By JEFF CALI
ADA — Over a month ago, Ada hurler Tyler Carter and McAlester standout Matt Mason squared off during most of a dandy, 11-inning duel between the two rivals.
During Thursday evening’s rematch, both hurlers returned to the mound at Cougar Field but the results were entirely different.
Carter recorded eight of the first nine outs via the K, but the Buffaloes seemingly took advantage of every little mistake he or the Cougars would make in racing to a 4-0 lead during that span. McAlester then took advantage of a tiring Carter to score five more runs in the top of the fourth and rolled past Ada 15-2 in five-inning, rule-rule victory.
McAlester, ranked No. 12 in Class 5A, improved to 13-8 on the year while the 15th-rated Cougars slid to 7-13.
McAlester speedster Tyler Crabtree led off the game with a single and was promptly moved to second by a sacrifice bunt by Carter Cumbie. Jimmy Williams, who hurt the Cougars all evening, then came up with a big two-out, RBI hit to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The out by Cumbie was the only out during the first three innings that didn’t come in the form of a Carter strikeout.
A walk to Clint Redding and the first of six Ada errors during the contest jump-started the McAlester second inning. Carter responded with two straight Ks, but Crabtree belted a two-RBI single after battling back from an 0-2 count to push the McAlester lead to 3-0.
Jake Wood singled to start the MHS third and Wilson followed with an RBI double to make it 4-0 Buffaloes. But Carter stranded Wilson at third by striking out the next three McAlester hitters.
Ada cut the McAlester lead in half, making it 4-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Ryan Kinder led off with a single but was erased on a fielder’s choice ground ball back to the pitcher by Drew Elliott. Kobi Cupps hit a two-out single to left to put runners at first and second before Mark Byers and Cale Russell each drove in runs with back-to-back run-scoring hits.
But that was all she wrote for Ada’s offense against the wily Mason who struck out nine and allowed just one other hit — a leadoff single by Russell in the second that preceded three straight strikeouts — in the other four Ada at-bats.
A Wilson three-run homer over the center field wall highlighted McAlester’s five-run fourth inning that broke the game open and the Buffs scored six more times in the fifth thanks mostly to four Ada errors and a two-run blast by Mason. Wilson would end his monster game a perfect 4-for-4 with six RBIs. Crabtree went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and scored three times while Redding and Mason had two hits each.
Carter finished with nine strikeouts but had thrown over 120 pitches by the time McAlester put together its big fourth-inning volley. The Ada ace went to a full count nine different times during the game.
Russell had two of Ada’s four hits while Byers went 1-for-1 with an RBI and Cupps — who was robbed of a base hit when Redding made a diving catch of his line drive for the final out of the game — finished 1-for-3.
Ada will try to shake off the tough loss when Tecumseh visits Cougar Field for a noon contest on Saturday. The Cougars then travel to local rival Byng Monday at 4:30 p.m.