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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaHunter Berendzen pitches April 12 during the Pintos’ 7-2 win against Versailles. Berendzen pitched all seven innings for the Pintos, striking out nine batters.

VERSAILLES — The California Pintos baseball team (8-2) tacked on some late insurance runs April 12 as it dispatched the Versailles Tigers (5-5) in a 7-2 win.

California jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Versailles was able to make it a one-run game after scoring twice in the bottom of the second to make it 3-2.

In the top of the third inning, the Pintos had runners on second and third with one out, following a double steal. Trevor Myers hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game.

The score remained the same in the fourth inning; while the Pintos had a chance to add to their lead with a runner on third and two outs, the team was unable to get the run across the plate. Hunter Berendzen struck out three batters in the bottom of the fourth inning, but a dropped third strike on the third batter allowed the Tigers to get a runner on base. That wouldn’t ultimately come back to haunt the Pintos, as the runner was picked off at first during the next at-bat to end the inning.

Neither team was able to get anything going on offense in the fifth inning, as the score remained at 4-2.

After their big first inning, the Pintos struggled to get runs across home plate during the middle innings. Pintos head coach Steven Stock said the team needed to show more discipline at the plate.

“I don’t think we were selective enough,” Stock said. “We swung at some pitches that were hard to square up. We had a couple of innings early where we got a runner on, and you have to be patient so you have time to move the runner around and get a run here and a run there.”

In the top of the sixth inning, the Pintos had runners on second and third with two outs. Then, California scored a run thanks to an error at third base to make it 5-2.

The Pintos added a couple of runs in the top of the seventh inning, as Ian Peterson smacked a base hit to left center with a runner on second base to make it 6-2. The Pintos added one more run to make it 7-2, then shut down Versailles in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.

Stock said getting those runs late in the game was huge.

“When you get to the sixth inning and you are up a couple of runs, you are just a hit and a walk or something away from them getting even with us,” Stock said. “Adding on and keep battling is huge. Adding one or two runs here or there and making it a three-, four-, five-run lead in the sixth and seventh innings is a lot more comfortable.”

California scored its seven runs on 11 hits and had two errors in the game. Versailles scored its two runs on five hits and had four errors in the game.

Peterson led California with three hits in the game, followed by Myers and Calen Kruger, who both added two hits. Peterson also led the team with two RBIs.

Berendzen pitched seven innings for California and struck out nine batters in the win. Stock said a performance like that during a game helps the team a lot.

“Hunter was fantastic tonight; he went in and threw about 80 pitches and had a complete game and was in complete control,” Stock said, “That helps us as a team a lot.”

The Pintos’ next game is at 5 p.m. April 15 at Osage.

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