By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
It would come down to the wire in dramatic fashion but Castaic (6-2-1, 2-0) prevailed after nearly imploding in the top of the seventh against Golden Valley (4-5, 0-2).
The Coyotes had steady bats throughout their order, a point they made clear Wednesday in their 17-1 win at Golden Valley.
Grizzlies head coach Adrian Rios made it clear to his team to forget about Wednesday’s loss and focus on the next game.
Friday’s matchup wasn’t too different with Castaic scoring in four of their six innings of work. The Coyotes struck first in the first with junior Joji Sakata’s RBI single scoring Aaron Gonzalez for the first point of the game.
Castaic starting pitcher Tyler Hawn made it near impossible for the Grizzlies to get anything going. The sophomore threw six strong innings, two of them perfect in his win.
“I have a great arsenal of pitches that I trust,” said Hawn. “I just got to mix it up and catch them off guard. That’s my goal.”
Hawn also nearly out hit Golden Valley himself, finishing 3-4 at the plate.
“Tyler’s our bulldog,” said Castaic head coach Darrell Davis. “It’s scary he’s just a tenth grader.”
The only batter Hawn struggled with was his counterpart, Grizzlies starting pitcher Jack Steidl, who batted 2-3 going 2-2 with a walk against Hawn.
Castaic did their worst damage in the third inning.
Matt Airhart would score on a ground ball that Golden Valley scooped but just missed on the throw to the plate. Sakata then got his second RBI, sacrifice flying out. Hawn capped off the inning with an RBI single to take a 5-2 lead.
The damage could’ve been much worse but head coach Adrian Rios made a tough call to pull Steidl with the bases loaded and two outs. Short stop Maurice Edwards entered, having the top of the order to deal with. But the captain showed no jitters and struck out the leadoff Airhart, stranding three Coyote base runners.
Golden Valley couldn’t react in time though. The Grizzlies had the chance to tie the game but junior Ben Strassner flied out, stranding two.
Hawn’s day was done after six and Davis sent in left handed pitcher Gabriel Veltri to close out the game.
Veltri threw seven consecutive balls to start and quickly found himself in a jam with the bases loaded. He wouldn’t retire a batter before being pulled for fellow leftie Anthony Estrada.
Estrada also wouldn’t fare well and threw a wild first pitch which scored the first of five Golden Valley seventh inning runs. After a few more walks Estrada was also pulled for captain Ethan Silva.
The shortstop would also give up a few runs before retiring Steidl to escape the game. Steidl batted well and had the tying run on second.
“We knew today they were going to come out and give us all they had and they did,” said Davis. “Every single team [in league] is tough and we know that. Every game we play in league, we have to give everything we have.”
Golden Valley is looking to find their groove again after a hot start offensively. The Grizzlies will have a series with the defending champs Wednesday and Friday, as Golden Valley takes on Hart.
Castaic will have another tough assignment in Valencia who is coming off two beatdowns of Saugus.
“We’re just going out there, we don’t care what team we’re facing,” said Hawn. “When Wednesday comes around, we’re going to be ready.”