Fairview head baseball coach David Castillo and his counterpart at Monarch, Scott Weiss, have put forward a big challenge to a core group of young players this summer. With two American Legion teams apiece playing at the elite 'A' level in 2016, those younger players on the A2 teams are getting to face varsity pitching several times a week.
Facing off against each other on Wednesday at FHS, however, gave each team a little break from that, although Fairview's Ryan Caraballo looked every bit the part of a future ace in the second game of a doubleheader. Thanks in part to his four-hitter in five innings of work, the Knights took an 11-1 mercy rule-shortened victory to salvage a split of the day. Monarch won the first game, 13-6.
With the possibility of having a deep bullpen next spring, Caraballo may still need to impress a little bit more in order to break into the varsity rotation in his junior year. He was certainly in complete control against the Coyotes — especially after a first-inning double play loosened him up a bit.
He ended up allowing just an earned run, walked one batter and struck out four.
"It's always fun to play Monarch and kind of have that rivalry feel, and I really just felt comfortable going out there," said Caraballo, a right-handed hurler. "I really just love pitching. I'm hoping to just keep playing with these guys and keep playing good baseball."
"Ryan's been solid all summer for us, and he just kind of commanded everything today," said A2 co-coach Mike Vlasity, an FHS grad who has been working with a lot of the same group through the ranks alongside former classmate Cannon Casey. "He was working ahead in counts, pitching to contact and getting groundballs. He's been working hard to make progress, and I think if he continues to pitch the way he did today he'll have great couple years coming up in the program.
"It's good to see all these guys grow. It seems like two years makes all the difference at this age, and I like what I'm seeing this summer."
The Knights were glad to rebound from Game 1, just as Coyotes coach James Thompson was irked his team didn't fare well after getting a nice win. Fairview jumped to a 5-0 lead with a first inning filled with free bases (two walks and five hit batters), and the Knights batted around again in the third frame thanks to six solid singles.
Fairview had 11 base hits — all singles — for the game. Nick McCarthy went 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBI, Jack Okada had three hits and Cole Futter also drove in a pair.
Trevor Flynn had two of Monarch's hits in Game 2, while Dave Fish scored the lone run and also pitched a clean fourth inning to give his team a chance to extend the game.
"This roster is primarily our freshmen team from the spring, so they have been pushed up pretty high as far as competition," said Johnson, MoHi's spring junior varsity coach. "It's a young group, and I think as a whole they are just learning to play consistently. I'd like to see them playing the same game four, five, six games in a row versus looking good for two games and then bad for the next two.
"It's a good challenge."
Fairview Legion A2 11, Monarch Legion A2 1
At Fairview HS
Monarch 001 00 — 1 4 2
Fairview 524 0x — 11 11 1
W — Caraballo. L — Langer.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Flynn 3-0-2-0, Koepping 2-0-1-1, Trofino 2-0-0-0, Dekker 2-0-0-0, Elliott 2-0-0-0, Coatney 2-0-1-0, Zeile 2-0-0-0, Fish 2-1-0-0, MacDonald 1-0-0-0. Totals 18-1-4-1.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Garcia 3-1-0-0, Okada 4-2-3-0, Franko 2-2-0-0, McCarthy 3-3-2-3, Carrigan 1-1-1-0, Futter 2-1-2-3, Blom-Walker 1-0-1-2, McMinn 2-0-1-0, Harstead 2-1-1-0. Totals 20-11-11-8. SB —Okada.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Langer 0.1-2-5-5-2-0, Myers 2.2-9-6-5-1-0, Fish 1-0-0-0-0-1.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caraballo 5-4-1-0-1-4.