ADA — The Ada High baseball team appeared to have given Sulphur just enough help for the Bulldogs to swipe a victory at Cougar Field Thursday night.
The Cougars scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and then pushed across the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth to snatch a wild 10-9 victory.
Ada — ranked No. 16 in Class 5A — improved to 6-10 on the year while Sulphur fell to 7-9.
“We did a good job of coming back and I’m proud of them for that,” head coach Ronny Johns said of the sometimes-ugly win. “We need to do a better job defensively, and we missed some signals and had some base-running mistakes. But we’re glad to get the win, that’s for sure.”
Ada committed four errors in the game and only four of Sulphur’s nine runs were earned. Sulphur was also aided by four early walks and a hit batter to rush to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
The Cougars tied the game with a five-spot in the bottom of the third.
After Sulphur hurler Heath Helderman got two quick outs to start the inning, he loaded the bases with three consecutive walks to the top of the Ada batting order. Cale Russell then drove in Ada’s first run with an RBI single, Mark Byers was hit by a pitch to force in a run and DH Jordan Boone walked with the bases full. Caleb Balch then slapped a two-run single to right to tie the game at 5-5.
Sulphur regained the lead at 7-5 on Ty Williams’ second two-run double of the game in the top of the fourth.
Ada got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Drew Elliott walked and later crossed the plate on an RBI-groundout by Kobi Cupps.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the top of the fifth. Leslie Stanford led off with a base hit and Austin McKenzie reached safely on the fourth Ada error of the game. Aaron Odell followed with an RBI single while McKenzie scored on an groundout by Keifer Bonham to give Sulphur a 9-6 advantage.
Ada got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Boone singled and Balch followed by blasting a line drive that, at first, looked like it may leave the park. But the ball ricocheted off the left-field wall after hitting just above the ‘C’ in Cougar for an RBI double.
The hosts still trailed 9-7 heading to the bottom of the seventh before rallying.
Byers led off with a base hit up the middle before Balch reached on a Sulphur error. Easton Pingleton punched a base hit to right field to load the bases before Sulphur reliever Kelby Luna recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Dillon Bolin then hit a ground ball up the middle that Sulphur shortstop Williams fielded nicely just behind the second-base bag. But SHS first baseman Austin McKenzie couldn’t corral a one-hop throw from Williams, allowing two Ada runs to score that knotted the game a 9-9.
Ada won it in the eighth when Tyler Carter singled, Russell was walked intentionally and Byers made Sulphur coach Darron Henson pay for that decision by cracking a double over Helderman’s head in center field that plated the game-winner for the Cougars.
“I was proud of some of the kids like Caleb Balch, who struggled a bit defensively and then came back and had some big hits at the plate and Dillon Bolin (Ada’s starting pitcher) who walked a few batters early and then settled down and pitched better,” Johns said.
Ryan Kinder was dazzling in relief for Ada. He struck out three and retired all nine batters he faced to earn his first mound win of the spring.
“Ryan went out and did his job. He pitched well,” Johns said.
Russell had three of Ada’s 11 hits while Byers had two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs. Balch finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs for the Cougars.
Williams led Sulphur, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs while Skyler Betterton went 2-for-5 and scored twice.
Ada is back in action Saturday, traveling to Ardmore for a noon contest. Sulphur is scheduled to host Holdenville today at 4:30 p.m.