Sometimes in baseball, particularly in pivotal games, an unlikely, unheralded player steps into the proverbial phone booth and transforms into a baseball Superman by coming through with a clutch hit.
That heroic scenario played out Thursday, May 18, as the Broncos hosted the Trinity Classical Academy Knights in the first round of the CIF Division 5A playoffs.
Coast Union fell behind 3-0 in the first inning, but the Broncos picked up two runs in the third. With two out, junior Riley Kennedy singled sharply to left field and stole second base. Senior Thor Ronemus belted a double, driving in Kennedy, and senior Jack MacKinnon singled, scoring Ronemus for the second run.
Meanwhile, after that shaky first inning, junior pitcher Chase Volz settled down and held the Knights scoreless for the rest of the game, giving up just three hits and striking out seven batters. His pitch total was 87, and he walked just one hitter.
With Coast trailing 3-2, Volz singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman Emany Plasencia was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with no one out. Freshman David Amodei then singled, loading the bases.
And then the unlikely hero, sophomore Cameron Castle, who had played in only nine of the 15 games to date and had just three hits in those games, stepped to the plate and calmly hit a ground single to right field, scoring the tying and what turned out to be the winning runs for the Broncos.
With two out in the top of the seventh – the visiting Knights’ last chance – right fielder Amodei caught up with a long foul ball and made a terrific catch to end the game.
Volz leads the team with a .452 batting average. Kennedy is hitting at a .419 clip, and senior Auggie Johnson has a .392 average. Ronemus, hitting .385, is swinging the hottest bat on the team and leads Coast with 17 RBI.
The Broncos had an easier time in the second round against Albert Einstein Academy, winning 8-1 at home. Chase Volz gave up one earned run and struck out four in six innings; Riley Kennedy pitched a shutout inning in the seventh.
The Broncos broke the game open in the third inning. Eleven batters came to the plate, and seven runs scored on walks, errors, errant throws, a balk, and two base hits for Coast.
A large contingent of fans from Santa Clarita — along with local fans — filled the bleachers for this game, which was played on a sun-splashed field. The Broncos played near-flawlessly on defense, and had the key hits and stolen bases when they needed the runs.