Castro’s home runs power Mustangs to semifinals

Gilroy's Melinda Ortiz pitches during the second-round CCS

Mired in a slump to end the regular season, Gilroy High junior
Emily Castro felt like she needed to show why she deserves a spot
in the lineup for the rest of the Central Coast Section
playoffs.
With Gilroy and Homestead both sitting scoreless in the second
inning of Saturday’s quarterfinal contest at Salinas Sports
Complex, Castro made sure she and her team will be playing at least
one more game.
Following two walks and an error, Castro stepped up to the plate
and crushed a ball high and deep to left field in the second frame
for a grand slam, giving Gilroy a lead it would never relinquish as
the Mustangs went on to win 7-0. It is the second straight game in
CCS that the Mustangs have not allowed a run after beating No. 11
Leland in the first round 6-0.
Mired in a slump to end the regular season, Gilroy High junior Emily Castro felt like she needed to show why she deserves a spot in the lineup for the rest of the Central Coast Section playoffs.

With Gilroy and Homestead both sitting scoreless in the second inning of Saturday’s quarterfinal contest at Salinas Sports Complex, Castro made sure she and her team will be playing at least one more game.

Following two walks and an error, Castro stepped up to the plate and crushed a ball high and deep to left field in the second frame for a grand slam, giving Gilroy a lead it would never relinquish as the Mustangs went on to win 7-0. It is the second straight game in CCS that the Mustangs have not allowed a run after beating No. 11 Leland in the first round 6-0.

Gilroy, seeded sixth in the tournament, will now play No. 3 Monta Vista (27-3) – which defeated Fremont 4-0 – in the Division I semifinals Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at PAL Stadium in San Jose.

“I didn’t think I hit it (out of the park),” Castro said of her four-run shot.

Luckily for Castro, the first trot around the bases didn’t expend much energy as she wasn’t close to being done.

Two innings later, after Gilroy tacked on another run in the third, Castro hit a blistering shot into the gap to pull off possibly an even more impressive feat than her first at-bat – an inside-the-park home run.

“She needed that,” Gilroy Catherine Hallada said of the overall performance, adding that she expects Castro to remain in the lineup after such an impressive game.

Gilroy added another run in the fifth when Caitlyn Pierotti recorded a hit to plate Jasmine Perez.

With all the run support a pitcher could ask for, Melinda Ortiz continued her masterful work on the mound by limiting Homestead (22-6), also known as the Mustangs, to three hits while striking out four in a complete-game shutout.

“She’s been doing a great job,” Hallada said of Ortiz’ play of late.

Ortiz hasn’t allowed an earned run in her last four starts.

With one more win standing between the Mustangs and a spot in the CCS championship game, possibly against rival San Benito, which has the No. 1 seed, Hallada thinks her club is starting to hit on all cylinders.

“They’re playing really good right now, but they can definitely play better,” she said.

With a victory Thursday, Gilroy (21-8) would face the winner of Carlmont and San Benito.

Leave your comments