The California Lady Pintos softball won games against the Belle Lady Tigers and Russellville Lady Indians last week.
In the first game at home against Belle, the Lady Pintos selected sophomore Peyton Dunham as its starting pitcher. Belle chose senior Nevaeh Kinsey as their starter.
Both teams traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the fourth when California broke through. First baseman Kylee Wright singled up the middle after catcher Addie Clay tried to advance to third with a double.
Shortstop Ryleigh Roellig walked on four pitches. California's next batter, third baseman Emily Burger, stepped up to the plate and hit a 2-0 pitch to right field for a double that scored both runners for a 2-0 lead.
Dunham halted the Lady Tigers' offense by pitching 12 strikeouts.
California added an insurance run in the sixth when Clay scored on a wild pitch from third base. California's 3-0 win over Belle Aug. 29 was their first under new head coach Ashley Anderson.
For California, starting pitcher Peyton Dunham allowed no runs on four hits with 12 strikeouts. Catcher Addie Clay batted 3-3 with a run scored. Third baseman Emily Burger batted 1-3 with two RBIs in the fourth inning.
For Belle, starting pitcher Nevaeh Kinsey allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Shortstop Aubrey Rehmert, catcher Natalie Gehlert, first baseman Dekota Butcher and Kinsey each batted 1-3.
Anderson said the biggest key to the win over Belle was California's dedication to the fundamentals of softball.
Two days later, the Lady Pintos played the Russellville Lady Indians, who finished third in Class 2 softball last year.
California scored in the first inning. Dunham, once again the starting pitcher, hit a lead-off double to right field. After Clay walked to first, first baseman Kylee Wright singled. Both runners scored after an error.
Dunham struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the second. However, Russellville then came from behind to load the bases. Center fielder Erin Schroer hit a bases-clearing double to give the Lady Indians a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, pitcher K'Lea Basnett took a 0-1 pitch to left field for a double to score two more runs. Russellville went from being down 0-2 to going ahead 5-2.
The tide of the game had turned in the Lady Indians' favor and the Lady Pintos needed a reply.
In the top of the third, California had runners on first and second bases with one out. Junior first baseman Kylee Wright took the first pitch of her at-bat and hit the ball to right field, scoring two runs. The next batter, Ryleigh Roellig, singled to left field. Wright scored after an error to tie the game 5-5.
The next batter, Burger, grounded into a fielder's choice. However, another error by Russellville allowed Roellig to score the go-ahead run. The Lady Pintos rallied for six more runs, resulting in a total of 10 runs in the inning.
After allowing a lead-off double to begin the bottom of the third, Dunham struck out the next three batters to maintain California's 12-5 lead.
The Lady Pintos added six more runs to their total in the top of the fourth and won 18-6 in five innings.
For California, pitcher Peyton Dunham allowed six runs on eight hits with three walks and nine strikeouts on 113 total pitches. Kylee Wright batted 3-3 with three RBIs and a walk. Kinley Higgins batted 2-3 with three runs and an RBI. Addie Clay batted 1-1 with four runs, three walks and an RBI. Emily Burger batted 1-3 with two runs and two RBIs.
For Russellville, pitcher K'Lea Basnett allowed 18 runs on 11 hits with nine walks and three strikeouts on 145 total pitches. Erin Schroer batted 3-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Karleigh Grayson batted 1-3 with two runs.
Coach Anderson said Dunham was on the mound again because of her ability to throw more strikes than balls in every outing.
When California trailed 5-2 going into the third inning, Anderson challenged her players to see what they're made of when they are trailing in a game.
"We just said there's a lot of game left. We've got the fight because there were a couple of mishaps we had and that is going to happen, but we've got to come back and bounce back. Once we started scoring, it was nice to see us bounce back instead of just shut down," Anderson said. "Is there room to work? Absolutely. There's still room for work, but they've got to believe in themselves when they step up to the plate. They're gonna make the contact and make the other play."
The Lady Pintos go to Iberia Thursday and play in the Lake of the Ozarks Tournament at Ball Parks National this weekend.