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Three Rivers too much Ada Post 72 shortstop Jake Sanders, shown here in action earlier this season, delivered an RBI single as part of a two-run first inning, but the Braves were eliminated by Muskogee Three Rivers, 8-4, Saturday night at the American Legion State Tournament in Bartlesville. The loss was the Braves’ second of the week to Three Rivers, which was defeated, 9-2, by the defending champion Oklahoma Outlaws in Saturday night’s championship game. Ada finished the season at 28-18.

Photo by Richard R. Barron
Ada Evening News

The Ada Legion Post 72 Braves headed to the American Legion State Tournament in Bartlesville Wednesday with hopes of dethroning the Midwest City-based Oklahoma Outlaws—the team that beat them in the “if-necessary” championship game last year—and claiming the Ada area’s first Legion Majors state title in two decades. 

As things work out, though, the Braves never met the Outlaws.

Upstart Muskogee Three Rivers, which entered the week as the No. 4 seed, rallied from a 6-0 deficit to shove Ada into the loser’s bracket with a 10-8 win Thursday, then rallied from an early deficit once again for an 8-4 victory Saturday night to send the Braves — who won twice Friday to stave off elimination — home in third place.

Saturday’s loss was just the third in 16 games for Ada (28-18) to close out the season, and the Braves scored plenty of runs in Bartlesville (59 in five games).

But the pitching staff that had carried the team to eight wins in its last nine regular-season games struggled in the postseason, allowing 13 runs in two wins at the the zone tournament and 48 more in five state tournament contests.

With his pitching staff stretched thin after Friday’s two games, Ada coach Travis Graham called on Les Wesberry to make his first start of the season against Three Rivers Saturday. 

Wesberry carried a 2-0 lead into the second inning, when Three Rivers — which lost to the Outlaws, 9-2, in Saturday night’s championship game — touched him for seven runs to take the lead for good.

Three Rivers’ big inning began with back-to-back bunt singles by Devon Rineheart and T. J. Christian, and Cam’ron Summers capped the rally with a two-run double off reliever Rhett Acker.

Ada, which had rallied from a seven-run deficit in a first-round win over the OKC Ruf-Neks and from 6-1 down to beat Ardmore Friday’s first elimination game, had runners on base in every inning Saturday, but the Braves couldn’t put their signature big inning together against Three Rivers ace Trey Wiley. 

The Post 72 offense started fast, scoring two first-inning runs on a leadoff double by Saulyer and RBI singles by Jake Sanders and Tanner Bell to take an early 2-0 lead, then Wiley settled down to allow just two runs the rest of the way while tossing his team’s third complete game of the tournament.  

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