The California Pintos advanced to the Class 3 District 14 championship game after beating the Cole Camp Blue Jays 12-6 in the semifinal round May 13, after defeating the Versailles Tigers 11-1 in the first round May 10.
California had a chance to take the lead in the first inning against Cole Camp, as the Pintos had runners on second and third with no outs but didn't score after three straight strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first inning, Cole Camp had the bases loaded with no outs but California was able to get out of the jam and end the inning still tied in a scoreless game.
The Pintos came back from an early 4-0 deficit en route to their victory as Cole Camp scored four runs in the second inning to take the lead.
In the top of the third inning, with a runner on base, Gabe Bailey hit a two-run home run to make it a 4-2 game.
Head coach Steven Stock said the home run could be called the difference.
"(Cole Camp) had all the momentum, and it just put us back in the game," Stock said. "Being down four runs is tough, so it was huge to get us going, and it came at the right time."
The Pintos had a big top of the fifth inning as Hayden Green started the inning off with a base hit. That was followed by a hit by pitch that gave California two runners with no outs.
Lucas Ash made it a 4-3 game with an RBI base hit; Tagen Higgins then walked, and Calen Kruger got an RBI groundout to tie the game at 4-4. The Pintos took a 5-4 lead when Kraig Walkeer went to bat with runners on second and third with one out. Walker struck out on a wild pitch that went behind the Cole Camp catcher; Ash scored from third on the play as he dove head first to home and beat the tag. California added one more run to make it a 6-4 game.
California was able to get Cole Camp's starting pitcher Kaden Harms out of the game in fifth inning as they started to get some success against him.
"One of the things we know coming in and we try to do it most of the year is that if the kid on the mound is throwing well, we try to make him throw a lot of pitches and see if we can get rid of him," Stock said. "I was proud because we got to him enough to get him out. I think we took the lead off of him and then the kids just did a great job and had great at bats and got on base. When you get a lot of guys on base, sometimes it leads to a lot of runs."
Cole Camp would respond with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 6-6 as Andrew Hahnn had a two-RBI base hit to tie it.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Pintos came right back as they scored four runs in the inning to take a 10-6 lead. The Pintos took the lead for good on a RBI hit by pitch with the bases loaded that made it a 7-6 game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kruger was on the mound for the Pintos and all three outs in the inning where strikeouts. Two of the strikeouts came with two runners on base for Cole Camp.
California added some insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning to make it a 12-6 game. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Krueger struck out two batters in a row, walked one, and then ended the game on another strikeout.
California scored its 12 runs on eight hits and had two errors in the game. Cole Camp scored its six runs on eight hits and also had two errors in the game.
Kruger, Walker and Bailey all had two RBIs for California in the game. Kruger also led California on the mound with six strikeouts; Green had two strikeouts for California.
In the first round game versus Versailles, California led 8-0 after two innings and led 11-1 after five innings. California scored those 11 runs on eight hits and took advantage of Versailles' five errors. Kruger, Hayden Green and Bailey led the Pintos with two RBIs each.