Ada sophomore Cody Johnson had seen better days on the mound. But at the plate, he had a day to remember.
Johnson hit a game-tying, three-run homer in the bottom of the third and then belted a dramatic two-out, walkoff, grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to power the Cougars past rival Durant 7-4 Thursday afternoon at Cougar Field.
Ada improved to 8-11 on the year while Durant (ranked No. 7 in Class 5A) left town at 12-7.
“It was a good win. We needed one like that. Durant is a good club. They’re ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A,” said Ada head coach Ronny Johns. “You need a good win to kind of jump-start you and get you going.”
The Lions hit three doubles off Johnson during a three-run outburst in the top of the second inning that put the visitors on top 3-0. Derrick Haworth led off with a double and Keaton Webb followed with a sharp single to right field.
Webb would race home on a sacrifice fly by Colby Hicks before Dylan Spoon spanked a run-scoring double to the gap in right-center field. Spoon then scored Durant’s third run on a double down the right field line by nine-hole hitter Dakota Diessner.
Jordan Boone started Ada off in the bottom of the third by cracking a one-out double to the wall in right-center. Cale Russell walked with two outs before Johnson ripped a homer over the wall in left-center to knot the score at 3-3.
Boone (2-2) took over on the mound in the top of the third and did a masterful job in relief. He struck out seven — including two in the top of the seventh — and allowed just three hits over the final five innings. His only blemish was surrendering a home run to Webb to lead off the top of the sixth inning — a ball that was hit down the left field line and just stayed fair to put Durant on top 4-3.
“I think it was close, but I thought it was fair,” Johns said of Webb’s long fly ball. “Jordan Boone did a great job. He came in and threw really well and kept it close.”
Ada’s defense helped, too. The Cougars didn’t make an error all day and turned a double play in the top of the first when Josh Brown led off with a single but was doubled off when Hunter Stephens lined out to Ada shortstop Easton Pingleton during a hit-and-run attempt.
“We made plays today. It was a well-played game defensively,” Johns said.
Still, it looked like Durant pitcher Tyler Hendley had settled in after giving up Johnson’s first home run. He had struck out four out of five batters during one stretch between the fourth and fifth innings and finished with seven Ks.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Ada DH Scott Johnson hit a one-out bloop single to center to start the Cougar rally. Hendley then coaxed a long fly ball to center off the bat of Jordan Boone for the second out.
Pingleton and Russell then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. That set the table for Cody Johnson to belt a 1-0 offering from Hendley well over the wall in right field.
“Cody did a great job there. He went with the pitch. He and I talked about that since he doesn’t strike out very often, he needs to look for that first pitch that’s a strike — get a pitch he can drive a little bit — and he did that today,” Johns said.
Johnson would drive in all seven of Ada’s runs with his two big blasts.
“That’s a good day at the plate. You don’t get those days very often. I’m glad he had it today. We needed all of them,” Johns said.
Boone also had two of Ada’s six hits, while Russell walked three times.
Brown and Webb had two hits apiece to pace Durant at the plate.
Haworth, the Lions’ four-hole hitter, was beaned in the head by a errant Boone breaking pitch in the top of the third and the ball glanced off his helmet and cut his face. He head to leave the game and did not return.
Ada’s homestand continues Monday and Tuesday when Newcastle and Atoka visit Cougar Field. Both contests are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.