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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaThe California Pintos softball team finished in first place at the California Tournament on Sept. 12. This is the tournament’s third year, and the Pintos have won each edition.

The California Pintos softball team (7-1) won all three of the games it played en route to a first place finish at the California Tournament on Sept. 12. California won against Versailles (3-1) 11-0 and Belle (1-2) 14-1, before ending the tournament with a 10-3 win over St. Elizabeth (3-3).

Head coach Steven Stock said the team takes a little bit of pride in winning its home tournament.

"We take a little bit of pride. It is our tournament, and I guess it is the third year we have had it, and we have won all three years," Stock said. "It is our field, and we want to play well on our field and continue to win our tournament."

In the win over Versailles in the first game of the tournament for the Pintos, California scored 11 runs on 12 hits and had no errors in the game. The team scored 10 of its 11 runs in the fourth inning. Lauren Hill led the team with five RBI, and pitching-wise, Camryn Schlup struck out 10 batters in the win.

In their win over Belle, the Pintos scored in every inning. The team led 3-1 after the first inning and then proceeded to score six runs in the second inning, one run in the third inning, and four runs in the fourth inning. Lauren Hill led the team in RBI in this game as well with five. Ella Percival and Schlup both had two RBI in the game. The team scored 14 runs on seven hits and took advantage of Belle's seven errors in the game. Lauren Spillars was the pitcher for this one, and she struck out four batters for California.

In the final game of the day, the Pintos won against St. Elizabeth as they scored 10 runs on 14 hits. Ellie Clay pitched in the final game for California and she struck out 11 batters.

The Pintos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against St. Elizabeth. Lauren Hill drove in the first run of the game with a base hit with two runners on base to get the Pintos on the scoreboard. Mariah Mills then scored the other run as she hit a high pop up that got called an infield fly, but the ball still hit the ground with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.

After a scoreless top of the second inning, California added three runs to its lead in the bottom part of the inning. Sydney Percival started the inning with a double and after Lauren Spillars singled, Camryn Schlup drove in the run to make it 3-0. Clay then hit a triple to right field that made it 4-0. Hill drove in the final run of the inning on a base hit to make it 5-0.

Stock said the team swung at pitches it could hit well.

"Swinging at pitches we can hit well is a big thing," Stock said. "Number two, we made some adjustments. We faced some pitchers that did not throw quite as hard and our kids, after the first time through, made some adjustments and waited a little bit longer and started hitting the ball better. When you hit the ball well, it is going to drop in most of the time and that results in better scoring."

St. Elizabeth got on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning as, with two runners on second and third, a ground out scored the first run for St. Elizabeth to make it 5-1. The other run scored on a pitch that got past home plate to make it a 5-2 game. With a runner on third, two outs and a full count at the plate, Clay was able to strike out the next batter to end the inning.

The scored remained the same until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Pintos pulled away thanks to a five-run inning to make it 10-2. The team had it going at the plate in that inning, as the Pintos had five batters reach base safely before recording an out.

St. Elizabeth scored one more time in the top of the sixth inning to make it 10-3, but California had the game and tournament firmly in hand by then.

The team's next game is at 5 p.m. Sept. 17 against Southern Boone (1-4).

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