Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ada High softball team started hitting some rockets off hard-throwing Sulphur pitcher Allie Saunders midway through their matchup Thursday evening at the Lady Cougar Softball complex.
But thanks to more early defensive mistakes, Ada trailed 9-0 before dropping a 12-5 loss to the Lady Bulldogs in the weather-shortened contest.
Sulphur, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, improved to 23-4 on the year and caught Ada in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. Ada fell to 7-14.
Ada got its first run in the bottom of the third inning after Elizabeth Redman reached on an infield hit and Stevona Gilbert hit a laser to left field for a timely two-out, RBI single that made it 9-1.
Relief pitcher Morganne Freeman tossed back-to-back scoreless innings, allowing the Lady Cougars to put together a fourth-inning rally.
After Brooklyn Cupps walked to start things off, Kendal Johnson poked a single to right center field. Lindi Robinson then belted a two-RBI double that got past Sulphur center fielder Jadyn Ramer that cut the Ada deficit to 9-3.
Redman then drove in a run with a single to left field, and she would score when Britney Lee ripped a triple to the fence in center field. After Saunders finally got out of the inning, stranding Lee at third, Ada had pulled within 9-5 heading into the fifth frame.
“That was good. We haven’t been doing that a whole lot lately,” Ada head coach Scott Simpson said of his team’s sudden hit parade. “The potential is there. We had some nice hits. That was encouraging. And this time was against a little better pitching. It was a good inning. We just need more of those good innings.”
Neither team scored in the fifth, but Ada stranded a pair of base runners at first and second in its half of the inning.
Sulphur got an RBI groundout by Haley White and a two-run single by Reilly Williams to make it 12-5 before the game was stopped at 5:29 p.m. for a lightning delay with Hali Gilbert at the plate facing a 2-2 count with two out. Officials tried to wait out the storm but finally called the game off at 6:03 p.m.
Saunders and Gilbert had back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the first inning to give Sulphur an early 2-0 lead. The Lady Bulldogs then took advantage of three Ada errors and a hit batter to push across five runs in the top of the second to forge a 7-0 advantage. Williams had the big blow in that uprising — a two-RBI double.
Saunders again helped her own cause with a two-run single in the top of the third, and Gilbert’s sacrifice fly gave the Lady Bulldogs their 9-0 advantage.
“We just have to get rid of that nervousness early and shut them down and get the bats going. I think we can make some noise still, but defensively we’re going to have to settle down a bit,” Simpson said.
Redman finished 2-for-2 and scored twice to pace the Ada offense, while Johnson went 1-for-1 with a walk and was twice hit by a pitch. Robinson went 1-for-2 with a walk, while Gilbert was also 1-for-2.
Saunders led a 13-hit Sulphur attack with an impressive 4-for-5 showing that included three RBIs. Williams went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs scored, while Gilbert had two hits and drove in three runs. Harlee Griffis had two hits and scored three times for her leadoff spot in the SHS lineup.
The Lady Cougars host Pauls Valley on “Pink Out Night” Monday at 5 p.m. in support of cancer awareness. Ada then travels to rival Ardmore on Tuesday before returning home for a matchup with Tishomingo on Thursday.