ADA - Hardin Northern hurler Addy Bame tossed a shutout and slammed two home runs, driving in all of the game's runs to lead the Lady Polar Bears past county rival host Ada 3-0 in a Div. IV softball sectional second round battle on an unseasonably cool, wet Thursday evening.
Bame poled a solo homer in the top of the first inning, then crushed a two-run shot well past the fence in center field to provide all the scoring in the taut pitcher's duel.
Bame struck out 10 Lady Bulldogs and did not walk a batter to lead HN to the district semifinals. Whenever the Bulldogs threatened, she reached back for an extra gear and came up with a big strikeout.
"No question, Bame did us in," said Ada second-year head coach Ken Jochims. "You have got to give her credit. She hit both balls well, they were no-doubters."
The Bulldogs fell to 12-9 with the defeat while HN improved to 10-5 and advanced to the district semis with the victory.
Ada sophomore Ashley Sumner pitched a solid game, especially after a shaky first inning. Bame homered, and HN then placed two runners in scoring position. Brooklyn Watts singled and a double by Taylor Schiewe off the base of the center field fence as the Polar Bears threatened to break the game open early.
But Sumner induced a pop-out to shallow center field which second baseman Tessa Coulson gloved to limit the damage to one run.
"Sumner was nervous early, but she pitched well enough to win," pointed out her coach.
Ada senior Alexis Gonzaga beat out an infield single in the home half of the first frame and advanced to second on a wild pitch. But Bame struck out slugging Ada senior catcher Ashley Windle to keep her club ahead by the run she provided with her bat.
Sumner settled down and retired HN in order in the second. Bame got the first two Ada batters in the second easily, and then Kaylee Spangler smacked a low line drive to center field that looked like an almost-sure hit.
But Polar Bear senior Kylee Hooker raced in hard and made a nice running one-handed basket catch to rob Spangler.
In the Northern third Sumner again retired Nothern in order, including Bame on a called third strike.
Tori Wyss was hit by a pitch to lead off the Bulldog third. After a strikeout, Sumner stroked a sharp single to left field. 
With runners on first and second and the middle of the order coming up, Ada looked to be in decent shape to rally.
But Bame reared back and struck out the next two Bulldog batters to escape from the jam unscathed.
In the HN fourth, Megan Simon made a nice two-handed grab of a short fly ball along the right field line. After an infield hit by Schiewe, Sumner induced a fly ball off the bat of Hannah Fisher that Gonzaga tracked down in right-center to finish the top of the frame.
Bame mowed the purple and gold down in order in the bottom of the fourth on two grounders and a whiff.
In the HN fifth, third sacker Amburgey recorded the first out when she snared Schlatter's soft liner in the hole. The next batter walked but the pinch runner was gunned down trying to steal easily on a fine throw by Windle to shortstop Quinn High, quelling the threat.
The rain picked up in the bottom of the fifth, yet lefty-swinging Spangler led off with a solid single grounded up the middle to center field.
But pinch runner Jil Wolber was thrown out by Shelby Schlatter trying to steal second on a big play. A hard grounder by Wyss caromed off the third baseman for an infield hit. 
Simon then punched a grounder to second, and Wyss was tagged out by the fielder running the bases. Yet the quick Simon beat out the throw to first, avoiding the double play to keep the inning alive.
Sumner looped a single to short left field to give Ada runners on first and second again. 
But with two out, Bame again came up big and struck out Amburgey on a 2-2 fast ball to keep HN in front, 1-0.
"We have preached shortening our swings and putting the ball in play," said Jochims. "You have to find a way to make contact and put it in play to beat a good team."
In the top of the sixth, Northern got some breathing room in the tight contest. Michaela Curtis smacked a double to center field that skipped off the fence and brought up the dangerous Bame.
On a 1-0 pitch, she crushed a high fly to center that kept carrying and sailed well over the fence for a back-breaking two-run homer.
Simon made a nice running catch of a long fly by Watts to right-center to end the frame, but the damage was done.
In the Ada sixth, Bame seemed to get stronger in the light rain. She struck out Gonzaga, Windle and Wills in order to consolidate the lead. 
HN threatened to add on to the lead in the seventh. A Schlatter pop-up in front of home plate fell in for an infield hit. On the ensuing sacrifice bunt by Kamryn Dye, Windle fielded it cleanly but threw wide of first base to the covering Coulson.
The ball skipped down the right field line while the HN pinch runner raced around the bases to apparently score. But she was later ruled out on appeal after missing third base, negating the run. 
Sumner then got out of the jam without giving up a run by getting the last two outs on a pop-up to Windle and a Curtis grounder back to the rubber.
High threatened to lead off the Bulldog seventh with a hit when she lined a low shot to center field. But again Hooker came in fast and made a fine one-handed snag to thwart the Ada offense.
"Give them credit, they made some nice plays in center field and their catcher played well," Jochims noted. "She didn't catch against us the first time we played."
Spangler then dribbled a change-up back to Bame for the second out. Wyss kept Ada alive with a single to left field over the shortstop's head.
But Simon's sharp grounder to the Bear first baseman for an unassisted putout ended the contest as Bame retired seven of the last eight Ada batters.
"Simon had a good night on defense and hit the ball hard twice," Jochims pointed out. "Our game plan was to work around Bame, but she always seems to hit well against us."
HN out-hit Ada 7-5, and both teams were charged with two errors on the wet field.
"Our two through five hitters combined for nine strikeouts so when you do that, it is hard to win," Jochims observed.
Even with the tough defeat to their Hardin County foe, a team Ada beat 5-2 in the season opener at HN, the coach is optimistic for next year and beyond because a talented group of eighth graders will join a solid group of returnees in 2015.
"It would have been good to get a win and take the next step in the tournament, but overall it was a good year," Jochims summed up. "We went from five wins to 12. And we are going to be better in the future."

123 456 7 R H E
HN 100 002 0 3 7 2
Ada 000 000 0 0 5 2
WP-Bame LP-Sumner (7-4)
2B-Schiewe (HN), Curtis (HN)
HR-Bame 2 (HN)
Ada was scheduled to play at Liberty-Benton Monday, May 19 in the regular season finale, but with both teams eliminated from tournament play, the game will likely not be played.