The California Lady Pintos volleyball team traveled to the small town of Iberia Thursday night for their second matchup of the season with the Lady Rangers. The Lady Pintos won 7-6 in their first meeting with Iberia Aug. 28 and were coming off their first conference win of the season last Tuesday, when they defeated Eldon 12-6.
Despite the momentum entering the night, the Lady Pintos ultimately came up short. California lost 13-4 and dropped to a 3-6 record on the season.
The Lady Pintos set the tempo early in the contest. After a scoreless first inning, catcher Kylee Wright stepped up, making some key plays from behind the plate in the bottom of the second. Wright made an assist during a cutoff play twice in the bottom of the second inning, which kept the game scoreless until the third inning, when California rallied for three runs off Lady Rangers starting pitcher Kinlee Cochran. After giving up two runs in the bottom of the third, California still held a 3-2 lead entering the fifth inning.
Things took a turn for the worse for the Lady Pintos as the game entered the bottom of the sixth with the score tied at 4-4. Out of nowhere, Iberia's bats caught fire and the Lady Rangers rallied for nine runs in the sixth inning. Six of their nine runs were added with one out in the inning.
The Lady Rangers broke the game wide open and finished off the Lady Pintos with a scoreless top of the seventh, making the final score 13-4 and giving Iberia High School the victory. California's final box score would read four runs on six hits with two errors, while Iberia finished with 13 runs on 15 hits with one error.
Lady Pintos head coach Steven Stock said the Lady Pintos played a great game up until the sixth inning and played well enough to win, but committed a cardinal sin of softball by leaving runners on base.
"(Pitcher Gabrielle Rohrbach) threw the ball tremendously on the mound. She kept us in the game for six innings," Stock said. "We gave (up) a few runs in the third and fifth inning and we left runners on third. If we get three of those in, it's a different ball game."
In that sixth inning, Stock explained that errors committed on the defensive end were what sealed the Lady Pintos' fate and caused the Lady Rangers to hit their stride.
"We got to the sixth, everything was going great. Then, all of a sudden, it just seemed like we had to throw the ball right down the middle and that didn't help," Stock said. "They got a couple of hits and then the momentum just completely got us. But for six innings, it was a great ball game. Our kids did a great job. We just had one bad inning."
Stock gave the starting pitcher signal to Rohrbach. Despite the one bad inning she had, Stock said Rohrbach played well enough to not only win Thursday's game but also to shut down Iberia's lineup from top to bottom.
"She came in and we made a little mistake here and a little mistake there. But she basically could've shut them out for six innings," Stock said. "She was just awesome. She threw a great game on the mound and deserved to win. It was just a crazy game."
California went home disappointed last Thursday night, but they didn't have much time to rest. The Lady Pintos had to turn around and play again against South Callaway barely 24 hours later. They answered the challenge from the Lady Bulldogs and defeated South Callaway 5-2.
The Lady Pintos began a four-game road trip Monday, starting with a matchup against the Eugene Lady Eagles. Their next game on the calendar will be a trip to Southern Boone Thursday.