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Seniors help propel Lady Tigers to win over Madill

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

There was no guarantee that the Ardmore High School softball team would take the necessary strides this season to have a chance to advance to the playoffs.

But the Lady Tigers never waved the white flag and they're still in the posteason hunt after picking up win No. 14 on Monday in an 8-1 decision over Madill.

“Some of the teams that run ruled us, we actually beat in district matchups later on in the season,” said Ardmore head coach Lee Mays. “I’ve never seen a team do that before. That shows a lot of resilience, a lot of grit and a lot of heart. I’m very proud of that because they could have folded easily in the beginning of the year. Nobody ever counted us for 14 wins this year, so I’m proud of them.”

And the victory couldn’t have come on a better time as the Lady Tigers honored four seniors in their last regular-season home game. All four played a role in the win and Mays took a second to talk about each one.

“You have Angelina Bruner coming around with over a .500 batting average and you have Avery Lowe being a power hitter and hitting over .500,” Mays said. “You have Shakira Smith, leadoff hitter, who’s always dynamic at finding a way to get on base and you have Jacy Johnson in the circle doing a great job. They’re just being leaders and stepping up and helping the team to be dynamic. I’m proud of them.”

Ardmore senior Avery Lowe makes contact Monday against Madill. Lowe hit an RBI double and scored two runs in the Lady Tigers' 8-1 win.

Johnson struck out three in the circle and helped her own cause with a single, while Bruner and Lowe combined for two RBIs and four runs scored. Smith also scored twice after earning a pair of walks.

And the group will be no doubt be instrumental as Ardmore ends the regular Tuesday on the road against Lawton MacArthur.

“Our seniors have done a good job of showing continual improvement week after week and day after day," Mays said. "I’m really proud of them. They’re a really special group.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Wildcats had a number of opportunities to score runs to make the game interesting, but miscues proved costly.

“We only have two seniors, so we’re considered to be a relatively young team,” said Madill head coach Brett Vann. “And young teams tend to make those kinds of mistakes. We have two pitchers who are sophomores and our catcher is a freshman. That group is going to grow up and only get better and better.

"I’m really looking forward to what next year brings," Vann continued. "We have some eighth graders coming up that will be freshman next year. They’ll be able to contribute, and we’ll have more numbers next year.”