisters also added another thing they now share in common: All-State honors.

During her playing career, Crawford was an All-State standout for the Lone Grove Lady Horns, and how her sister can say she achieved the same thing as a member of the Ardmore Lady Tigers.

As always though, All-State was of course something these proud sisters did together as a team.

While Duff was able to showcase her talents on the field at Oklahoma Christian University, Crawford was able to be her coach one last time as an assistant for the large West squad during the game.

“The best part of my softball career has been getting to play for my sister Charli Crawford,” Duff said. “I’m so thankful that God gave us the opportunity to experience this amazing journey together.”

However, there was one individual who had a big part in making this dream scenario happen on such a big stage, Mustang High School head coach Jamie Roberts.

“As a high school coach, this is a huge opportunity for me,” Crawford said. “I got to play against Coach Roberts in college, so we’ve kept up with each other throughout the years. This was really awesome that she gave me this chance. I really want to thank Coach Roberts for making this happen.”

“As soon as she (Roberts) was named as the All-State coach, she called me and said she wanted me as her assistant,” Crawford added. “This was even before Lexi was named as an All-State player. The fact that it worked out the way that it did is something I’m very thankful for.”

Crawford added that while she knew coming into this game that this would be the last time she would be able to share a high school softball stage with her sister, she wasn’t looking at it as the end of a chapter, but the culmination of a wonderful journey together over the last six years.

“I’ve tried to not think about the fact this is the last time I get to coach her,” she said. “I knew if I did I’d get emotional about it. This is by far one of the coolest things we’ve ever gotten to do together. Being able to not only see Lexi play one more time but be on the field with her as well for it is just overwhelming to me to be honest.”

“Getting to play on a big stage like this is a huge blessing for Lexi,” Crawford added. “She’s getting to play in front of a lot of people and get to showcase her talents on a big stage one more time against some of the best players in the state.”

While her high school career might have come to a close on Saturday, Duff’s softball career in general is far from over.

Duff will be trading in her Ardmore red this fall for the green, gold and white of Oklahoma Baptist University as she will suit up as a member of the Lady Bison softball team in Shawnee.

She’ll be joined this fall on the team by another member of the All-Ardmoreite softball team in Brooklyn Mason from Lone Grove, who will also be her roommate at college.

“I’m looking forward to so much going to Oklahoma Baptist,” Duff said. “I’ll get to grow as a player in a different atmosphere of softball. I’m looking forward to growing closer to some new teammates, expanding my family and maybe getting out of my comfort zone a little.”

While this season might have ended in heartache for Ardmore softball in the state quarterfinals, Saturday afternoon gave the sisters the perfect ending they always wanted.

Duff went 2-for-3 at the plate in the All-State game, while throwing two shutout innings with no hits on the mound. She also totaled three strikeouts, and got the final two outs of the game via strikeout.

The West squad won the large school game by a score of 24-4, giving the sisters the chance to walk off the field as winners one last time: together.