Castaic Coyotes baseball beat the Hart Indians for the first time in program history, as the two split wins in Friday’s double-header at Hart.
The Coyotes got off to hot starts in both games and went on to win the first game 7-1 before dropping the second matchup 4-3.
Castaic ace Kyler Freude pitched a complete game in the first game, finishing with one earned run, seven hits with four strikeouts. Castaic backed up their man on the mound with an offensive clinic. Six Coyotes registered two-hit days en route to the win.
Coyotes head coach Darrell Davis left Hart with his head held high after taking one from the Indians.
“We started hitting right out of the gate and jumped on them,” Davis said. “I think they were a little surprised by that. We made plays, we hit and that was huge for us. If we can hit, we have the pitching and if our defense plays the way it is, we’re gonna be in ballgames.”
The win marked Hart’s first home league loss in four years and was Castaic’s first varsity team win over Hart in any sport.
The Indians trailed for more than 10 innings on Friday but head coach Jim Ozella saw his team remain ready to strike when they could.
“In the first game, we got all frustrated and started swinging at pitches out of the zone,” Ozella said. “I thought game two was a good game and we handled it well. We didn’t get as flustered and our pitchers did well.”
Hart’s offense took some time to get going in the second game. Leadoff hitter Michael Rogozik sparked a three-run inning with the first of four straight hits for Hart. Shortstop Brayden Jefferis brought in the game-tying run with an RBI before catcher Ryan De La Maza brought in a pair of Indian runners off a base hit.
Castaic immediately answered and finally started to get the best of Hart pitcher Troy Cooper. The junior pitcher shook off a two-hit, two-walk first inning, and controlled the game on the mound. However, Cooper’s day was ended by a deep triple from Coyotes third baseman Aaron Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and fellow senior Joji Sakata showed their consistency, as the only players with multiple hits in both games. However, Sakata believes anyone in the Castaic lineup is capable of big days.
“I think we’re capable of a lot,” Sakata said. “I don’t think we have any weak spots in our lineup, honestly. One through nine, everyone can hit.”
Hart left-handed pitcher Chris Downs entered for Cooper and shut the door on Castaic. Downs allowed just one hit with two strikeouts in his 2.1-inning win.
Rogozik then hit a booming triple of his own to score the eventual game-winning run. The center fielder led the Indians, going 2-of-4 at the plate.
“I think we showed a lot of character,” Rogozik said. “Obviously our first game isn’t what you want to see but being able to bounce back and still have that fight after playing for three and a half hours straight. It takes a lot of character and we were in a tight game and we were still in it. The energy was there and that’s what you want to see.”
Hart has had mixed results in non-league but will take all the tough competition it can get in its first year back in Division 1 and in a tough Foothill League.
“We’re still looking for some consistency,” Ozella said. “We’re still looking for some more offense. We have to keep playing better. Right now, we kind of have a little bit of a rollercoaster season.”
Both teams jump into non-league action over spring break. Castaic will be out of town for the San Diego Lions Tournament. The Indians will host Quartz Hill on Saturday, April 8, at 10 a.m.