The California Pintos softball team ended their final game of the regular season with a tough 5-3 loss Oct. 8 to the New Bloomfield Tigers.
California got off to a fast start, as Lauren Hill led off the game with a double and Lauren Spillars reached base safely on a bunt and was able to advance to second shortly after. Back-to-back groundout-RBIs by Camryn Schlup and Hannah Hill gave California a 2-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth inning, as the Tigers loaded the bases on four straight hits — their first hits of the game — to make it a 2-1 game. Then, a grand slam by Asya Nichols made it a 5-2 lead for New Bloomfield. That grand slam proved to be the difference maker, as California was only able to score one more run to make it 5-3.
Head Coach Steven Stock said the grand slam took momentum away from the Pintos
"The grand slam was a killer," he said.
The Pintos had scoring chances in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but only managed to get one more run.
In the fourth inning, the Pintos had runners on second and third with two outs, but could not convert that chance because of a groundout.
In the fifth inning, the Pintos had runners in scoring position again, but did not score in part to a close call at home plate where Lauren Hill was called out. Later in that inning, the Pintos loaded the bases, but a running catch by New Bloomfield's shortstop ended the potential comeback.
"The out at the plate was also a huge factor in the game," Stock said. "That not only cost us a run, but it took an out away from us."
In the sixth inning, the Pintos' batters forced three straight walks to load the bases, but California could only score one run. As a team, the Pintos forced six walks.
Lauren Spillars went 3-4 on the game with a double and an RBI. And Hannah Hill went 1-3 with a double and a walk.
Stock said the team has to get those runs in, in the future.
"Putting runners on base is great, but we have to find a way to get them in," Stock said. "We had some great chances and put ourselves in a position to get a win, but (were) unable to get big hits, when we needed them."
California's next game is Oct. 10 in the first round of districts at 5 p.m. against Versailles at California. If the Pintos win, the rest of district play will be Oct. 11-13 at Knob Noster.