LAND O’LAKES — In a battle of district runners-up, Sunlake’s historic run continued Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over Pasco in a Class 5A region semifinal.
Sunlake’s David Castillo and Pasco’s Malik Johns were locked in a pitchers’ duel most of the game. Castillo, a left-hander, scattered three hits, struck out six, walked two and hit four batters. The right-handed Johns allowed five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
“Malik did a great job and David did as well,” Sunlake coach Dick Rohrberg said. “They just kept throwing strikes.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Seahawks (19-9) mounted the only rally. Colton King and Castillo singled for the game’s first back-to-back base hits. Johns walked Zac Howard to load the bases before an uncharacteristic error from Pasco second baseman Phillip Wilson led to two runs. Howard scored the final run on Zac Scranton’s suicide squeeze.
“He got a tough hop. It was a tough play,” Rohrberg said of Wilson’s error on a ground ball.
Before that play, Wilson made a diving catch on a line drive to his right and ranged to his left to snare a ground ball that prevented a Sunlake base runner from scoring.
“He’s a great second baseman,” Pasco coach Pat Fortunato said. “He’s been great for me all year.”
The Pirates (17-11) had one last chance to score when Castillo hit Corey Mills and Johns in the top of the seventh. The game ended when Robbie Hanlon grounded out to second baseman Omar Cala, who was cheating toward the middle and stepped on the bag for a force out.