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November 29, 2020

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Ada girls lose wild Bulldog battle

By Cort Reynolds
Host Ada was not able to get enough key hits with numerous runners on base and lost a 13-5 Northwest Conference softball makeup marathon to Columbus Grove on a cool, windy Tuesday evening.

The Lady Bulldogs fell to 9-12 overall and 1-6 in the NWC with the Senior Night defeat, while CG improved to 6-8 and 2-5 in league play after the     win.

Ada stranded a season-high 18 baserunners and left the bases loaded multiple times.

CG scored five runs in the top of the first inning and added three more in the second to take a commanding 8-2 lead early.

Ada halved the deficit by scoring three runs in the sixth, but Grove put the game away with five runs in the seventh.

After a wild opening frame, CG led 5-2. Jenna Hardeman stroked a two-run double and Joy Stechschulte hit a run-scoring triple to lead the first inning barrage.

Senior center fielder Alexis Ennis led the game off for Ada with a hit, and came around to score on a two-run single by sophomore Brenna George.

Grove consolidated their lead with a three-run second inning. A leadoff walk and two stolen bases by Danielle Bame set up a run-scoring grounder to shortstop by Hardeman, as Bame beat the fielder's choice throw home.

An Ada error was followed by Madison Zimmerly's two-run double down the left field line, which stretched the margin to an 8-2 lead. Purple and gold hurler Leona Dalton limited the margin to six by getting the next two outs on infield pop-ups.

Ennis ripped a single down the first base line with one out in the home second, and she stole second base. Freshman Lexi White was hit by a pitch. Senior Raina England grounded into a force-out, shortstop to third base.

A pop-out to third base ended the threat.

In the Grove third, Dalton struck out two and pitched around a Kenzie King single to center field. In the home third, George drew a walk but was tagged out at third trying to stretch a wild pitch into two free bases.

Dalton walked and Aubrey Madison smacked a hard grounder through the third baseman. But Tori Green was thrown out on a bunt attempt back to pitcher Emily Watt.

In the CG fourth, Dalton whiffed Watt and gave up a single to right-center field by Hardeman. Zimmerly walked but Autumn Renner grounded out to second. Mershman walked yet Dalton kept Grove off the board by striking out Joy Stechschulte to leave the bases full.

In the Ada fourth with one out, England beat out a bunt single and White walked. Lexi Waugh grounded out to second base, yet Kiersten Cortez walked to load the bases.

But George popped out to shortstop to thwart the threat.

Dalton whiffed King to open the fifth, and Bame legged out a bunt single. But she was erased when second sacker George snared Kamryn Utendorf's line drive and threw on to Madison to finish the twin killing by doubling off Bame.

Dalton led off the bottom of the fifth frame with a walk. After a foul-out to first base, Green was hit by a pitch. The speedy Ennis beat out an infield dribbler that died in front of home plate.

White hit into a force play at home, and England popped out to second to end another threat empty-handed.

Watt led off the sixth with a long drive to center field, but Ennis hauled it in. Hardeman then smashed a low line drive off the left shin of Dalton, who immediately went down and had to be carried off the field.

She was replaced in relief by the versatile England. She got out of the inning by inducing a fly out to Green in left field, and a force-out grounder from second to shortstop.

In the bottom of the sixth, Ada put together a rally. Waugh and Cortez each walked, leading to Cheyenne Mershman entering the game as a relief pitcher.

George was hit by a pitch to again load the bases, followed by a strikeout. Madison hit a grounder to first baseman Stechschulte, who tried to throw the ball home and drilled Madison as she ran down the line to first instead.

The ball caromed into foul territory and after another bad throw on the play, two runners crossed home plate to make it 8-4. Green walked to load the sacks once again.

Ennis worked the count to 3-2, and a fastball that looked a bit outside was called strike three to temporarily halt the Ada momentum.

White coaxed an RBI walk to make it 8-5. But the hard-throwing Mershman rebounded to get a strikeout and end the inning with Grove still ahead, 8-5.

In the top of the seventh, Grove put the game out of reach with five runs. Mershman led off by smashing a high drive into the wind over the left field fence.

Ennis caught a deep fly ball hit by Stechschulte, but King walked and Bame stroked a double into the left-center field gap. A wild pitch caromed back to Waugh, who made a nice tag of King sliding into home to record the second out.

Yet a walk, stolen base and a dropped fly ball in shallow left field let two more runs in. Two more walks, a wild pitch and a Renner single extended the lead to 13-5.

England ended the long inning by striking out the dangerous Mershman.

In the bottom of the seventh, the wild Mershman hit Cortez and Melina Temple. Yet she struck out the side to strand two more runners and end the two-hour, 24-minute marathon.

The wild game featured 20 hits, 18 runs, 18 walks, seven wild pitches, five errors and one passed ball.

Ennis led Ada with three hits, a run and a steal. England contributed two singles and scored a run. George had two RBI, one hit and scored once. Waugh and Cortez each scored a run.

Dalton and Cortez each drew three walks, while White coaxed two bases on balls and drove in one run via a walk.

Hardeman knocked out four hits, scored three runs and drov ein two to pace the CG offense. Bame collected three hits, three runs and stole two bases. Renner had two hits and two RBI with one run.

Utendorf scored two runs and Mershman added a solo homer.

Grove southpaw Watt scattered six hits, struck out one and walked nine in five innings to get the win. She repeatedly worked out of trouble and gave up two earned runs. Watt also stole three bases and scored three runs.

Mershman got the save with two innings of hitless relief. She did walked two and hit three, but struck out six in giving up one earned run.

Sophomore Dalton pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and seven earned runs before being injured. England allowed three hits and one earned run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. She walked four and whiffed one.

CG out-hit Ada 14-6, including five extra-bae hits. All of the Ada hits were singles. But the purple and gold drew 11 walks and had five batters hit by pitch. Grove stole eight bases to two by Ada.

Ada left a whopping 18 runners on base while CG stranded nine. The host Bulldogs were guilty of three errors, and Grove was charged with two miscues.

Long-time program standouts England and Ennis were recognized as the two graduating Ada seniors before the game.

               123          456          7            R            H            E
CG           530          000          5            13           14           2           
Ada          200          003          0            5            6            3           

WP-Watt      LP-Dalton (9-11)                                  
2B-Zimmerly (CG), Hardeman (CG), Bame (CG)        
3B-Stechschulte (CG)
HR-Mershman (CG)

Ada (7-7 home, 1-6 NWC) hosts league foe Lincolnview (12-5, 3-2 NWC) in the league and season finale Friday at 5 p.m. Ada is eighth in the nine-team standings while the Lancers stand fifth.