Ada third baseman Ashley Sumner and shortstop Haley Wyss spring into action on defense against Bluffton in the 12-1 Bulldog loss Thursday. (Ada Herald/Cort Reynolds)
Ada third baseman Ashley Sumner and shortstop Haley Wyss spring into action on defense against Bluffton in the 12-1 Bulldog loss Thursday. (Ada Herald/Cort Reynolds)
ADA - Undefeated Bluffton jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 12-1 win at Ada in Northwest Conference softball action Thursday evening.
The win improved the Lady Pirate record to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the NWC. The Lady Bulldogs, playing for the first time in a week due to the bad weather, looked rusty as they fell to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in league play.
"We gave up seven runs after two were out and nobody was on base," said Ada head coach Ken Jochims. "Good teams make you pay for not making plays. 
"Bluffton has a nice team with speed, they are well-coached and they put the ball down well. We just did not play well enough to compete," Jochims added.
The Pirates scored two runs in the top of the first on the strength of a pair of singles. 
Ada sophomore Megan Simon walked and stole second in the bottom of the first but was stranded. Bluffton plated two more runs in the second on a costly error and a two-run single to take a 4-0 lead.
"We got in some bad situations early and were out of position defensively," said Jochims. "I take the blame for that." 
Bulldog junior Alexis Amburgey retired the Pirates in order in the top of the third frame. But Bluffton hurler Sami Fruchey struck out two Ada girls in the home third.
In the top of the fourth, the visitors started to put the game out of reach. A bunt single and an infield hit to shortstop set the table for a three-run homer that sailed over the center field wall for a 7-0 bulge.
"I don't think they hit the ball that hard, but they got timely hits," said Jochims. 
In the bottom of the fourth, Fruchey set down the first two batters to make it nine in a row retired. Ada catcher Ashley Windle then ripped a 3-2 single to left field. But a soft liner to shortstop ended the inning.
In the top of the fifth frame, Bluffton continued to add on runs. A one-out double to deep left and a stolen base set up a run that tallied via a fielding error.
The next batter lined a two-out drive to left field. Madison Pinks charged the ball, made a diving effort and appeared to make a fine snow-cone grab, but the ball popped out of her glove when she rolled over, allowing another run to score for a 9-0 cushion.
Ada went out in order in their half of the fifth. In the sixth, Bluffton plated three more runs. Three singles, a missed pop-up  and a run-scoring grounder allowed the visitors to build a 12-0 lead.
The Bulldogs finally got to the hard-throwing Fruchey in the bottom of the sixth with four hits. Haley Wyss started the inning with a single through the hole into left. 
After a fly out to left, Mackenzie Wills smashed a liner up the middle off the diving second baseman's glove to put runners at first and second.
Amburgey then looped a single to right center field that scored Wyss. Windle then muscled a long fly ball to center that smacked off the wall, just out of the reach of the leaping Pirate outfielder.
However, the runners had to wait to see if the high drive would be caught and only advanced one base for a long single. 
Fruchey then reared back and struck out the next two hitters with good fast balls to end the threat and game an inning early due to the 10-run rule.
"We did not make her work hard enough or throw enough strikes," Jochims offered. 
Windle paced the Ada offense with a single off the wall in center, and a solid single to left. Wills is now 6-for-7 hitting this season. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7   R  H  E
Bluf 2 2 0 3 2 3 x   12 13 0
Ada  0 0 0 0 0 1 x   1  5  4
WP-Fruchey    LP-Amburgey (3-2)

Ada visits Lima Senior Friday night under the lights, and then travels to rival USV for a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. No makeup dates have been set for Monday's rainpout at LCC, nor Tuesday's snow-out at Ottoville.