PREP BASEBALL: Castillo's sac fly scores game-winner, Goshen gifts Concord first NLC loss

Apr. 24—GOSHEN — The RedHawks leadoff hitters reached base six times Wednesday night.

They scored four times, leading to Goshen's 10-inning 4-3 upset of Concord (8-4, 3-1 NLC) at Phend Field on a chilly April night.

Senior first baseman Damian Castillo drove in the winning run when the RedHawks (4-7, 2-3 NLC) loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th with nobody out. Castillo's sac fly was directed towards left field. The throw to home was late, as senior Jace Hershberger swiped the plate and was joined by teammates.

"They [Concord] played great defensively so we had to earn everything," Goshen coach J.J. DuBois said. "Thankfully they gave us one towards the end but that was a stressful one."

The pitcher Hershberger, a cheering favorite for the home dugout, took the first at-bat of the final frame. A grounder towards third ended with the throw bouncing off the Minutemen first baseman and Hershberger rounded, missing the bag but safely tagging on the turn back towards the pad.

Bringing up the top of the order, Caelan Miller squared a perfect bunt up the left side in between the charging third baseman and Minutemen reliever. With two on, nobody out, Two-hitter Braxton Cline stepped to the plate.

A bunt from Cline drew the largest reaction on a ruling Wednesday night when Concord's pitcher in Alex Jiminez corralled the ball and extended to tag Cline. The sophomore Cline dodged the tag jumping to his right. The first base umpire ruled the tag was missed and that Cline stayed in the running lane, loading the bases and eventually scoring the game-winner.

Both coaches found calls to argue Wednesday, but the last few drew ire from the visitors.

"Well I think there was two... kid bunted the ball, we thought he was clearly out of the box and then I don't know why you can run so far outside the baseline to avoid the tag and he [umpire] says you can avoid a tag and I'm like 'what are you talking about,'" Minutemen coach Greg Hughes said.

"We're not going to blame it on that though," Hughes continued. "It's easy to, but bottom line to me is we had too many walks, we gotta get more first-pitch strikes and then one of their runs was drove in on an 0-2 pitch that was over the middle of the plate."

Letting on the leadoff man hurt the Concord pitching staff, which bent throughout the night but rarely broke.

DuBois felt that while the RedHawks started ahead most innings, bringing in the runner was difficult for Goshen. In the eighth, he home 'Hawks put a runner on second with one out. When the bases were loaded with two outs, Goshen ran into a flyout.

"In extra innings I felt like we had a lot of opportunities," DuBois said. "We had the great part of our lineup a lot of times, we just didn't come through."

Goshen scored the first two runs Wednesday night. Miller scored on a wild pitch in the third and Cline was brought in on a double from Quinn Landes.

In the sixth, Concord plated a much-needed trio. Loading the bases with one out, two wild pitches from Goshen starter Ryen Diaz allowed the 2-2 score. A single from Noah Norwood then gave Concord the 3-2 advantage.

Needing the equalizer in the seventh, Miller reached base on a single to lead the inning off. With the bases packed and one out, Kyan Miller sent a lazy flyball to left-center field, bringing in Caelan Miller for the tying score.

"I though Ryen Diaz pitched a heck of a game," DuBois said of his starter who went six innings, striking out five batters, walking four and allowing four hits. "He competed through some adversity there. Those passed balls have kind of been an issue for us at times this year. The guys did a great job of not totally losing it and we were able to minimize damage."

With substitutions and sick members on the RedHawk roster, Hershberger came up clutch on the mound and more importantly, in the box.

"I just raved about this," DuBois said. "Jace hasn't had a varsity at-bat ever. We had two guys out sick, we had no bench left so we couldn't' hit for him so I just told him to go up there and compete and the guy reaches base twice and scores the winning run. That was miraculous in itself."

"He actually talked to me today at school and just said 'I need my confidence back' and I told him 'you'll get it back tonight when you get a shot' and he did; he pitched very well," DuBois continued.

Herschberger threw four innings of relief, allowing just one hit, walking one and striking out three.

Goshen outhit Concord 10-5. Both teams made two errors. Caelan Miller finished 4-5, with three singles and a double. He also walked once.

Concord entered the night on a six-game win streak. That streak, and the Minutemen's sole ownership of the Northern Lakes conference lead, went by the wayside in the loss.

"We scored the ball good we just seemed to hit shots right at guys," Hughes said. "It's a tough conference, everybody competes. You're bound to have games like this. We just gotta see what team we are and bounce back."

Goshen meanwhile has won it's last two — both over conference opponents. With a young team learning its way, is a good sign for DuBois.

"We're getting there," DuBois said. "We just have to show consistent growth."

Concord hosts Warsaw Friday. Goshen will host Wawasee the same day.

Reach Matt Lucas at 574-533-2151, ext. 240325, or at