WARDSVILLE, Mo. — The California Pintos softball team had its three-game winning streak snapped Oct. 1 after a 9-1 loss to the Blair Oaks Falcons.
The Pintos (14-4) had shut out all three of their previous opponents during the winning streak before the loss.
The Pintos had a chance to take the lead early in the game in the top of the second, as the Pintos had Ella Percival hit a leadoff double and later advance to third base on a ground out. But the next two batters both struck out facing Falcons pitcher Andi Siebeneck.
The Pintos had a hard time getting the bat on the ball in the game, as they struck out 10 times and only had three hits.
The Falcons scored the first runs of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Blair Oaks scored three times in the inning to take a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, all three batters struck out for California. Blair Oaks pulled away in the bottom of the third inning, as the team scored four runs in the third to make it 7-0.
California was able to get on the board in the top of the fourth inning as Camryn Schlup singled with one out in the inning. The next batter, Percival, made it to first base after a force out at second, and Jenna Berendzen singled to give the team runners on the corners with two outs. Mariah Mills hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield but was able to beat the throw to first. Percival beat the throw back to home plate with a slide to get California on the board.
Blair Oaks responded with another run in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 8-1 and would score once more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-1. The Falcons scored their nine runs on 13 hits and took advantage of five errors by the Pintos.
The Pintos have not trailed often this season. Before this game, the Pintos had only fallen behind their opponents four times.
Head coach Steven Stock said the team competed even when down early.
"I was pleased with how they competed again — we gave (Blair Oaks) too much and when you give a good team too many outs, they are going to beat you," Stock said.
Stock said going into this game the team knew it had to play some good defense.
"We knew coming over here that to beat a team as good as Blair Oaks you (have) to pretty much play errorless defense and you (have) to find a way to scratch and claw on offense," Stock said. "We felt good coming out 0-0 in the first inning, and then we threw a couple of balls that they bunted down and threw them away and gave them three unearned runs early. A good team like that, if you make mistakes, they are going to beat you."
When the Pintos scored in the fourth inning, Stock said execution was the difference to the struggles they had earlier in the game.
"We got somebody on second base, and we were able to put the ball in play and got first and third and again put the ball in play," Stock said. "The first chance we had to score we had a leadoff double, and we did not get the bat on the ball and left her stranded. You have to execute — when you have runners on base, you have to put the ball in play so the defense has to make plays. We did that in the (fourth inning) and it allowed us to score a run."
The Lady Pintos' next game is at 5 p.m. Thursday at home against Hallsville, with districts just a week away.