For the first time since 2009, the Ada Post 72 Braves appear to have an offense that can bail them out of almost any situation.
The Braves scored a season-high 18 runs to overcome a shaky outing by starting pitcher Jordan Scott en route to an 18-10 decision in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader with Poteau at East Central University. In the nightcap, they again banged out 13 hits and completed the sweep with another run-rule victory, 11-3.
Former Asher star Matt Johnson hit a grand slam — his second in as many games — in the bottom of the sixth to end the opener. Blake Logan — who hit his team-high 11th home run of the season in Game 1 — rebounded from three straight strikeouts to deliver an RBI single in the sixth inning of the nightcap that also ended that game on the run rule.
Ada’s fourth straight doubleheader sweep added to the best start in the team’s four-year history (17-5) heading into Saturday’s home twinbill with Moore at ECU. The Braves will be home again Monday for two games with Ardmore beginning at 4 p.m. before hitting the road for a doubleheader at Enid Tuesday and three days at the Brad Holt Memorial Tournament in Stillwater Thursday through Saturday.
Ada Braves 18, Poteau 10
The Braves built an 11-1 lead after two innings, but Scott (3-0) surrendered three of the four home runs he allowed in the game — a solo shot by Austin Smith and back-to-back solo blasts by Dylan Moore and losing pitcher Josh Walker — in a five-run fourth-inning rally that got Poteau back into the game at 12-8.
But after the visitors scored two unearned runs in the top of the fifth off reliever Matt Benedict to make it a two-run game, Ada — which started the day with a nine-run first-inning explosion — finally ended it with another huge inning in the sixth.
Walker, who gave up 13 hits in going the distance for Poteau, walked in the first two runs in the sixth, and Johnson ended the game with his sixth home run of the summer to left-center.
“We came out hot and got a little complacent,” Post 72 coach Travis Graham said after seeing his club win for the 12th time in 14 games and extend its longest winning streak since 2009 to seven games. “Rarely will your starting pitcher give up eight runs and you win the game. Our bullpen came in and saved us.
“We played sloppy and got (Poteau) back in the game, but we exploded again at the end,” he added. “We played 12 innings and scored in 10 of them. That’s good to see.”
The Braves pieced together their biggest inning of the season in the first, with Logan’s two-run homer (his ninth in 13 games) the big blow. Johnson, who finished with six RBIs, drove in two runs in the inning with a double and a single; Jake Sanders doubled and scored the second run in the inning and added an RBI single later in the frame; leadoff hitter Hunter Marcum walked and scored twice; and Dylan Tinkler also delivered a run-scoring hit in the first.
Poteau trimmed the lead to 9-1 in the top of the second, but Kade Curry’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning made it 11-1 before the visitors rallied to make things interesting.
While Johnson and Sanders were the only two Ada players with multiple hits, Logan walked three times and Curry twice, and they combined to score five runs. Colby Tatum had two doubles and drove in three runs, and Smith, Langston and Walker added two hits apiece to key Poteau’s 12-hit attack.
Ada Braves 11, Poteau 3
Sanders, who pitched his first inning of the summer in Wednesday’s road win over Brassfield, pitched four strong innings, allowing four hits and three runs in his first-ever Legion start on the mound. Marcum closed things out with two scoreless innings of relief.
“Jake just attacked them on the mound,” Marcum said.
Poteau scored a first-inning run to take the early lead, but the Braves tied it in the second and went on to score 11 of the game’s final 13 runs.
Tanner Bell, Ada’s Game 2 catcher, started the second-inning rally with a walk off Smith and was replaced on the bases by Cody Robinson, who promptly stole second and scored the tying run on a single by Moses Isham.
The Braves took the lead for good in the third on Dylan Johnson’s single and back-to-back RBI doubles by Matt Johnson and Tinkler, and they blew the game open with a two-out, six-run explosion in the fourth.
Dalton Pickering, the designated hitter for Sanders in Game 2, started the Ada fourth with a single and was replaced on the bases by Sanders, who stole second. After Josiah Nyberg drew a walk, Marcum, Dylan Johnson and Matt Johnson delivered consecutive RBI singles to make it 6-1. Tinkler walked to load the bases, and Bell cleared them with a three-run double off the wall in left-center.
Isham led off the fifth with a double off the wall in left and scored on Sanders’ single, and Tinkler drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on Logan’s single. The RBI was Logan’s 24th in 13 games.
Bell finished 3-for-4, and Dylan Johnson, Matt Johnson and Isham added two hits apiece for the Braves, who hit four doubles in the victory but didn’t have a home run after hitting at least one in their previous seven games and in 11 of their previous 13.