By DAVID SEELEY
ADA — After beginning the week with a win, the Ada Cougars baseball team ended the week the same way.
Ada junior pitcher Dillon Bolin threw a one-hit shutout as the Cougars blanked the Tecumseh Savages 4-0 Saturday afternoon at Cougar Field.
Bolin, who got his first win of the season to improve his record to 1-3, struck out seven batters in the seven-inning performance — and allowed only one Tecumseh baserunner to get as far as third base.
“He really came out and picked us up,” Ada coach Ronny Johns said about Bolin’s performance. “It was a good way to end the week, and, hopefully, it will jump-start us next week.”
But the defense by the Cougars (8-13), ranked 15th in Class 5A, had something to do with that as well. After Bolin retired six of the first seven batters he faced over the first two innings, the Savages (11-11), ranked 19th in Class 4A, tried to get something going off Bolin in the third. With one out, a walk to Tecumseh leadoff batter Tyler Factor put runners at first and second. But Bolin then got a ground ball off the bat of Trenton Patten to Ada third baseman Caleb Balch, who stepped on third base for the second out and then threw out Patten for the inning-ending double play.
In the fourth inning, Tecumseh’s Kevin Hill led off with a single (the Savages’ only hit off Bolin), went to second on an errant pick-off throw by Bolin, and advanced to third base on a wild pitch with one out. But Bolin retired the next two batters, one by strikeout, to end the threat.
Hunter Montgomery led off Tecumseh’s fifth inning with a fast-falling fly ball to center field, but Ada center fielder Drew Elliott made a diving catch for the first out and that led to a 1-2-3 inning for Bolin and company.
With two outs in the sixth, Bolin walked Colter Williams to put runners at first and second, but the Ada pitcher struck out the next batter to end the inning. Bolin ended the game with a 1-2-3 inning, in which two of the three outs were strikeouts No. 6 and 7.
“They had some opportunities,” Johns said. “We were able to work out of them. It was real good to see us make some plays in tight spots, because that’s something we haven’t been doing lately.”
And the Cougars needed the combination of Bolin’s pitching and their defense because Ada had only five hits over six innings — but the Cougars did score runs, where the Savages did not.
In the opening inning, Cale Russell reached first base on a Tecumseh error to put runners at first and second. Four pitches later, Tyler Carter slapped a single down the left-field line which scored Bolin, who was hit by a pitch to lead things off, to make it 1-0.
On the play, the ball got past Factor in left field, allowing Russell to get to third base. The Ada baserunner tried to score on the play, and, while the throw to Patten at home plate was on the mark, the Tecumseh catcher dropped the ball while trying to tag out Russell. Thus, Russell was safe, and Ada was up 2-0 after an inning.
The Cougars missed a golden scoring chance in the second inning as Jordan Boone let off with a ground-rule double, and got to third on a wild pitch. But Ryan Kinder’s line drive was snared by Tecumseh starting pitcher John Jones (2-3 after suffering the loss for Tecumseh), who threw to third base to get Boone for the double play.
In the third inning, Ada got a lead-off single by Bolin, but he was doubled off on a ground ball hit by Kobi Cupps to put an end to that threat.
However, the Cougars did get a run in the fourth inning as Kinder’s sacrifice fly scored Carter to make it 3-0 after four innings. But in that inning, Ada had the bases loaded with only one out, and got just the single tally.
Ada’s final run scored in the sixth inning when Mason Girdley, pinch-running for Russell who led off the inning with a single, scored on a wild pitch, to make it 4-0.
For the game, Carter was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a run batted in for Ada.
The win, and the way in which it was achieved, may be something the Cougars can build on as they get ready for another busy week ahead.
“We were able to scratch across some runs,” Johns said. “I’m really proud of them. We played pretty well, and maybe this will get us going. We’ve got Byng on Monday (at 4:30 p.m. at Byng’s Stokes Field), then we go into the Carl Albert Tournament (beginning Wednesday) where we’ll have (Class) 6A Shawnee and Yukon — then, we’ll have a tough (Class) 5A game against Lawton MacArthur.”
Ada will play the first three days of the Carl Albert Tournament at Shawnee’s Ed Skelton Field before playing a single game Saturday at Carl Albert High School.