ADA — The Ada Cougars found a new way to win against rival Ardmore Monday night at Cougar Field.

Ty Gower threw out Ardmore’s Jordan McClintick at home plate with two outs in the top of the seventh to end the game and help preserve the Cougars’ nail-biting 6-5 victory.

Coach Ronny Johns saw his team — ranked No. 8 in this week’s CoachesAid 5A poll — improve to 16-10 on the year while No. 15 Ardmore fell to 7-20.

“We seem to be covering all the bases so far, but that’s good. I’ll take it,” Johns said.

It looked like Ada would roll to victory after scoring four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-0 lead and pushing the lead to 6-1 with a pair of runs in the fourth.

The Tigers still trailed 6-3 heading into the final inning but made things more than interesting before a comeback attempt was cut short.

Johnny Roberson, who had struck out in two previous at bats, walked to lead off the inning before reliever Clint Bowker replaced starter Willy Gould and promptly beaned nine-hole hitter Kelby Price.

“We put the eight and nine hole on base with no outs (in the seventh) and didn’t make them swing it. That got us in trouble,” Johns noted.

A passed ball advanced the runners before Lionel Jiminez pushed one run across with an RBI groundout.

Back-to-back singles by McClintick and Keith Todd produced another Ardmore run and cut the Ada advantage to 6-5 with runners still at first and second.

Bowker struck out four-hole hitter Steven Lee for the second out of the inning before Austin Williams hit a sharp single to right field. Gower fielded the ball quickly and cleanly and fired toward home and Ada catcher Alex Leach made the catch and turned to tag McClintick who was waved around third in a bang-bang play at the plate.

“Ty throws the ball well from the outfield and he has all year. It really wasn’t surprising to see him make the play, but he did a great job. It’s one thing to do it all the time in practice, but it’s another to do it in a game and he did it. And he threw a strike,” Johns said.

Gower said he was glad to get the opportunity to make the game-ending play.

“It’s something you execute every day in practice. It’s the pregame ritual basically. You always hope something like that will win you a ballgame and for us it did today,” he said. “I was telling myself ‘Somebody hit it to me. Somebody hit it to me.’ I just came up and made a play. Luckily it was hit hard enough that it came up to me ... and I caught it like I was supposed to and cut loose.”

Leach, who had taken a foul ball to an already sore thumb and another to the neck, turned and made a nice tag on the hustling McClintick.

“It really probably shouldn’t have come down to that, but it was a good way to win the game. I caught it on a good one-hop and just hung in there. Ty made a good throw,” he said.

Philip Tweedy started Ada’s four-run first inning with a single to right field and Bowker hit a ball that got by McClintick at third for an error.

Chase Sanders then just missed hitting his fifth home run in sixth game when his RBI double clanged off the top of the wall in left-center. Gower drove in the second run of the game with an RBI groundout and then Quaid Johns followed with a walk.

With runners at second and third, Chad Palmer hit a shallow fly ball that dropped just in front of a diving Price in center field for a bloop double that drove in two more Ada runs to make it 4-0.

Ardmore scored it first run in the second when Lee reached on an infield hit, stole second was sacrifice to third and raced home on a sacrifice fly by DH Micah Query.

In the bottom of the fourth, Leach started things off with an infield single and then things got a little strange. Leach scored on back-to-back errors on sacrifice bunt attemps by Josh Balch and Tweedy.

Tweedy was promptly picked off by Ardmore starting pitcher Stanton St. Clair and then Clint Bowker walked to put runners at the corners. Balch would then score when he and Bowker pulled off a successful double steal.

The Cougars would end up stranding nine baserunners in the contest, included leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.

“We squandered some scoring opportunities all day again and let them hang around,” Johns said. “We have to execute a little bit better and get some runs in when we can. And our pitchers need to make sure they throw strikes when you have a lead there in the late innings, especially when you have the bottom part of the order up.”

Tweedy went 2-for-3 and was the only Ada player with more than one hit. Bowker swiped three bases for the hosts, who managed just six hits in the game.

McClintick had two hits to lead a seven-hit Ardmore attack but the Tigers were hurt by four errors.

Ada will now get two much-needed days of rest before competing in the Hill-Prescott Memorial Tournament in Byng begginning Thursday night. The Cougars face Prague at 5:30 p.m. Ada has played eight games in the past 10 days.

“The Byng Tournament is always tough. We have two days now to get rested up a little bit and get ready for that. I think we’re a little bit tired. We’ve gone on a little streak with not many days off. Hopefully we can rest up and get ready for Prague on Thursday. They’re a good club. But all three days in that tournament, you’re going to see a good team so you better hook up,” Johns said.