Ada turns back hard-hitting Latta

Apr. 24—LATTA — With the tying run on second base, Ada head coach Shane Coker wasn't about to pitch to red-hot Latta slugger Hunter Price with the game on the line.

Price — who had already hit two home runs — was given an intentional walk and Ada relief pitcher Elvis Edwards then recorded a strikeout to end the game and give the Cougars a thrilling 8-7 win over host Latta in a playoff tune-up game for both teams Monday night at Panther Park.

Ada improved to 17-15 and will compete in a Class 4A Regional Tournament at Bishop McGuinness High School on Wednesday. The Cougars meet Cache at 1:30 p.m. in a first-round game and the host Fighting Irish (21-8) are scheduled to face Dickson to kick off the regional at 11 a.m.

The sixth-ranked Panthers, who fell to 17-8, moved their Class 2A District Tournament doubleheader with Meeker to Tuesday due to the threat of rain later in the week.

Ada 8, Latta 7

The Cougars survived a five-home run day by Latta. Price and leadoff hitter Reese Littlefield both cracked a pair of homers and Holden Lee hit a clutch two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to get the Panthers within 8-7.

Deakon Smith followed Lee's blast with a double. That brought Price to the plate again momentarily, before being sent to first base via the free pass.

Littlefield led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run. After two quick outs, Smith slapped a base hit to left field and Price launched a big blast over the left-field fence to put the Panthers on top 3-0.

Ada sophomore Brock Boyles belted his first home run of the spring — a two-run shot in the top of the fourth inning — to get the visitors within 3-2.

JD Dugan followed with a base hit and he scored from first on a double off the bat of Reid Samson that tied the game at 3-3.

Ada surged ahead with a four-run outburst in the top of the fourth inning.

The Cougars loaded the bases on a base hit by Kyler Gaddis, a double from Hunter McDonald and a Keith Cook hit by a pitch. The bases emptied when Cade Stick smashed a double off the centerfield wall that put Ada ahead 6-3.

Boyles followed with an RBI single to extend the Ada lead to 7-3.

Littlefield hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning that got the Panthers within 7-4. Price then led off the bottom of the sixth frame with a towering, solo shot of his own that made it 7-5. Littlefield, Price and Lee both have four home runs this spring.

Keith Cook ripped a double for Ada to lead off the top of the seventh and score on a base knock by Smith to put Ada on top 8-5 and set up the dramatic finish.

Ada finished with 10 total hits, led by Boyles, Cook, Stick and Samson who all had two apiece. Cook finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored; Stick went 2-for-4 with four RBIs; and both Boyles and Samson ended up 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Five of Latta's eight hits were home runs.

The Cougars also had to overcome six errors in the game.