Normally in sports when someone hears “LB”, they might think its in reference to a linebacker playing for a football team.

Normally in sports when someone hears “LB”, they might think its in reference to a linebacker playing for a football team.   But around Ardmore High School, “LB” means one person, Lady Tigers softball standout Lauren Blankenship.   Wednesday afternoon in front of a packed house of friends, family, classmates and teammates, the Lady Tigers All-State member officially signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball for the University of Louisiana-Monroe as a member of the Lady Warhawks.   Blankenship has been verbally committed to ULM since her freshman year, but her signing officially cemented her place and status as a Division 1 softball player.   Lauren now shares a special common accomplishment with her mother Sharie, who suited up for the University of Oklahoma as a softball player, where she was a Big 8 All-Conference selection at pitcher.   “I’ve been committed for over three years to ULM,” Blankenship said. “Finally getting to make this official is so rewarding. To be able to put pen to paper and officially be on my way is very special to me. The support I had today is what I’m taking away the most from this occasion. It’s the people who have meant the most and have helped me through this process who were here today and that meant so much to me.”   This season, Lauren finished with a .512 batting average at the plate along with an .889 fielding percentage.   She was also named as the District 5A-1 Defensive Player of the Year on the All-District awards list this season, and was named as a member of the Large West All-State team, becoming the first Ardmore Lady Tigers player to earn the honor since 2017.   During her time as an Ardmore softball player she has also been named as the Offensive Player of the Year on the All-District awards list, and was a member of the 2017 and 2018 All-Ardmoreite softball teams.   For her 2017-18 season, Blankenship hit .526 at the plate with 51 hits, 33 RBI’s and five home runs. She also had the game winning walk-off RBI which sent the Lady Tigers to the state tournament that season.   In her junior season, Blankenship hit .484 at the plate and was walked 18 times during the season with 13 of those being intentional.   But her achievements don’t just end at the softball field as Lauren is a standout student in the classroom. She has earned valedictorian status and is a three-year Ribbon Scholar, where she has placed in the top one percent of her class.   “I got a lot of looks early on from Division 1 and Division 2 schools,” Blankenship said. “I went to ULM three or four times and over time I went there it felt like home every time. I can’t wait to start playing there.”   “Ardmore hasn’t just shaped me in academics or in athletics but in life in general,” Blankenship. “I’m a better person and going to be a better future wife and future everything because of my time at Ardmore. It’s meant the world to have a coach like Coach (Charli) Crawford in my life. She’s meant everything to me and I know I have a friend for life in someone like her that will always have my back.”   Blankenship said she plans on studying kinesiology while attending ULM.