Big blast

Ada's Cale Russell, in action above earlier this spring, hit a monstrous three-run homer to center field at the spacious Ed Skelton Field in Shawnee against the host Wolves but the Cougars still fell short, dropping an 8-6 decision. The game was part of pool play at the Bill Tipton VI Tournament hosted by Carl Albert.

Photo by Richard R. Barron
Ada Evening News

SHAWNEE — The Ada Cougars were just a little too generous in their first two games at Carl Albert’s Bill Tipton VI Tournament.

Ranked No. 16 in Class 5A this week, Ada repeatedly handed both Yukon (No. 6 in Class 6A) and Shawnee extra baserunners Wednesday afternoon at Shawnee’s Ed Skelton Field, and the Cougars ended their day by giving away a huge scoring opportunity against the Wolves en route to 9-0 and 8-6 losses that dropped them to 8-16 on the season and to the bottom of their pool heading into the second day of the four-day event.

Ada coach Ronny Johns turned to his ace, senior lefty Tyler Carter, this morning at 11 a.m. against Lawton MacArthur, and the Cougars will wrap up pool play Friday against the Broncos, a home school team from Oklahoma City that beat Shawnee, 16-6, in Wednesday’s opener.

Shawnee 8, Ada 6

Shawnee (8-16) carried an 8-3 lead to the sixth inning, when senior lefthander Saulyer Saxon ran into some control problems and a little bad luck.

Saxon, who had surrendered only three hits — one of them Cale Russell’s majestic three-run home run in the third — through five innings, gave up a bloop single to Caleb Balch leading off the sixth that landed on the right-field line behind first base. Alex Winton followed with a sharp single to left, and Ryan Kinder loaded the bases with nobody out on another bloop hit that landed among three Shawnee defenders in shallow left-center.

Easton Pingleton then drew a four-pitch walk to force in Ada’s fourth run, and leadoff hitter Dillon Bolin was safe at first when Saxon bobbled his tapper back to the mound, scoring Winton with the second run in the inning and reloading the bases, still with nobody out. Saxon came back to get two outs in the space of four pitches, retiring Kobi Cupps on a soft liner to shallow left and striking out Mark Byers on three pitches, before Russell reached on the second Shawnee error in the frame after a tough eight-pitch at-bat as Kinder scored.

The threat ended, though, when Carter hit into a fielder’s choice, and Saxon worked around another error to pitch a scoreless seventh and finish off a gutsy 127-pitch complete-game effort.

Shawnee scored an unearned run with the help of two Ada errors in the first to take a 1-0 lead, and the Wolves made it 4-0 in the second when leadoff hitter Brayle Brown — who had scored the game’s first run after reaching on an error — lined a three-run homer to left in the second. Brown’s blast came after Tanner Heatley had led off the inning with a single and Dalton Pickering had been hit by a pitch from Ada pitcher Jordan Boone. Pickering was the first of six Wolves hit by pitches in the game and one of eight batters hit in the Cougars’two games Wednesday.

Ada finally got on the board in the third when Russell followed a single by Bolin and a walk to Cupps with one out with his two-out, three-run shot over the scoreboard in dead center field. But Shawnee’s Cooper Ansell lined a solo homer to left leading off the bottom of the inning, and the Wolves added three more runs in the fifth, again with the help of a hit batter.

Bolin — who had relieved Boone in the fourth with runners at first and second and one out and had ended the inning in one pitch when he coaxed a line drive off the bat of Dylan Johnson that Drew Elliott (Bolin’s replacement in center field when he moved to the mound) turned into an 8-4 double play — walked Saxon on four pitches leading off the fifth. He then hit Ansell with an 0-1 pitch and, after both runners moved up on a sacrifice, Heatley lined a double to left to make it 7-3.

Bolin came back to strike out Nick Berry but gave up a single to left to Kassidy Cook two pitches later that plated the final Shawnee run.

Heatley and Dylan Johnson had two hits apiece to pace Shawnee’s seven-hit attack, while Russell finished with two of Ada’s six hits in the loss.

Yukon 9, Ada 0

Winton, Ada’s starting pitcher, caused a few of his own problems, but he definitely deserved a better fate.

Although he hit two batters (one later scored and the other forced in a run) and gave up nine hits — including a home run and two doubles — over five innings, Winton was the victim of some unbelievably bad luck in the first two innings, when the Millers scored seven of their nine runs.

In contrast, Yukon starter Joseph Dieball appeared to be on cruise control. The sophomore righthander needed just 51 pitches — 41 of them strikes — to breeze through five innings, and he gave up only four hits — two by Winton — while throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 20 batters he faced.

Tanner Feland started the Yukon first by striking out looking at a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner, and three pitches later, Colt Pickens lifted a routine fly ball on the infield. Shortstop Cade Griggs called off Kinder (who started at second base) just behind the mound, but at the last instant Griggs appeared to lose the ball in the sun, and it landed behind him for an infield hit.

Winton then jumped ahead of Brandon Ruiz 0-2 before hitting him with the next pitch, and he got a quick strike on cleanup Hunter Bohannon, who lined the next pitch he saw to left-center for a three-run homer.

After striking out the final two Yukon batters in the first, Winton got a quick out to start the second, but Yukon eight and nine-hole hitters Hunter Meyn and Blaze Lovato reached on back-to-back errors, and Meyn scored Yukon’s fourth run on Feland’s sacrifice fly. Pickens followed with a sharp single to left, then Ruiz lifted another pop fly behind the mound that nobody touched for another cheap infield single to load the bases.

Winton, who should have been out the of the inning much earlier, then hit Bohannon to load the bases and surrendered a two-run single to Kyle Gibson that plated the last of Yukon’s four unearned runs in the frame.

After his shaky start, Winton settled down to retire the Millers in the third and fourth innings, although, ironically, he needed a nice play from his defense in each inning.

In the third, Dustin Gibson led off with a double to left-center, and Mayne followed with a ground ball to third. Balch fielded it cleanly, but his throw sailed over the head of Russell at first base and into foul territory. Russell retrieved the ball, however, and gunned down Gibson at the plate, and Winton retired the next two hitters to end the inning.

In the fourth, Cupps — the Ada left fielder — raced into left-center to catch a one-out line drive by Ruiz, and the pay became even bigger when Bohannon reached on an infield hit and Gibson walked.

Yukon finally ended the game on the run rule, though, when Winton walked Dustin Gibson leading off the fifth and gave up a line-drive homer to Meyne two pitches later.

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