Ada head coach Ronny Johns would like to see his team clean up its act with the playoffs only a week away.
However, he’ll still take wins any way he can get them.
The Cougars clawed their way out of a 5-0 hole, overcame seven errors and rallied past Lone Grove 9-7 at home Thursday night.
Ada improved to 13-16 with the tense Senior Night victory while the Longhorns — ranked No. 9 in Class 4A — fell to 19-9. The contest was reminiscent of a 9-8 loss to 4A No. 2 Weatherford last week in the Bill Tipton VII Tournament in Shawnee last week in which the Cougars committed eight errors.
“It was a good win. It was good to see us battle back after being down five to nothing. Unfortunately, we’ve done that all year — get down and have to try and battle back,” Johns said. “If we don’t make errors, we can do some things in the playoffs.”
The Cougars are back in action Saturday in Tecumseh, meeting the host Savages in an 11 a.m. doubleheader. It’s then on to Durant Monday at 5 p.m. for their regular season finale.
Ada will host Madill next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in a best-of-three Class 4A District Tournament at Cougar Field.
Ada 9, Lone Grove 7
The game was knotted at 7-7 heading into the bottom of the fifth when Mason Girdley started Ada off with a base hit to left field. Girdley promptly stole second and raced toward third on an infield hit by Ryan Kinder.
An errant Lone Grove throw trying to get Kinder at first allowed Girdley to score all the way from second base.
Girdley also had a hand in a sixth-inning insurance run. Easton Pingleton and Cale Russell both drew one-out walks before Girdley slapped a run-scoring hit to left field.
With Lone Grove leading 6-3 heading into the bottom fourth, Ada strung together its biggest inning of the game.
Lucas Saunders started things off by reaching on a one-out error and nine-hole hitter Drew Elliott followed with a base hit to right field. After Jordan Boone singled to center to load the bases, it looked like the Longhorns might escape the jam unscathed when Pingleton hit a ground ball up the middle that was scooped up by Lone Grove shortstop Romulo Jimenez. But Pingleton just beat a throw to first to avoid an inning-ending double play, driving in the first Ada run of the frame.
Russell then hit a three-run homer that easily cleared the fence in right field despite the heavy, damp air that put Ada on top 7-6.
Lone Grove tied the score with a run in the top of the fifth thanks in part to a pair of walks, a hit batter and Levi McNeill’s RBI single. Kinder, who relieved starter Cody Johnson with one out in the inning, avoided any further damage when he got Dylan Ward to fly out to left field with the bases loaded.
Ada committed three of its errors in a four-run Lone Grove outburst in the top of the second to put the Longhorns on top 5-0.
The Cougars didn’t manage a hit during the first two innings, but scored three times in the bottom of the third.
Elliott blooped a single to left to start the Ada uprising, Pingleton drew a one-out walk and Russell followed with an RBI single to get Ada on the scoreboard. Cody Johnson’s groundout to first base produced Ada’s second run and Girdley ripped an RBI double to the right-center gap to get the Cougars within striking distance. Ada nearly got more, but Lone Grove center fielder Josh Duncan made a diving catch of a hard hit line drive to right-center off the bat of Caleb Balch for the third out of the inning.
Pingleton saved a run with a dandy defensive play of his own in the top of the sixth. After Ryan Gibson doubled to right field with one out, Tyler Gray hit a ground ball to the hole between shortstop and third base. Pingleton backhanded the ball to keep it from getting to the outfield and fired to first base to gun down Gray for the second out of the inning. Kinder then struck out Josh Benson to strand Gibson at third base.
Girdley led the Ada offense, which produced nine hits, with two singles, a double and two RBIs. Russell had two hits and four RBIs while Elliott had a pair of base knocks and scored twice.