By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - Ada scored three runs in its final at bat but came up short in a 9-6 Northwest Conference varsity softball loss to visiting Spencerville Monday evening.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to 3-13 overall and 1-7 in the NWC with the defeat, while the Lady Bearcats improved to 4-12 and 3-2 in the league with the victory.
Spencerville scored two runs in the first inning and never trailed. In the top of the third, they added to their lead with a big blast. A hit batter and an infield single off pitcher Alexis Amburgey brought Bearcat pitcher Alex Mertz to the plate.
Mertz crushed a three-run homer over the fence in left field to give her team a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Ada responded with two runs of its own. Ashley Windle hit a double just beyond third that landed on the line. Alexis Gonzaga grounded out to first, advancing Windle to third.
Ashley Sumner then drove in a run with a pop fly single that fell behind the Bearcat second baseman. An error put runners on first and third and Katelyn Guagenti walked to load the bases.
Sumner got caught in a rundown and was tagged out at home. Trista Douce was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks again. Amburgey then smacked a hard grounder that Bearcat shortstop Alyssa Mulholland dove for and stopped, but she was unable to make a throw as the second run scored on the infield hit.
However, the hard-throwing Mertz avoided further damage with a big strikeout to strand the bases loaded and keep the score 5-2.
Ada added a single run in the bottom of the third on doubles by Gonzaga and Windle, and neither team scored over the next few innings as both pitchers settled into a groove.
Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Gonzaga singled just over the first baseman's head. She then earned an unusual steal when she trotted to second base on what was thought to be ball four when it was only ball three, but the defense was caught off guard.
Yet Mertz again got out of trouble with two clutch strikeouts. In the top of the seventh, the visitors plated four insurance runs that turned out to be very big. Two sharp singles to center field and a single to left loaded the bases with none out.
A pop fly on the infield was dropped and even though the infield fly rule was in effect, the runner on third hustled home when the ball squirted away for a 7-3 margin. A hit batter loaded the sacks again.
Amburgey recorded a strikeout but Mulholland smacked a hard two-run single up the middle to extend the lead to 9-3.
Ada didn't go down easily in the home seventh. With one out, Amburgey drew a walk. Kendra Paul doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third. Sam Wildman then sliced a triple that landed on the right field line to score both runners, slicing the deficit to 9-5.
After a foul pop to the catcher for the second out, Gonzaga lined an RBI single to center to plate Wildman and make the score 9-6. Sumner singled to right to bring the tying run to the plate.
But Mertz ended the drama with a changeup for a called third strike that preserved the win.
Sumner collected three singles to lead the 12-hit Ada attack. Windle hit a pair of doubles while Gonzaga doubled, singled and drove in a run.
Mulholland singles three times and knocked in a pair of runs for the Bearcats, who also had 12 hits. Shumate struck out eight and added a single to her three-run homer to aid her own cause.
Amburgey struck out five Bearcats in her seven innings of work.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Svl 2 3 0 0 0 0 4 9 12 2
Ada 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 6 12 6
WP-Shumate LP-Amburgey (3-11)
2B-Windle 2 (A), Paul (A), Gonzaga (A)
Ada tries to snap its 10-game losing skid Thursday when they visit winless Delphos Jefferson (0-13, 0-7 NWC) in the last league game of the campaign.
The Bulldogs will then face Waynesfield in the USV Div. IV sectional semifinals Saturday, May 11 at 11 a.m.