RUSSELLVILLE — A nine-run sixth inning helped the California Pintos top the Russellville Indians 14-4 on April 8.
California (5-3) struck first in the game as they took a 1-0 lead behind the solo home run of Hayden Green, who was the second batter of the game for the Pintos.
The Pintos offense had more success in the top of the second inning as it scored four runs to make it a 5-0 game. Clayton Winkler doubled to left field to make it 2-0, Gabe Bailey would hit a two RBI single into left to make it a 4-0 game, and Lucas Ash would drive in one more run on a ground out to third base.
California had success on offense when they were aggressive at the start of their at bats. Head coach Steven Stock said they were getting better in the batter's box.
"Rather than sitting back and being indecisive, we told them to come out of the gate and put pressure on them," Stock said. "It makes it easier to play when when you get a little bit ahead of someone."
The Indians (7-6) answered in the bottom of the second inning. Trenton Morrow started the inning with a walk, and with one out, Dawson Koch would double to drive Morrow home and get the Indians on the board. Chandler Miller would then drive in Koch during the next at bat with a single to center field to make it a 5-2 game.
Russellville chipped away at the Pintos' lead in the bottom of the third inning. The Indians had two men on base with one out when Landon Plochberger hit a two RBI double to left field to make it a 5-4 game.
Russellville head coach Lucas Branson said the team always tries to focus on winning every inning.
"We did a pretty good job of getting back into it by putting together some good at-bats but just couldn't get the big hits we needed to put us on top," Branson said.
Both teams were held in check on offense until the top of the sixth inning, where the Pintos would get the bases loaded thanks to two hits and an error to start the inning. Then Colton Warren doubled to left to make it 7-4. Russellville had multiple errors in the inning as the Pintos continued to add runs to their lead.
Stock said they told the team to look for the breaking pitches Russellville was throwing.
"Once we were a little more patient and expected the breaking ball, we put it in play and the kids just put the bat on the ball. When you put the bat on the ball, good things can happen," Stock said.
Branson said: "Preventing a big inning has been a problem for us over the last week, so it is something that gets back to being better defensively and being able to locate pitches when we need to. I expect our guys will work hard in practice over the next few days and we will get this corrected.".
Russellville would get a couple of runners on in the bottom of the sixth inning but were not able to cut into the lead.
California scored 14 runs on 13 hits and had no errors. Russellville scored their four runs on six hits but had six errors on defense.
Branson said the team needs to prepare better.
"Not really sure why we are struggling a bit defensively right now other than our confidence is down. So we have to work hard to regain that," he said.
Gabe Bailey led the Pintos with three RBIs in the game; Clayton Winkler, Lucas Ash and Colton Warren all had two RBIs. For the Indians, Landon Plochberger led the team with two RBIs.
On the mound, Carson Ash pitched three innings for California and gave up four runs on five hits, three walks and one strike out. For Russellville, Mason Stewart pitched 1.1 inning and gave up three runs on four hits and one walk.