In a rare battle on the diamond that many believe hasn’t occurred since the late '90s, fans of the Latta Panthers and the Ada Cougars got their money’s worth in a nine-inning thriller in the third-place game of the Ardmore-Lone Grove Showcase Saturday afternoon.
In dramatic fashion, the Class 2A second-ranked Panthers edged the Cougars 7-6 for the victory.
Ada tied the game at 6-6 after four runs in the top of the fifth, stringing together four consecutive hits combined with three Latta errors. The teams then remained deadlocked until the bottom of the ninth. Brady Johnson led off the inning with a base on balls. After he stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Treston Tully, Latta leadoff hitter Brandon Mills ripped a shot down the left field line that plated the game-winning run.
“We had so many mistakes (Latta committed four errors), and Ada had a lot to do with that. We have got to get better in fundamental baseball situations. It was good to come back and get the win after losing our four-run lead,” said Latta head coach Eddie Collins.
Latta scored first in the game. Mills hit a ball to third, and a throwing error allowed him to advance to second. He then moved to third off a passed ball. Trent Storts hit a sacrifice fly to right center to score Mills.
Ada struck back in the top of the second. With one out, Reed Kinder hit a double to left center. He would later score on a two-out, RBI double by nine-hole hitter Jake Boone that knotted the score 1-1.
In the bottom of the second, Brady Johnson reached on an error and advanced to second on a balk. With two outs, Mills doubled to score Johnson and give Latta a 2-1 lead. Storts was then hit by a pitch and Kade Hayes singled, but Mills was thrown out at home trying to score. Both teams had runners in scoring position during the third but could not plate a run.