Castaic High School Coyotes baseball caught fire in Friday’s Division 6 quarterfinal home win over the Mayfair Monsoons.
The Coyotes won 20-2 off of 20 hits, including yet another Joji Sakata grand slam.
Sakata’s slam was the cherry on top of a nine-run fourth inning, where Castaic nearly went through its lineup twice.
Sakata noticed Joel Dawson, the pitcher he was facing, was struggling to find his curveball. Sakata jumped on a ball that missed high and inside and launched it out of the yard for his third grand slam of the season, and second in the playoffs.
“Recently we have been hitting a lot and working on situations,” Sakata said. “We have been seeing the ball really well and we have been getting after it the past couple weeks.”
Sakata was one of seven Coyotes with multi-hit days. The team was led by center fielder Brody Lusk, who had four hits on the day and batted 1.000.
Mayfair fought to counter but just couldn’t find enough rhythm against Coyotes pitcher Tyler Hawn. The pitcher threw six innings and allowed nine hits with one walk. Both Mayfair runs came against Hawn but the Coyotes played lights-out defense to strand the Monsoon baserunners.
“Everything felt pretty good,” Hawn said. “I honestly didn’t even feel like I had my best stuff, but this year I’ve been able to learn how to pitch out of jams and get weak contact. And I credit a lot of that to watching Kyler Freude this year and taking some inspiration from how he attacks teams.”
Freude, the team’s other starting pitcher, had the day off on the mound but still added three hits for the Castaic offense.
Hawn forced a good amount of weak contact off the bat, leaving it all in the hands of the Castaic defense.
“I can’t talk enough about how amazing my defense is behind me,” Hawn said. “Knowing I have those boys behind me is comforting as a pitcher. Having guys like Kyler, Lusk, Jacob Bond, and Matt Airhart in the outfield is huge. And my left side of the infield with Luna and Aaron has been truly incredible, they have been vacuums over there stopping everything. I also have to show love to Jack Teoli because he works hard behind the dish and is an amazing catcher to have as a pitcher.”
Hawn also felt great at the plate and went 3-for-4 with a double.
Needless to say, Castaic had a ton of fun in front of one of their largest home crowds this season. The Coyotes played one of their best games of the year in front of the huge crowd, in their program’s first home playoff game.
“It gave us a lot of pride and motivation to play in front of that big of a crowd,” Hawn said. “Seeing all our friends and family in the stands cheering for us definitely gave us that extra motivation to go out and show off for all our wonderful fans. We also owe a big thank you to Principal Vince Ferry, he has done so much for the program and has been a huge supporter for us.”
Castaic’s historic season now continues into the CIF semifinals. The Coyotes will return home for the second straight game and host the No. 1 Bloomington Bruins (25-3) on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.
Bloomington is hot off a 6-3 road win over the Trinity Knights but the Bruins will need to make the hour and a half drive again up to Santa Clarita and get through Castaic for a spot in the finals.
Both teams have daunting playoff wins, as the Bruins won 19-6 in the second round over Loara. Castaic will likely face junior lefty Andrew Tejeda on the mound. The Bruins also have several solid hitters but will have to go up against the Coyote ace in Freude. The Castaic lefty has had a solid playoff run and will look to punch his team’s ticket to the CIF championship game as well as the SoCal Regional Tournament.
“I’m really confident in my team especially with how we have been playing recently,” Sakata said. “We have the team to win it all, we just have to execute. I’m really proud of these boys.”