BYNG — The Ada Cougars had trouble scoring runs durng the first few weeks of the spring season.

A loss to Coalgate Friday in consolation play at the 2006 Hill-Prescott Memorial Tournament may have given head coach Ronny Johns flashbacks.

Coalgate freshman hurler Luke Palmer kept the Ada offense on its heels the entire day as the Wildcats surprised the Cougars 4-1.

Ada — No. 8 in Class 5A — fell to 16-12 on the year while Coalgate (No. 7 in Class 2A) stayed alive in tournament play while improving to 18-9.

"We're not hitting the ball right now and their kid did a good job keeping us off balance.We're just not hitting the ball hard right now ... but maybe we're getting it out of our system," Johns said.

Ada lost the battle of the Palmers as Chad was on the hill for the Cougars. He surrendered just four hits in six innings.

"Chad threw a good game again, and we played good defense behind him. We just didn't hit," Johns said.

Ada scored its runs in the top of the first when Philip Tweedy ripped a one-out double down the left field line and raced home on a two-out base hit by Chase Sanders. But after that Luke Palmer — and a rock solid, error-free Coalgate defense — wouldn't let Ada score again.

Luke Palmer (4-0) struck out seven and scattered seven hits in the complete-game outing.

"He hits his spots and keeps the ball down. He did a really good job for us," Coalgate head coach Phil Wilkinson said.

"We've been kind of kicking the ball around a little bit and our goal today was to come out and not make any errors, and I don't think we did. I thought we played pretty good defense. When he hits his spots and we play good defense, good things will happen," he added

The Wildcats quickly tied the score in the bottom of the first when Thomas Madden led off with a walk, went all the way to third on Ada's only error of the game and scored on an RBI single by Aaron Guinn. But after that, Chad Palmer looked like he would take control of the game, retiring the next 11 CHS hitters in a row.

Coalgate scored the go-ahead run in the botom of the fifth when Luke Palmer reached on an infield hit. Chad Palmer then recorded two quick outs with the runner at second. But Luke Palmer went to third on a passed ball and scored on another infield hit — this time by Madden.

Guinn followed a walk to A.J. Acker with a towering home run to right field to give Coalgate some insurance in the bottom of the sixth.

The Cougars had ample opportunity to push across a few more runs. After the first-inning tally, Ada stranded runners in scoring position in each of the next four innings and had a runner at first after batting in the sixth. But Luke Palmer had his only 1-2-3 inning in the seventh, striking out two of the final three batters he faced.

"Theyre a good ball team. You always like to play well against the good ball teams, and I think we did that," Wilkinson said.

Tweedy ended up with three of Ada's seven hits. In fact he and Quaid Johns finished a combined 5-for-7 for the contest while the rest of the team went 2-for-21.

Ty Gower made the defensive play of the day for Ada when he dove to make a catch and rob Tagus Horton of a hit in the sixth. Spencer Penrod also made a nice catch near the wall in left field on a hard-hit ball from Luke Palmer.

Madden — Coalgate's shortstop — was solid all day and snared a line drive running to his left off the bat of Quaid Johns in the fourth to help keep the Ada offense in check.

Ada will try to rebound Monday, hosting Seminole (No. 11 in Class 4A) at 4:30 p.m. at Cougar Field.