MCLOUD — Ada’s 10-5 extra-inning loss to defending Class 5A state champ Carl Albert in the second game of Thursday’s Red Dirt League postseason tournament doubleheader at McLoud was an obvious disappointment for coach Ronny Johns and his young squad.

But as it related to the Cougars’ prospects for next spring, the game was almost as good as a win.

With his pitching staff stretched to the limit and facing the prospect of a long weekend in Chickasha if the Cougars advance out of pool play, Johns was forced to send junior Willy Gould — who had thrown 118 pitches through seven innings — out for the eighth, and Carl Albert exploded for five runs to finally put Ada away.

Until that outburst, though, the Cougars had given the Titans quite a tussle, rallying from a late 5-2 deficit and tying the game with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. To that point, Ada — which had only center fielder Philip Tweedy and first baseman Quaid Johns in the positions Thursday they manned in the state tournament last month — had out-hit Carl Albert 9-8 and Gould, although his own worst enemy at times, had kept the Titans off balance with a sharp breaking ball and sheer guts on a day when the temperatures reached the mid-90s.

A pair of errors on the same play in the sixth inning led to Carl Albert’s fifth run, and a baserunning mistake in the fourth cost the Cougars a chance to win the game in regulation, but three spectacular efforts by Tweedy saved at least three runs and gave Johns’ club a chance to upset their old rivals.

Gould finally wilted in the heat and was relieved by Balch after giving up a three-run homer to Matt Borum on his 146th pitch of the game, but Johns said the performance of his young right-hander and of his team as a whole should bode well for the future.

“They didn’t give up ... I’m pleased with that,” Johns said. “It’s good to see that attitude carry over from this spring. Willy battled and got out of some jams, but with our JV players not available (Ada’s younger players were competing Thursday at the Red Dirt junior varsity tournament), I had to leave him out there.”

The loss probably ended the Cougars’ chances to be the No. 1 seed out of their pool, but a 10-8 victory over host McLoud earlier in the afternoon put Ada in a good position to be one of three teams to advance out of the four-team pool and into the tournament’s second round Saturday at Chickasha. Ada needed only a victory over Elk City (tonight at 7:30 p.m. at McLoud) or a McLoud loss to advance.

Game 2

Carl Albert 10, Ada 5

The Cougars trailed 5-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth but cut the lead to two on a leadoff homer to dead center field by shortstop Josh Balch and tied the score in the bottom of the seventh on a leadoff single by Tweedy (his fifth hit of the day), a one-out double by Gould and a clutch two-run double into the right-field corner by catcher and clean-up hitter Riley Keith.

But the Pirates — retired on just eight pitches by Gould in a seventh inning in which J. T. Realmuto led off with a double but was cut down by Tweedy at third trying to advance on Jake Hall’s fly ball to the wall in center — finally solved the tiring Ada starter in the eighth.

Kizer, who went 3-for-4 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances, started the rally by drawing a four-pitch walk with one out. He stole second and scored on Jordan Hawkins’ double to the wall in left-center, Hawkins scored on a single to center by Jordan Price, and, after Jarrett Smith singled, Borum hit a laser over the left field fence to cap the rally.

Ada answered with a single by Brett Walls and a double by pinch hitter Bart Estes leading off the bottom of the eighth, but Spencer Penrod struck out and Tweedy hit into a weird 1-3-5-4 double play to end the game.

Carl Albert took an early lead with a three-run, two-out rally in the second that began when Gould hit eight-hole hitter David Winterink with a pitch and walked nine-hole hitter Casey Womack. Kizer followed with an RBI single, and, after Hawkins walked, Price capped the outburst with a two-run single to left.

Ada cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning on a single by Johns, a double to left by Balch with one out and an RBI groundout to short by Walls, and the Cougars made it 3-2 in the third on consecutive one-out singles by Chad Palmer, Gould and Keith before missing an opportunity to tie it in the bottom of the fourth.

Dillon Branscum — who had a key RBI double and scored two runs against McLoud in the afternoon’s first game — singled with one out and went to third on Penrod’s double to left-center, but he failed to tag on Tweedy’s long fly ball to right-center and was stranded when Palmer flied out to right to end the threat.

Carl Albert extended the lead to 4-2 in the fifth on Winterink’s RBI single and made it 5-2 with an unearned run in a sixth inning. Estes, who was solid all day at third base after being pressed into service because Parker Patton broke his ankle sliding into second base Monday night against Washington, couldn’t handle Kizer’s sharp grounder leading off the sixth, then he threw low to Johns, allowing Kizer to move to second. Price later drove Kizer home with a one-out double into the left-field corner.

Tweedy followed a four-hit effort against McLoud with one of the best defensive efforts of his career against Carl Albert. In addition to his spectacular throw to cut down Realmuto in the seventh, the speedy senior combined with Balch and Estes to gun down Womack as the Titan center fielder attempted to go from first to third on Kizer’s drive to the wall in the fourth, then Tweedy ended the inning with an over-the-shoulder catch at the wall.

Game 1

Ada 10, McLoud 8

Ada came within a hit of ending the game on the run rule in the sixth, then held off a furious McLoud rally in the top of the seventh.

McLoud took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but the Cougars scored three runs after two men were out in the bottom of the inning on a single by Walls, Branscum’s double and back-to-back singles by Penrod, Tweedy (who was 4-for-5 in the game) and Palmer, then Walls’ two-run double in the third (after leadoff singles by Johns and Balch) made it 5-1.

Ada scored two unearned runs in a fourth inning that featured Keith’s RBI single, and, after the Redskins scored an unearned run in the fifth off Johns to make it 7-2, they cut the Cougar lead to 7-3 in the top of the sixth on Tyler Haderer’s leadoff double, an infield single and a fielder’s choice grounder.

McLoud’s fifth and sixth errors of the game led to three unearned runs in an Ada sixth highlighted by Tweedy’s RBI single, but the Cougars — who stranded 11 baserunners (including seven in their last three at-bats) — missed a chance to end the game when Gould grounded out with Tweedy at third.

“We left 11 runners on base, and a lot of them (seven) were in scoring position,” Johns said. “If we take advantage of our opportunities, we run-rule them.”

Quaid Johns was sharp through six innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run while striking out three (all on called third strikes), but McLoud bunched five hits in a seventh-inning outburst featuring a two-run triple by Jeremy Wright and capped by Colby Herring’s two-run homer to center (his fourth hit of the game). Johns regrouped after Herring’s blast and retired Casey Young and Conley Blackwolf on groundouts to finally end it.

Palmer, Johns, Balch and Walls had two hits apiece to complement Tweedy’s four-hit effort, while Cody Ferrell and Herring had three hits each for McLoud.

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