- Ada, Oklahoma


June 29, 2014

Ada Braves look to get back on track

Ada — Though the Ada Braves’ Post 72 American Legion baseball squad is under .500 for the summer (11-15), progress is being made, according to head coach Travis Graham.

The Braves had wrapped up pool play in the Midwest City Outlaws’ hosted Prairie Classic on Friday with bracket play scheduled on Saturday.

The Ada squad was 1-3 in pool play with the lone victory coming over the Bethany Bulls, 9-5, on Wednesday. The Braves also dropped a 9-1 decision Oklahoma City Sandlot on Wednesday, 11-3 to the Woodward Travelers on Thursday and a 7-4 contest to the Southwest Shockers on Friday.

In that loss to the Shockers, Ada surrendered four unearned runs, but threatened late in the game until Shawn Treat’s potential hit in the gap was snagged on a diving catch by the left fielder.

In Wednesday’s loss to the Sandlot, the Braves trailed 3-0 before the OKC club belted two home runs during a six-run outburst in the top of the fifth. Ada managed just two hits in the contest, singles by Tyler Miller and Woodrow Lankford.

During the victory over the Bulls, the Braves jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings. Bethany rallied with two runs in the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth to knot the score at 5-5.

The Braves grabbed the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Zach Lewis belted an RBI triple in the uprising while Parker Henderson — who just returned to the Braves’ lineup after recovering from an appendectomy — drove in another run via a sacrifice fly. Shawn Treat later added an RBI single to put the Braves ahead 8-5.

Lewis added an Ada insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with his RBI single. The Roff product would finish 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Walker Whitworth, Braden Fortner and Cruz Villafranco all added two hits apiece. Villafranco, a catcher for Roff High School, also drove in two runs.

Tucker Elliott struck out six in five innings of work to earn the mound win for the Post 72 club.

As is with the case with many summer baseball teams, the youthful Braves have struggled to have all the pieces put together for each contest and all key components (or players) have not been there for each and every game, a few due to participation in the Sunbelt All-Star Classic.

“We’re a scrappy group. We just haven’t been consistent, but we’re an extremely young group,” Graham said. “Except for four games, this season we have been one hit away (from possibly being in the win column).”

Prior to the Prairie Classic, the Ada team registered four straight wins, including a 3-of-4 game set at Bartlesville.

“Our offense has really picked up lately and prior to that we relied heavily on our pitching,” said Graham. “We just haven’t put all three components (hitting, pitching and defense) together at one time.”

The Braves are back at home Monday and Tuesday at East Central University’s Tiger Field. A doubleheader with Bartlesville is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday and a festival including the Indians and the Ardmore Cardinals will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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