One reason Ardmore fast-pitch coach Charli Crawford had a sense of optimism leading up to Tuesday’s season opener at Lexington was an improved offense.
That optimism bore fruit.
Eight different Lady Tigers had at least one hit, which included a 2-for-4 performance by junior Lexi Duff in a 9-0 shutout of the Lady Bulldogs in five innings via the run rule.
“You have to give all of the credit to the girls,” Crawford said. “They have been working hard. They did a great job of making adjustments. They were really hitting good tonight.”
Duff produced at the plate and dominated on the mound. Lexington had trouble touching her pitches. She tossed her first no-hitter of the season, while striking out six.
“Like I’ve said before, she’s throwing like an upperclassmen,” Crawford said. “She mixed her speed well. Her curveball was working really, really well tonight. So was her rise ball. It was all-around good. She did a good job of keeping them off-balance.”
Chloe Pender was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the first to put the Lady Tigers ahead 1-0.
Ardmore (1-0) distanced itself from Lexington in the second.
Caity Sparlin, Duff, Lauren Blankenship and Madisen Moore each singled in a five-run frame for the Lady Tigers, who increased their lead to 6-0. Blankenship’s hit drove in a pair of runs.
“Our lineup is really solid,” Crawford said. “One through nine, they have a chance to come through with a hit. There are not many holes in our lineup as long as people continue to do their jobs.”
Ardmore returns to the field Thursday for the Chisholm Trail Classic in Shawnee.
The Lady Tigers are slated to play Pauls Valley at 2:30 p.m. and Purcell at 5:30.
The tournament runs through Saturday.
“Looking at the bracket a few weeks ago, my coaches and I thought this is a tough bracket, but it also prepares us for district play,” Crawford said. “As long as the girls are playing hard as they can, we’ll be fine.”