So much for rust after relaxation for Ada’s Legion Post 72 Braves.
Nine days removed from a 12-2 victory over Rogers County (Okla.) to close out the University of Arkansas Festival, the Braves prepped for their final tournament trip of the season with two more run-rule victories over Ardmore Monday night at Lone Grove. The host Cardinals came into the game having won seven of their previous eight games, including back-to-back doubleheaders sweeps of the Oklahoma City Ruffnecks and a McAlester Legion squad that Ada will play in its zone tournament on July 15.
In the opener, three Ada pitchers combined on a one-hitter and struck out 12 over five innings, and Blake Logan and Matt Johnson homered and drove in nine runs between them to highlight a 15-hit attack as the Braves cruised 14-4; in the nightcap, Saulyer Saxon had three hits, including a homer, and Jesse Cashman added a pair of two-run doubles in a 12-2 victory.
With the two wins, the Braves (18-15) moved three games above .500 for the first time this season and can match their longest winning streak of the summer with a victory over Post 312 from St. Charles, Mo., in their opener—scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday—at the American Wood Bat Classic in Silver Springs, Mo.
“Everybody hit the ball, so I felt pretty good about that,” Ada coach Travis Graham said after getting at least one hit from eight of the nine spots in his batting order in each of Monday’s games. Monday’s sweep. “Our pitchers didn’t get extended work, but they made the most of the time they did have out there.
“I was afraid we weren’t going to come back hitting the ball,” he added, “but we saw some good pitching and hit some good pitching.”
Ada 14, Ardmore 4
Ardmore (15-15) scored a pair of unearned runs without benefit of a hit in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead, but it was all Ada for the rest of the night. The Braves scored six runs in both the second and third innings to grab a 12-2 lead and outscored their hosts, 26-4, over the final nine innings of the doubleheader.
Logan singled and Johnson homered on consecutive pitches following a four-pitch leadoff walk to Tyler Porter in the second to give Ada a 3-2 lead, and singles by Jake Sanders, Nolan Fanning, Ryan Stoup, Tim Wallen and Logan later in the inning produced three more runs to make it 6-2.
In the third, leadoff singles by Sanders and Fanning kick-started another six-run outburst capped by Johnson’s two-run single. In between, the Braves got RBI singles from Wallen and Logan, and two other runs scored on an error and a passed ball.
Ada wrapped up the scoring in the fifth on a leadoff homer by Logan (his fourth hit of the game) and Fanning’s sacrifice fly to score Johnson.
Logan was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs, Johnson was 2-for-3 and scored two runs while driving in five, and Sanders and Fanning had their first three-hit games of the season and combined to scored three runs and drive in two.
The 14 runs were more than enough for a rested Braves pitching staff. Jon Gray (1-0), making just his second start of the summer, struck out four over the first two innings, David Cagle fanned five over the next two innings, and Les Wesberry struck out the side while giving up two more unearned runs in his only inning of work in the fifth.
Ada 12, Ardmore 2
Cashman’s first double and RBI singles by Wesberry and Shakir McCillip in the top of the first gave Ada a 4-0 lead, and the Braves—who scored eight unanswered runs after Ardmore’s Josiah Custer hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning—finished with 14 hits en route to the easy win.
Saxon homered leading off the second inning to extend Ada’s lead to 5-2, and his two-run double was the big blow in a three-run third-inning outburst that broke the game open. Wallen followed Saxon’s double with an RBI single to make it 8-2.
The Braves ended the game on the run rule with four more runs—all after two men were out—in the fifth. Saxon started the rally with a one-out walk, Wallen doubled with two outs, and both scored on throwing errors. Logan was then hit by a pitch and Johnson walked ahead of Cashman’s second double—and third hit—of the game.
In addition to Cashman’s first three-hit effort of the season, Ada also got three hits and three RBIs from Saxon and two hits and an RBI from Wesberry in the win.
Braves starter Blake Wheat (5-2) took over the staff lead in victories despite giving up Custer’s homer, then he teamed with Porter, Jordan Boone and Logan to allow the Cardinals just one hit in their final four at-bats.