By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The Castaic Coyotes (3-2-1) fell on the road to the Campbell Hall Vikings (3-2) in a tightly contested Saturday morning game.
Campbell Hall took the game by storm in the fifth inning, scoring three runs.
Matt Airhart got the start for Castaic. The pitcher gave up two early runs in the bottom of the first but locked in and had multiple quick innings before a few pitches got away from the junior, sparking the Vikings’ fifth inning run.
The Vikings’ Diego Velazquez hit an RBI single to tie the game with two outs. Junior Gabe Williams would do the rest of the damage for Campbell Hall with a monster two-RBI triple to left field to take the 5-3 lead.
Castaic managed to answer in the third inning. Right fielder Joji Sakata had the chance to really put the Vikings in trouble but his line drive to right hit base runner Tyler Hawn, awarding an automatic out to Castaic but keeping the bases loaded.
The top of the third saw Coyotes’ captain Ethan Silva step to the plate with two outs and launched another line drive to the Vikings infield. This hit, however, was too much for Campbell Hall shortstop Ben Caitilin, whose two errors cost the team three runs. The infielder bobbled the hit before overthrowing the ground-out to first base, scoring three Coyotes.
Airhart was then moved to center field, ending his three-strikeout day after giving up five runs. The junior also batted 1-4 with a run scored.
The mound was then cleared for pitcher Brayden Lester who retired four straight Vikings batters to give Castaic a chance.
“We are building a winning program,” said Lester. “This is really something that no one is expecting. We’re going to come out and show everybody who we are.”
The Coyotes couldn’t respond in the sixth and followed the Vikings’ rally with a 1-2-3 inning for pitcher Sam Koehler. Koehler pitched the full game, finishing with four hits and four strikeouts.
Castaic had a chance to steal the game late and found themselves with two runners on and no outs in the seventh thanks to consecutive Vikings’ defensive errors. However, the Coyotes just could not bring anyone home. Hawn was caught stealing second and Sakata grounded out to end the game.
“This is our first year of varsity,” said Castaic head coach Darrell Davis. “These boys have been playing hard. They’ve been working hard.”
The Coyotes in their first year of varsity baseball have been playing well. The team’s three-run performance was their lowest mark of the season. Saturday’s loss was the team’s first actual loss as the Coyotes forfeited a game earlier this season. The Coyotes are currently without a handful of key players as the team waits for players to return from injuries, suspensions and transfer periods.
“The future is bright for us,” said Davis. “We’re going to continue to battle and play every game hard. We’ll be ready [for league play].”