Two years ago, the Ardmore Lady Tigers made history by making it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2003.

Two years ago, the Ardmore Lady Tigers made history by making it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2003.

While a repeat appearance wasn’t in the cards last season, the thought of making it back for the second time in three years this season sounds just as appealing to veteran head coach Charli Crawford. 

“I’ve got five seniors, so anything less than hosting a regional tournament is going to be a disappointment for this program,” Crawford said. “These girls have worked so hard this summer. All nine of my starters played travel ball this summer, and they are excited to get out on the field. We’ve had a ton of younger players step up as well, so I think it’s going to be a great season for us.”

In order for the Lady Tigers to earn the right to host a regional tournament, they will have to navigate through a new district this season.

Ardmore has been placed in the revamped District 5A-1 along with familiar faces such as Altus, Duncan, Santa Fe South, Lawton Eisenhower, and MacArthur. 

But it’s the two additional teams that have joined the district that have made the landscape that much tougher.

The El Reno Lady Indians, as well as two-time defending state champion Carl Albert have also joined the new district for the season.

Last season, the Lady Titans finished 30-4 overall with a perfect 14-0 district record, en route to winning the state championship over Durant. 

El Reno meanwhile finished fifth in the same district as the Lady Titans with a 12-17 overall record and a 5-9 district record.

Ardmore finished third in district 5A-2 with a 14-18 overall record and a 7-5 district record. 

“No matter if we had Piedmont or Carl Albert in our district, they were going to be tough,” Crawford said. “We haven’t seen El Reno in a while so we don’t know much about them. We’re opening up with El Reno, so I’m a little nervous, but I think we’re going to match up well with them and it should be a good game.”

Helping shoulder the load this season will be five seniors for the Lady Tigers which include Lauren Blankenship, Kalie Douglas, Makila Case, Reagan Lewis, and Nakayla Coleman.

Last season Blankenship hit .484 at the plate with 18 walks for the season, with 13 of them being intentional.

Case finished the season with a .461 average to go with five home runs, while Lewis finished the season with a solid .483 batting average.

Other returning players this season will include Shakira Smith who finished with a .524 average last season as well as Savannah Marris, Jacy Johnson, Brooklyn Coronado, and Angelina Bruner.

One player who will be notably absent this season will be Avery Lowe, who will miss the season due to an ankle injury. 

She hit .515 last season with six home runs for the Lady Tigers, and was named to the All-Ardmoreite softball team.

“Savannah knows what to expect now on the mound, and I think she is ready for this year,” Crawford said. “Kenya Palmer has been a very great surprise for us this summer, and I think she is going to open some eyes this year. Jacy is a junior and has a great poker face. We’re expecting some great things out of her this season as well.”

“I’m very close to my seniors this season and I’m leaning on them heavily this year,” Crawford added. “I couldn’t be more proud of the legacy they are going to leave behind and I think it’s going to be a great season for them.”

Ardmore will open against El Reno on Aug. 12 for district play, before hosting Lindsay on Aug. 13.

The Lady Tigers will then travel to Shawnee for the Chisholm Trail Invitational, before resuming district play with a doubleheader against Santa Fe South on Aug. 19.

Ardmore’s first district road game of the season will be the following day against MacArthur in Lawton. 

Ardmore will also play in the Bethany Tournament as well as the Durant tournament this season.