The California Pintos baseball team (14-3) capped off a 5-2 win April 21 over the Harrisburg Bulldogs (3-5) by celebrating its Senior Night.
The Pintos got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. After that quick start, the Pintos’ bats went cold; California was unable to score again until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Head coach Steven Stock said the team struggled to consistently hit the ball hard.
Despite the struggles on offense after the first inning, the Pintos shut out Harrisburg all the way until the top of the sixth inning. Stock said the team played good defense throughout the game. The Pintos’ defense executed one double play in the top of the first inning, and another in the top of the fourth inning.
“The guys maintained good defense and made the plays they needed to hold them to two runs,” Stock said.
The Pintos added one run in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out in the inning, Drake Schlup got on base with a base hit and later stole second after a bad pick-off attempt. Calen Kruger was hit by a pitch, giving the Pintos another base runner. During the next at-bat, both runners were able to advance one base and Lucas Ash drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
In the top of the sixth inning, Harrisburg had two runners on base and one out in the inning. The second out was recorded when a runner was thrown out trying to steal. Later in the inning, Harrisburg scored its first run when a pitch got away from home plate and the runner at third scored to make it 4-1. Harrisburg was able to get another runner in scoring position, but the Pintos escaped the inning after forcing a pop up to end the inning.
California got a run back in the bottom of the sixth inning; with a runner on second base and two outs, Hunter Berendzen drove in a run with a hit to make it 5-1.
Harrisburg did not go away quietly, however. In the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs quickly loaded the bases after the first three batters reached base safely. With Lucas Ash pitching for California in the inning, the Pintos were able to get the first out on a ground out, but a run scored to make it 5-2. Ash struck out the next batter for the second out, and with runners on the corners, the game ended with a pop out to give the Pintos the win.
Stock said being able to close out close games like this can help the team’s confidence.
“It helps with having confidence that we can finish games by making good pitches and making the plays on defense to close out games,” Stock said.
The Pintos scored their five runs on four hits and had three errors in the game. Harrisburg scored two runs on two hits and had four errors in the game. Ian Peterson led the Pintos with two RBIs in the game. Trevor Myers pitched six innings and struck out seven batters in the game for California.
The Pintos’ next games are May 1 against Centralia and Father Tolton at Centralia.