After gift wrapping three runs for Atoka in the top half of the fifth inning that allowed the Wampus Cats to pull within 6-4, it looked like Ada would go down quietly in their half of the fifth.
But a funny thing happened when a ground ball off the bat of Easton Pingleton was on its way toward Atoka second baseman Tyler Cochran.
With runners at second and third with two outs, it looked like Pingleton had hit into a routine groundout. But when the ball hit the edge of the grass, it spun past a charging Cochran into right field, allowing two Ada runs to score. The Cougars would take advantage of the lucky bounce and score three more times in the inning and pulled away for a 11-4 victory.
Ada won its fourth straight game and improved to 10-11 on the spring while Atoka — which entered the game winning four of its last five contests — slipped to 14-10.
“We’re kind of on a little run here which is good. Hopefully we can keep it going,” said Ada head coach Ronny Johns. “There’s still little things we need to get better at, and really want to improve on.”
Pingleton was credited with two RBIs on the strange base hit and he would later score on an RBI single by Cale Russell to make it 9-4. Cody Johnson followed with an RBI single of his own to plate Russell and then courtesy runner Andrew Leach motored home on Atoka’s sixth error for the final run of the game.
The Cougars, needing a single run to end the game via the run-rule, strung together three base hits in the bottom of the sixth but failed to score. One Ada runner was caught stealing and Jackson Boone —- who reached on a two-out single and then stole second — was thrown out at home trying to score on a base hit by brother Jordan Boone on a fine relay from Atoka left fielder L.T. Pfaff to shortstop R.W. Royal to catcher Blake Keeton.
Ada got four runs in the bottom of the first. Jordan Boone led off with a base hit and Atoka starter Ethan Mize beaned Pingleton. After a double steal, Russell drove them in with a two-run single to left field.
Cody Johnson followed with an infield hit to put runners at the corners before Mason Girdley smacked a fly ball double to center field to drive in Ada’s third run. Johnson scored his team’s final run of the opening frame on a sacrifice fly by Caleb Balch.
The Wampus Cats finally got on the scoreboard when Jonathan Slade hit a no-doubt-about-it home run with one out in the top of the third inning.
Ada scored single unearned runs in the third and fourth innings to go on top 6-1. Balch was credited with an RBI on a groundout in the third and Russell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Ada spoiled a golden opportunity for more runs in the fourth, getting runners and second and third with two outs. But Mason Girdley hit a smash back to the pitcher for the third out and Scott Johnson grounded out for a bonus out when the umpires didn’t realize the number of outs Atoka had recorded.
Jordan Boone, Ada’s starter, earned the win, surrendering just the home run in four strong innings. He struck out six, hit a pair of batters and walked just one before a hip injury forced him from the mound.
Cody Johnson, who surrendered the three unearned runs in relief in the fifth, held Atoka scoreless over the final two frames. In fact, he needed just three pitches to retire the side in the top of the seventh and end the game.
Jordan Boone helped his own cause, going 3-for-5 at the top of the Ada batting order. Russell, Cody Johnson and Jackson Boone all had two hits apiece in a 12-hit Cougar offensive attack. Balch finished 1-for-2 with two RBIs for the hosts.
Slade and Royal had two hits each for Atoka.
Ada now turns its attention to a trip to McAlester Thursday at 5 p.m. for a rematch with the archrival Buffaloes (No. 10 in Class 5A). McAlester plastered the Cougars 13-2 last month in the season-opener for both teams.
“We were really disappointed in the way we played opening day, so we’re looking forward to trying to get a little revenge on Thursday,” Johns said.