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Pintos shutout Versailles in District semifinals

by Evan Holmes | May 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
California second baseman Cameron Combs slides into home on a passed by to give California a 3-0 lead on the Versailles Tigers. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

California Pintos baseball began defending their district title Monday in the Class 4 District 9 semifinals against the Versailles Tigers. California pitcher Martin Kilmer pitched seven shutout innings to propel California to a 6-0 win and a spot in district finals.

The Pintos avoided trouble in the first inning after allowing a single and an error on a ground ball to second base put two runners on. However, the Pintos escaped the inning on a double play.

In the bottom of the first, California had runners on first and second base with one out. Right fielder Colin Althoff grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners. During the next at-bat with California left fielder Jace Schreck at the plate, Althoff tried to steal second base. While Althoff caught the attention off the infield, California third baseman Will Edwards took the opening and stole home plate to give California a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, California pitcher Martin Kilmer was hit-by-pitch on the leadoff at-bat. Kilmer moved up to second on a passed ball and then to third base on a groundout. The next batter, catcher Brayden Hallford, hit a groundout to the shortstop, allowing Kilmer to reach home plate for a run.

Kilmer retired the side in the top of the third. California loaded the bases in the bottom of the third with two outs. With Kilmer up to bat, a 1-2 pitch got away from the Versailles catcher, allowing the runner on third base, second baseman Cameron Combs, to score another run.

Kilmer retired the side again in both the fourth and fifth innings.

In the top of the sixth, the Tigers got a lead-off single from shortstop Reese Murdock. Then, a walk to left fielder Jaxon Gideon put two runners with one out. With Versailles on the verge of cutting into California's 3-0 lead, but the Pintos an end to those plans after the next two Versailles batters popped out in foul territory and lined out to the shortstop respectively.

California had the bases loaded again in the bottom of the sixth with one out. Third baseman Will Edwards scored California's fourth run on an RBI groundout to second base. The Pintos' next batter, first baseman Hunter Berendzen, followed up by hitting a two-run single to left field.

Kilmer kept the Tigers scoreless in the seventh and pitched a complete shutout game to give Califorina a 6-0 win and a spot in the district championship game.

California pitcher Martin Kilmer pitched a complete game, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts.

California first baseman Hunter Berendzen hit 1-2 with two RBI's and two walks.

California second baseman Cameron Combs hit 2-4 with two runs scored.

California left fielder Jace Schreck and designated hitter Tristan Nokes each batted 2-3.

Pintos head coach Steven Stock said Kilmer pitched one of his best games of the season and, with the help of the defense behind him, California was able to stay in control of the game with the offense doing it's job.

"Martin's been throwing the ball well for us all year. We thought that if he could throw strikes and if our defense played well behind him, then we would give ourselves a chance. We did exactly that," Stock said. "Offensively in the first couple of innings, we got up three runs just based on our execution with getting runners on base, advancing them and bringing them home. We were able to add a couple more runs late and our execution was really good."

The Pintos will now play in the district championship against the team they beat in the district title game last season, the Eldon Mustangs. Stock said in order for California to beat Eldon for the championship, they will need to control both sides of the field and not beat themselves with errors.

"Eldon has greating pitching and they hit the ball up and down the line really well. It's all going to come down us throwing the ball over the plate and defensively we have to make plays. If we can do that, we feel like we'll be able to compete and then find a way to score some runs. We're where we want to be right now and we'll see what we can do," Stock said.

California and Eldon will play for the district title at 5 p.m. today at Versailles High School.

photo California pitcher Martin Kilmer pitched six seven shutout innings and allowed only three hits in the Pintos' 6-0 win over Versailles in the district semifinal Monday. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo California catcher Brayden Hallford hits an RBI ground out to put California up 2-0 in the second inning.(Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo California courtesy runner Alex Bews prepares to run to third base. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

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