Ada's Ashley Sumner is tagged out at home by Allen East catcher Erin Conkle in Thursday's 9-5 Mustang softball win. (Ada Herald/Cort Reynolds)
Ada's Ashley Sumner is tagged out at home by Allen East catcher Erin Conkle in Thursday's 9-5 Mustang softball win. (Ada Herald/Cort Reynolds)
ADA - Visiting Allen East broke open a tie game with three runs in the fifth inning, and held on to beat Ada 9-5 in the Northwest Conference softball opener on a windy Thursday evening.
The AE win against their local arch-rival upped their record to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the NWC. Ada fell to 4-1 and 0-1 in the league with their first loss.
"We didn't catch the ball real well," noted Lady Bulldog head coach Ken Jochims. "We made too many mistakes and baserunning errors to beat a good team. Allen East has a nice team."
The Lady Mustangs jumped ahead with three runs in the top of the first frame, and never trailed. Junior shortstop Audrey Rodriguez started the rally with a one-out double.
Catcher Erin Conkle then hit a double and after a hit batter, Sierra Sizemore added another two-bagger. "We didn't do a real good job early on defense, we dropped a fly ball in the first inning," Jochims recalled. 
Ada got one run back in the home half of the first. Sophomore catcher Mackenzie Wills beat out an infield hit, stole second and eventually scored on an RBI groundout by pitcher Alexis Amburgey.
In the bottom of the second, Alexis Gonzaga beat out an infield single but was stranded as Mustang hurler Aubren Davis struck out the next two Ada batters.
In the top of the third, Conkle drilled a line-drive solo home run over the center field fence to extend the AE lead to 4-1.
"She is probably the best hitter in our league," Jochims noted.
Quinn High ignited an Ada rally in the bottom of the third by drawing a walk. Ashley Sumner legged out a double to left-center field to put runners on second and third.
Wills then stroked a solid RBI single to center to cut the lead to 4-2. Amburgey then grounded to third and Sumner was cut down at the plate on a strong throw to Conkle, who blocked the plate well.
Megan Simon smacked a single to chase Wills home, but Amburgey was thrown out at third base to end the inning with Ada down 4-3.
Third sacker Sumner made a fine diving backhand stab of a bunt attempt to open the fourth. Allie Schmiedebusch drilled a double off the center field fence yet Amburgey escaped by inducing a pop-out to Kaylee Spangler.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior Katelyn Guagenti smacked a line single to center field with one out. Tori Wyss followed with a single to left. 
After a long meeting on the pitching rubber to discuss defensive positioning, High beat out a well-placed bunt down the third base line to load the bases.
Then came one of the key plays of the game. Sumner lofted a high fly down the left field line which Wireman made a nice catch on just as she crossed into foul territory. Guagenti tagged up, sped home and narrowly crossed the plate just before Wyss was tagged out trying to advance to third.
The unusual double-play tied the contest yet ended the big Ada threat.
"We made a nice comeback to tie it, but the baserunning errors hurt," said Jochims. 
In the top of the fifth, AE grabbed the momentum right back. The leadoff batter reached when a hard grounder was misplayed at second base.
A steal and wild pitch sandwiched around a pop-up to Amburgey moved the runner to third. Conkle walked and stole second, followed by a walk to McCluer.
Sizemore then drove a shot to deep left-center field. Wyss made a diving effort but couldn't hold onto the ball as she hit the base of the fence.
Two runs scored to break the tie, 6-4. Wireman then laid down a bunt that Amburgey fielded and threw to Spangler at first to retire the batter.
However, McCluer broke off third on the throw to first and she beat the relay home to Wills, extending the lead to 7-4. Davis was then retired on a fly ball to left, but the damage had been done.
Wills led off the Ada fifth by pulling a double sharply down the left field line. Amburgey smashed a rising liner but Rodriguez gloved it nicely at shortstop to chase Wills back to second.
Spangler grounded out to second base, advancing Wills to third. Simon walked and Gonzaga beat out an infield grounder to shortstop to plate Wills and cut the deficit to 7-5.
But with two on, the Bulldog side was retired to end the inning on a pop-out to second base.
In the AE sixth, the Mustangs got a bloop single to center and the runner moved up to third. However, a liner was snared by High at shortstop to end the threat.
The Mustangs brought in a hard-throwing reliever to start the sixth. She induced a fly out to Wireman and then struck out the last two Ada hitters.
In the top of the seventh, AE tacked on two key insurance runs as Sumner relieved Amburgey. Conkle reached on an error and stole second. One out later, Sizemore tomahawked a line-drive double to center that drove home Conkle.
Wireman beat out a bunt single and after a strikeout, another AE run scored on a tough short-hop liner to shortstop. Sumner retired the last hitter on her second whiff of the seventh.
Wills again led off with a solid single to left off a high pitch in the Ada seventh. Amburgey grounded out into a fielder's choice, third to second. 
Spangler also grounded out, third to first, to bring Simon up with the last Bulldog hope. But she grounded out to second base to end the hard-fought game.
The Bulldogs narrowly out-hit AE 11-10, but made twice as many errors while Ada also made several costly miscues on the basepaths.
Conkle led the AE offense with three hits, a walk and a steal. Sizemore contributed a pair of doubles and McCluer had two hits, while Rodriguez added one of the four Mustang doubles.
Wills, catching in place of the absent regular backstop Ashley Windle, led the Ada offense with three singles and a double. Sumner doubled while Guagenti, Wyss and Simon hit solid singles. Gonzaga legged out a pair of infield hits while High beat out a good bunt.

     1 2 3 4 5 6 7   R  H  E
AE   3 0 1 0 3 0 2   9  10 3
Ada  1 0 2 1 1 0 0   5  11 6
WP-Davis   LP-Amburgey (3-1)
2B-Rodriguez (AE), Conkle (AE), Sizemore (AE), Schmiedebusch (AE), Sumner (A), Wills (A)
HR-Conkle (AE)

Ada plays at former league foe LCC, which won the 2013 NWC title despite a loss to the Bulldogs, on Monday evening.
The home game rained out April 4 vs. Ridgemont has been rescheduled for April 23.