DUNCAN — For two innings, Ardmore liked its chances to hand Duncan its first loss in District 5A-2 play.
It just took a little long for the Lady Tigers’ offense to get on track in an 8-2 loss Monday.
With the victory, the Lady Demons with the district title.
Both of Ardmore’s losses in district play have come to Duncan. The Lady Demons won 5-0 Aug. 16.
Duncan pitcher Falon Howell didn’t allow a hit until Chloe Pender crushed a solo home run with one out in the top of the sixth. Four batters later, Lauren Blankenship singled in Madisen Moore, who reached via the second of back-to-back singles for Ardmore.
In spite of those two runs, Ardmore still trailed by six runs.
Scoreless through two-and-a-half innings, Howell aided her own cause. She hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the third, putting Duncan ahead 2-0.
In the fourth, Makayen Gibson reached on a misplayed fly ball and later scored on a steal of hom.
Duncan iced the win with a five-run fifth.
Ardmore fell to 21-9 overall with the loss, while Duncan improved to 26-3.
Ardmore’s participation in the Chickasha Tournament last weekend yielded two games against defending state champions.
The Lady Tigers went 3-1 over the weekend, leading coach Charli Crawford to opine that her team is ready for the postseason.
In Ardmore’s second game on Friday, Sept. 23, the Lady Tigers defeated one of those champions: a 3-1 win against the defending Class 4A state champions and tournament hosts, the Chickasha Fightin’ Chicks.
With the bases loaded and Ardmore (21-8) clinging to its 3-1 lead, junior pitcher Lexi Duff started a game-ending double play.
“I didn’t see the ball off the bat,” Duff said. “I thought it would drop. It worked out pretty good for us.”
Crawford, the Lady Tigers’ fifth-year coach, ranked this win.
“It’s pretty high up there,” she said “I know that we were going in to face a team that was 27 and 2. I told the girls to compete and we will see where the chips fall. It is a huge deal for our program and gives us confidence going into the playoffs.”
Visitors on the scoreboard, Ardmore scored in the top of the first frame: Duff’s RBI double drove in Caity Sparlin, who drew a lead-off walk.
Chickasha answered with its lone run in the next half-inning, via RBI groundout.
Senior Haley Long delivered the go-ahead single in the fourth, driving in Moore who advanced to second base on Pender’s one-out single.
“They are really fast and know how to put the ball in play,” Moore said. “We made the plays that we needed to make.”
Duff drove in the game’s final run in the fifth, playing Nikayla Coleman. For the third time, the hitter who led off with a walk scored again.
“We haven’t played them good in so long, even before my high school years,” Duff said of the win. “I think this win changed a lot of people’s mind about us.”
Added Crawford, “It was a really good game. It was fun to be a part of.”
Moore had two walks, Duff had two hits, two RBIs and five strikeouts in five innings.
Choctaw 4, Ardmore 0
Ardmore concluded the tournament with a game against the Class 6A state champions. The home team, Choctaw scored two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings.
Lauren Blankenship drew a walk; Ardmore had one hit.
Ardmore 6, Woodward 1
In the Lady Tigers’ first game Saturday, Ardmore scored three runs in both of the first two innings.
Pender had two hits and three RBIs, all of which came via a bases-loaded two-base hit that doubled the Lady Tigers’ lead. Emma Nightengale, Coleman and Sparlin all singled, the latter two via bunt, to set the stage for Pender.
Ardmore 5, Elk City 0
This was the first of four games in the tournament. The Lady Tigers scored once in the second and four in the fourth. Duff drove in the initial run via bases-loaded walk.
In the fourth, Morgan Chavez drove in Coleman — who reached via error to lead off the inning — to double Ardmore’s lead with a two-base hit. Duff followed with an RBI single that drove in Sparlin, who drew a walk.
Pender drove in Chavez with a fielder’s choice and Makenna Moore — Duff’s courtesy runner — scored via passed ball to round out the Lady Tigers’ scoring.
Duff struck out 10.