LONE GROVE — It was never anything big.
A booted ground ball here. A careless throw on a muffed third strike there.
But when it was all added up, there was no denying that Ada's 11-6 victory against Lone Grove Thursday came down, in large part, to the Longhorns inability to make the right plays at the right time.
"We had some defensive lapses, that's for sure," Lone Grove coach Jake Melton said. "You can't give a team like that extra outs."
The Longhorns, normally a disciplined and strong defensive team, had several costly mistakes that allowed the Cougars to gain advantages throughout.
It all began in the first inning, when starting pitcher Greg Harmon hit Ada's leadoff batter, who stole second, made it to third on a throwing error and scored on a passed ball.
Harmon, and the Longhorns, would appear to settle down by the second inning, when Dillon Atkinson laced a single to left field, Jacob Stewart followed suit with a double and Robert Johnson came up with a big two-out, two-run single to give Lone Grove a 2-1 lead.
It was the last one the Longhorns would hold. Ada would score three in the third to regain the advantage.
Lone Grove came back to tie the game twice, knotting the score at 4-4 in the third inning and at 6-6 in the fifth, but were doomed by several key mistakes.
With two outs and the score still at a manageable 7-6 advantage for Ada, a muffed third strike and throwing error kept the inning alive for the Cougars.
It was the only opening the team would need; Ada added three more two-out singles to build its lead to five and effectively put the game out of reach for the Longhorns.
"I don't know how many of their runs were earned, but none of those ones in the sixth were," Melton said. "You can't give a team like that extra outs.
"With the way we're made, we can't come from behind like that."
Harmon took the loss for Lone Grove on the mound, surrendering six runs, four earned, on six hits and striking out three.
"Grant didn't have his best stuff, left a few fastballs up that they hit hard, but that's high school baseball," Melton said. "We didn't do enough defensively."
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