Sep. 25—The good news: the Ada High softball team got a no-hitter from freshman ace Bradi Odom in its District 4A-2 battle with Classen SAS Thursday on Senior Night at the Ada High Softball Complex.
The bad news: The Lady Comets scored an unearned run in the top of the third inning and edged Ada 1-0.
The worse news: The Lady Cougars fell to 15-10 overall and are in the midst of a four-game district losing streak. Ada is now 5-6 in 4A-2 play and trails both Seminole (7-5) and Byng (6-5) for the third-place spot in the standings. Perkins-Tryon and Tecumseh have nailed down the top two spots with identical 12-1 district marks.
Classen SAS is 11-15 overall and 5-8 in district play and has an outside shot of sneaking into the Top 5.
Should Ada finish third in the district, they would advance straight to a Class 4A Regional Tournament. A fourth-place finish would earn a home Bi-District series and a fifth-place finish would send the Lady Cougars on the road for a Bi-District series.
The Lady Cougars have two more district contests left on the regular-season schedule. Ada is at Byng at 1 p.m. today for a battle with their local rivals and travel to McLout at 5 p.m. Monday.
Ada has been without head coach Taylor Henry this week, who is on a leave of absence while pregnant with twins. Junior high head coach Jeremy Strong has been named the interim head coach in Henry's absence. He and assistant coach Shane Coker will guide the Lady Cougars the rest of the season.
"They shut me down last Friday. They just want me to be careful," Henry said from the press box Thursday night. "But they are in good hands with Jeremy and Shane."
The loss to Classen SAS was agonizing. Despite a stellar pitching performance from Bella Hardeman, the Lady Comets' ace, Ada had runners in scoring position in four of the game's seven innings.
"We knew going in this girl that pitched today was going to be really good, probably the best in the district and maybe one of the best in Class 4A," Strong said. "I thought we had a couple of good at-bats and some good hits, but in crunch time — when you have runners at second or third — we have to find a way to put the ball in play and get those runners home. We just have to be better. That's all there is to it."
Pitching ruled the night for sure. Hardeman, a smooth, hard-throwing right-hander, struck out 17 batters. She didn't walk or hit anyone, allowed just three hits and only needed 86 pitches to finish her seven-inning gym.
Odom's seven-inning no-hitter saw her pitch herself in and out of trouble throughout the contest. She struck out eight, walked six and hit one batter in the gutsy performance.
Ada's best scoring opportunity of the game came in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Abbey Strong smoked the first pitch she saw from Hardeman right past the Classen SAS center fielder for a leadoff triple. Hardeman struck out the next two batters she faced before Odom hit a flair that looked like it might drop just beyond the first base bag but Classen's Jaidyn Broiles made a nice over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning.
Strong had two of Ada's three hits and was stranded at second in both the first and third innings after a pair of stolen bases. Josie Morgan had Ada's other hit — a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Before the contest, Ada honored Amaya Frizell and Cydnee Miller with a Senior Night ceremony.
"Both of them are great kids and have been great for the program over the last four years," Strong said. "It's going to be sad to see them go. Their teammates love them. There's never a dull moment with them and I've enjoyed getting to know them the last two years that I've been here."