Chance after chance was put to pasture as Daniel Castano worked out of jams consistently in a 3-2 win over Bowie Tuesday afternoon at Burger Stadium.
Bowie loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with one out, but Castano induced a weak comebacker for the second out and a sharp line drive to first baseman Tyler Payne for the final out.
Castano struck out nine but gave up 10 hits and a walk as the Bulldogs made the lefty work for every out. However, Bowie stranded a runner at third base in five of the seven innings, providing all the difference in the victory.
“I was throwing my best stuff – I was on the corners, and they were fighting it off and doing things most teams aren’t able to do,” Castano said. “I really do give them respect for those great hits and great at-bats. It was a good game … It was a big win all around.”
Lake Travis turned things around from its 1-0 loss in the district opener and cooled off Bowie in the process after the Bulldogs beat Westlake 15-7 in those two teams’ opener.
Moreover, the Cavs were able to keep a team at bay in the final inning, whereas they had lost five of those tight contests in nondistrict play.
“All that was preparation for district, and tonight it helped us out because we’ve been in that situation a bunch,” Lake Travis baseball coach Roy Kinnan said. “Today, we got timely hitting and in the seventh inning we had two quality defensive plays. You [just need to] win by one, that’s what it comes down to and we talk about it all the time.”
Castano getting used to the bat
Usually, Castano doesn’t hit as the Cavs utilized a designated hitter for him last year, but recently the lefty worked his way into the lineup.
Following a Baker Mayfield single in the fourth, Castano had a single and wound up coming in to score the first run of the game.
“I was kind of tired of it and ready to hit myself, and I ended up being the first run, so it was pretty nice; it felt good,” said Castano, who embraces being the team’s number-oine starter. “I feel like it’s on my shoulders, and when we do play like this, I think we can win district.”
Catcher Wayne Figg had an RBI single and Connor Fussell added a sacrifice fly RBI to put Lake Travis ahead 3-0 in the top of the third.
When things got tight in the seventh, Figg felt Castano could close out the game despite Conner Mayes ready to go in relief, and Kinnan felt the same.
“We felt real good [Castano] was hitting his spots real well,” Figg said. “[At the plate], I just keep it in front of me; that’s what I’ve gotta think of.”
Kinnan added, “I went out there and asked how he was feeling and he said, ‘I’m feeling good.’ I check with Wayne, he says he still has his good stuff, so we’re good to go.”
Bowie battles back
Bowie finally broke through in the fifth with three singles, but again the Bulldogs stranded a runner at third as Castano struck out his seventh batter.
Then the Bulldogs got the ball to roll their way in the bottom of the seventh. Austin Eschenburg reached on a ball that didn’t leave the infield, placed perfectly in the hole on the left side to just beat the throw from shortstop Nico Escalante.
After another single by Andrew Reece, a soft liner came back at Castano and looked destined for a double-play try, but it richocheted off his foot and rolled to no-man’s-land, loading the bases with one out.
The next batter singled to center to make it 3-2, but the bases stayed loaded with one out.
Castano got a meekly hit ball back to him and tossed to Figg for the second out, then Payne snagged the liner to end it.
“We needed to get a win because we lost a close one, 1-0, last time,” Castano said. “Our team has started to really mesh right now.”
Escalante doubled in the second with two outs but was ultimately stranded. Lake Travis got a leadoff walk by Fussell in the third but couldn’t get him past second base before the Cavs put up three in the fourth.
The Cavs had one more shot to pad the lead when two errors allowed Payne and Brent Triolo to reach second and third, bring up Mayfield, but Bowie starter Andrew Paiz got him swinging to send it to the final half inning.
In the seventh, Figg and the Cavaliers were confident their ace would put them in position to win.
“I feel like we’re really tight now,” Figg said. “At the beginning of the season, we were really loose, but now we’re running on all cylinders.”