Pintos fall to Bearcats

California's Jaden Barr prepares to release a pitch during the fifth inning of the varsity game against Blair Oaks Thursday at the California Sports Complex.

California's Jaden Barr prepares to release a pitch during the fifth inning of the varsity game against Blair Oaks Thursday at the California Sports Complex. Photo by April Arnett.

The California Pintos participated in the Class 3 District 8 Baseball Tournament Saturday at Montgomery County High School, Montgomery City, where fourth-seeded California lost 9-3 to fifth-seeded Hermann to end the season 10-9.

The Bearcats led 1-0 after the first inning, and after two scoreless innings, Hermann added four runs in the fourth, while the Pintos scored one run to trail to lead 5-1. The Bearcats pulled ahead 8-1 after the fifth inning. The seventh inning saw the Pintos score two runs, while the Bearcats scored one, to win 9-3.

"We faced a dominate left-handed pitcher," California Coach Jason Gatlin said. "We just couldn't get any offense going. Then we made mistakes that we couldn't recover from."

Burke Brant recorded the loss with two strikeouts.

Jaden Barr led California hits with two and one RBI. Brant also had two hits and J.T. Trachsel had one RBI.

Other action at the Class 3 District 8 tournament included: In the opening round Saturday, Hallsville defeated Montgomery City 6-3, and North Callaway defeated Wright City 7-2. The semifinal games were played Tuesday, May 20 (Centralia vs.Hermann, and Hallsville vs. North Callaway), however, results were not available at press time. The championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Montgomery City.

The Pintos end the season 10-9.

"I'm proud of how our boys played overall," Gatlin said. "We ended up with two winning seasons in a row. We had great contributions from seven strong seniors who will be missed."

Previously, California hosted Blair Oaks for final games of the regular season Thursday at the California Sports Complex, where the Pintos suffered a 10-1 loss to the Falcons.

After a scoreless first inning, Blair Oaks scored two in the second inning and one in the third, and one in the fourth to lead 4-0.

The Pintos got into the scoring action in the fourth inning when Austin Gump drove Trachsel home to leave California trailing 4-1. The Falcons added added four runs in the fifth inning, one in the sixth and one in the seventh, while holding the Pintos to just one run to secure a 10-1 victory.

Collin Luebbering recorded the win for Blair Oaks with three strikeouts and two walks.

Eli Freeman pitched the first 3 2/3 innings for California.

"Eli did a really nice job," CHS Assistant Coach Bobby Sangster said.

"We were trying to save our pitchers for districts," Gatlin said. "Eli stepped up early for us, going into a difficult situation and he did a great job. I look forward to seeing him on the mound next year."

Barr pitched 1/3 of the fourth inning and the fifth inning, recording two strikeouts, then Trachsel pitched the sixth inning and part of the seventh, with Hunter Heimericks finishing up the final inning on the mound.

Barr and Alex Davis led California with two hits each.

Brent Heckemeyer led Blair Oaks with three hits including a home run, and three RBI, and Alec Verhoff had one hit and three RBI.

California's JV also lost to Blair Oaks, 5-1 (five innings).

Davis pitched two innings and recorded four strikeouts. Jackson Trachsel pitched 1.2 innings and recorded two strikeouts.

Heimericks led California hits with a home run and one RBI.

"This was Hunter's third homer of the season," Gatlin said.

Sam Kirby also contributed one hit.

"Our JV has shown a lot of growth from the beginning of the season to the end," Gatlin said. "I look forward to next season, starting over with a new, young group. With losing seven seniors, we look forward to the competition that will create for our team."

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