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January 23, 2019

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Ada girls blast Continental to win sectional

By Cort Reynolds

ADA - Host Ada jumped on visiting Continental with a huge first inning, then added on late when the Lady Pirates crept within striking distance to notch a 13-4 victory in Div. IV softball sectional final action at the park Thursday evening.


The second-seeded Lady Bulldogs improved to 15-8 with the decisive win over the seventh-seeded Pirates on the warm night. With the victory, Ada tied the program single-season record for wins.


"The kids expected to win and played like it," said Bulldog head coach Troy Erickson. "We got off to a good start and hit the ball hard, but we need to be more consistent up and down the lineup.


"Leona didn't have her best stuff but did enough to win," he continued. "I was also able to get Maddie some work in relief. Continental is an athletic team, and they hit some balls hard. But now it is on to the next game; we will enjoy this tonight and then move on."


Freshman hurler Leona Dalton pitched the first five innings to earn her 12th win. She struck out five and walked one, allowing three earned runs. Maddie Gossard hurled the final two innings and gave up one run to get a save.


Continental's Riley Fenter scored a run in the top of the first inning when she led off with a single, followed by three more Pirate singles. But then Dalton settled in and held the visitors scoreless the next three innings.


The Bulldogs responded by batting around and then some in the bottom of the first frame, scoring seven runs to take a commanding lead.


Olivia Alexander walked to lead off, followed by a Raina England single. Sydney Newland singled and Maddie Gossard walked. Kaiti Newland singled and stole a base as the first five batters all reached base and scored.


Nicki Lehsten's hard grounder off the pitcher plated the fifth run. An infield hit to the left side by the speedy Alexis Ennis knocked in another run to make it 6-1.


Alexander ripped a run-scoring double down the left field line to extend the margin to 7-1 before a strikeout finally ended the big inning.


In the Pirate second, Dalton struck out the first two hitters. MacKenzie Rayle singled on a hard liner to center field, and Fenter beat out an infield single slapped deep into the hole at shortstop.


But Dalton got a key third out by inducing slugger Amber Logan to ground out to second base.


In the Ada second, Syd Newland hit a hard grounder off of Logan's hand for an infield hit leading off. A bad throw on the play allowed her to scamper all the way to third.


One out later, Kaiti Newland looped an RBI single into center field to put Ada on top, 8-1.


In the top of the third, Kaiti Newland made a nice running grab of a long fly to right-center field. Jessica Stauffer lined a single up the middle. But she was doubled up when Alexander gloved a soft liner off the bat of Macy Collier and fired to first base to end the frame.


In the home third, Ennis sliced a one-out single down the left field line and stole second. She moved to third on a ground out and tried to score on a wild pitch.


But the ball ricocheted back hard off the short backstop, and she was out at the plate to keep the margin at seven.


In the Pirate fourth, the visitors coaxed an infield hit and a walk. But Dalton induced a ground ball back to her for a force out at third, then retired Fenter on a pop-out to England st second to end the threat.


In the home fourth England and Syd Newland each hit into bad luck with hard liners right at the Pirate defense. Maddie Gossard dropped a single in front of the left fielder, but Logan got the last out on a fly ball to left field.


Hard-hitting Logan led off the fifth by crushing a high drive over the center field fence for a solo homer that cut their deficit to 8-2. Kennedy Hiltner ripped a double into the left-center gap, and advanced to third on a wild pitch.


Stauffer hit a bouncer to the third base side of the circle that Dalton back-handed nicely and threw to first for an out - but Hiltner beat the wide relay throw home.


Dalton then got a strikeout and a ground-out to end the frame still comfortably in front, 8-3.


Sidney Gossard roped a one-out double to right-center field in the Bulldog fifth, but she was stranded.


Continental continued to peck away at the big Ada lead in their sixth. Catelyn Etter doubled to left field off reliever Maddie Gossard as the Bulldog defense shifted seven positions. Rayle then beat out a spinning infield hit, but Fenter lined out to Gossard.


Then in a big at bat against the slugging Logan, Gossard got her to fly out to new right fielder Dalton. The sacrifice fly cut the margin to 8-4 as Etter scored.


Ada then got out of the jam when new third sacker England picked a grounder and threw Hiltner out at first.


The Bulldog bats woke up in the sixth to put the game away. Alexander led off by reaching on an error by the third baseman. England beat out a nice bunt up the first base line and Alexander raced to third on the play just ahead of the tag. England swiped second.


Syd Newland's infield hit plated Alexander to make it 9-4. Maddie Gossard pulled a hard grounder just inside the third base bag down the line for an RBI double.


Then came the capper. Kaiti Newland hammered a drive over the left field fence for a three-run homer that extended the lead to 13-4.


"I was glad to see Kaiti get her first high school home run," said Erickson. "She has been doing extra work on her swing."


In the top of the seventh, Stauffer led off with a walk. Collier grounded out back to the pitcher. The next batter hit one up the middle that Gossard tipped to her sister Sidney at second, and she threw on to Kaiti Newland, now manning first base, for the second out.


Addyson Armey walked and Etter was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Rayl's hard grounder was gloved by Alexander at shortstop, and she threw to third base for the short force-out to end the game.


Ada out-hit Continental, 15-11.

Kaiti Newland homered, singled twice and drove in five runs to lead the potent Bulldog offense. Syd Newland singled twice and batted in a pair of runs.


Maddie Gossard doubled, singled and knocked in a run. England collected a pair of singles. Sid Gossard batted singled twice, hit a double and had an RBI. Ennis singled twice and drove in a run.


123 456 7 R H E

Cont 100 021 0 4 11 4

Ada 710 005 x 13 15 1

WP-Dalton (12-8) LP-Logan

2B-Alexander (A), Hiltner (C), S. Gossard (A), M. Gossard (A), etter (C)

HR-Logan (C), K. Newland (A)

Sv-M. Gossard (A)


Second-seeded Ada now faces Wayne Trace, who whipped Miller City 22-1 Thursday, in the district semifinals. The game will be played at Elida Tuesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. WT was seeded third in the 10-team district, just behind Ada.


"Wayne Trace is a lot like us, except they don't do small ball like we do," Erickson offered. "They are pretty athletic, and they hit the ball well. They are sound fundamentally and don't beat themselves.


"We will have to mix up our pitches, especially the second and third times through the order, to keep them off balance. They pitch to contact," he added.


The Bulldogs may add another home tune-up game Saturday afternoon. Ada is 5-3 at home this spring