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McGUFFEY — Despite giving up two earned runs to Hardin Northern in the seventh inning, Ada pitcher Ashley Kindle worked her way out of the jam to close out the game and pick up the 6-4 sectional final win Wednesday evening.
The Lady Bulldogs will face St. Henry at 5 p.m. Tuesday in district play.
Ada set the tone from the beginning of the game, scoring in the first on a wild pitch by Polar Bear pitcher Addy Bame to bring in the runner from third. Kendra Paul then drove in Kindle on a single through second base to put the Lady Bulldogs up 2-0.
But a pair of Ada errors in the second inning proved costly for the Lady Bulldogs. With runners on second and third, Kylee Hooker reached first base safely on an error, allowing Lea Rowe, who earlier reached on a triple, to score. As Hardin Northern’s Carlie Doll tried for third, the throw was off target, allowing her to score and tie the game.
“Both teams committed some errors that made both teams struggle to get off the field, and we definitely have to cut that down to be able to move on,” said Ada coach Deb Miller.
It wasn’t long before the Lady Bulldogs again took over control. An error on a dropped ball resulted in a runner that would prove costly. Paul picked up the RBI on a single to give the lead back to the Lady Bulldogs.
“(Paul) definitely came through in the clutch,” Miller said. “She had some nice contact on hits, especially on the last two. The first was a little bloop single, but hey, I’ll take anything right now.”
With runners on first and third, a two-run double by Sam Wildman gave Ada a 5-2 lead.
“We made too many mistakes, gave them too many extra at-bats and too many unearned runs,” said Hardin Northern coach Jeff Hunt. “Addy dropped that one ball in the infield and it kind of opened the flood gates, but it happens.
“It’s like I told them, when you start facing the better teams in the tournament, you can’t make those kind of mistakes,” Hunt said. “It was our first experience, so they probably had a few jitters out there.”
Following a lightning delay in the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Bulldogs added an insurance run in the sixth when Katelyn Guagenti doubled to drove in Trista Douce, extending the lead to four.
But the Lady Polar Bears weren’t going down without a fight.
After reaching first on an error, Becky McElree scored when Molly Wilson tripled to pull HN within three. Bame followed the triple with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Wilson to score and make it a 6-4 game.
“They don’t give up, they battle until the end,” Hunt said of his team.
But the Hardin Northern rally stopped there as Kindle recorded her seventh and eighth strikeouts of the night.
“(Hardin Northern) did a great job of making contact. They had some nice, solid hits, but we were able to close it out with a couple of strikeouts,” Miller said.
Kindle’s win came with no walks and no earned runs on seven hits.
“Ashley pulled through by hitting those corners, which was a big help for us today,” Miller said. “…If she can continue to mix the pitches and be even more smart – knowing who’s coming up and knowing what pitch they hit the last time – we talked about the little things last night at practice, and that’s one of the big things we have to do is the little things.”
Paul finished 3-3 with two RBIs on the night. Wildman also picked up a pair of RBIs with one hit to her credit. Guagenti added the Lady Bulldogs other RBI with a double.
Bame took the loss, giving up no earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk on a hit batter.
Wilson had the Polar Bears’ lone RBI on a triple.
“We had a good season,” Hunt said. “We’ll try it again next year; we’ve got a lot of people coming back.”
HN 020 000 2 - 4 7 4
A 203 001 x - 6 7 6
WP – Kindle. LP – Bame.
3B – Wilson, Rowe.
2B – Wildman, Guagenti.
By TY THAXTON
Times staff writer