Tyler Carter walked the first Noble batter he faced Tuesday during Senior Night at Cougar Field.
Then, Tyler Carter got serious.
Carter didn’t walk another batter, worked around the only two hits he surrendered in the top of the fourth and struck out 12 in six innings to help the Cougar cruise past the Bears 9-1.
Ada improved to 12-18 on the year while Noble stumbled to 10-20.
Ada head coach Ronny Johns was happy to see his four seniors — Carter, Mark Byers, Alex Winton and Kobi Cupps — win their last game at Cougar Field.
“It’s always good to win on Senior Night. It’s good to see those guys win their final home game. Those are four guys that have worked really hard for four years, and have down a good job for us,” Johns said.
Noble scored a run without the aid of a hit in top of the third inning (thanks to two of three Ada errors on the evening) and grabbed the early 1-0 advantage.
Ada answered in the bottom half of the third. Ryan Kinder and Easton Pingleton led off with back-to-back singles (Pingleton’s coming after two failed sacrifice bunt attempts put him behind in the count). Kinder scored from third on a passed ball and Pingleton was plated on an RBI double by Dillon Bolin. With one out and Bolin on third, Cale Russell lined out to left field. Bolin started toward home, hesitated, and then tried to beat the throw but Noble outfielder Bernard Rabbitt gunned him down, leaving Ada with a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars used a big six-run volley in the bottom of the fourth (thanks in part to three Noble errors) to break the game open. Winton and Kinder hit consecutive RBI singles to get the Ada surge going and Cupps later belted a three-run, two-out double that got over Rabbitt’s head in left. Russell followed with a run-scoring hit to push the Ada lead to 8-1.
Ada finally ended the game via the run-rule with an error-aided run in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cougars got nine hits by seven different players in the contest. Carter and Kinder both had two hits to lead the pack while Pingleton scored three runs.
When the Bears got their only hits of the game in the fourth, they had runners at first and second with one out. After a Carter K, Rabbitt reached base on an errant throw that got away from Russell at first base. The Ada first baseman recovered the ball quickly enough, however, to throw a strike to catcher Byers, who tagged Alex Kigler — who tried to score all the way from second on the play — out at the plate to end that threat.
Ada travels to Sulphur on Monday before heading to Edmond for Class 5A Regional Tournament play — to be hosted by Deer Creek High School — Wednesday afternoon.
The top-ranked Antlers will face Capitol Hill at 1:30 p.m. with Ada battling the same Noble Bears squad it handled Thursday night in a 4 p.m., first-round contest. The two losers will then square off at 6:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
A winner’s bracket game is set for 4 p.m. Thursday with another do-or-die contest taking place at 6:30 p.m.
The championship and if-necessary contests are set for 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. next Friday.
“You’re going to have to play good ones at some point anyway. The way 5A is, your going to have a tough draw no matter where you go. We’ll go up there and compete and get after them,” Johns said of having to tangle with the No. 1 team in the state at regionals.
Johns realizes it will be an uphill battle to get past Deer Creek and earn a spot in the 5A State Tournament, but said his players and coaching staff are preparing to grab the bull by the horns ... or in this case, Antlers.
“I think our kids are looking forward to that challenge,” he said. “Deer Creek is a good club, but it’s going to be fun to go up and compete. You never know what might happen.”
Ada-Noble Boxscore and 5A Regional Pairings
At Cougar Field
Ada 9, Noble 1
NOBLE 001 000 — 1 2 6
ADA 002 601 — 9 9 3
Blake Lee, Jake Romo (5) and John Whitlock. Tyler Carter and Mark Byers. WP-Carter (6-3). LP-Lee. 2B-Dillon Bolin, Kobi Cupps (A). HL-Whitlock 1-2, Alex Kigler 1-3 (N); Carter 2-3, 12 Ks, Ryan Kinder 2-3, 2 RS, RBI, Bolin 1-3, RBI, Cupps 1-4, 3 RBIs, Cale Russell 1-4, RBI, Alex Winton 1-3, RBI, Easton Pingleton 1-3, 3 RS (A).
CLASS 5A REGIONAL
At Deer Creek
Wednesday, May 5
Game 1: Deer Creek vs. Capitol Hill, 1:30 p.m.
Game 2: ADA vs. Noble, 4 p.m.
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 6
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 7
Game 6: Championship, 4 p.m.
Game 7: If-Necessary, 6:30 p.m.