Lafayette Little League: PARK NEWS: BACK TO WILLIAMSPORT!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 13

By Kevin Foote - Advertiser

Lafayette All-Star Cain Castille ended what he started.

The Lafayette All-Stars began their participation in the Little League Southwest Regional with a bang Thursday when Castille's two-run double capped a dramatic four-run eighth inning for a 12-11 victory over Midland, Texas in the first pool play game.

That victory put Lafayette on the right path.

On Thursday, Castille sewed up Lafayette's second-ever trip to the Little League World Series by scoring the game-winning run in a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Pearland, Texas, in seven innings at Marvin Norcross Field in Waco, Texas.

The victory made it a clean sweep in five games for Lafayette at the Southwest Regional. It will be the program's first trip to Williamsport, Pa., since finishing third there in 2005.

The first game would be against the Southeast Regional champion at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 on ESPN.

"That was living a dream (scoring winning run)," Castille said. "Ever since I was 4 or 5 years old, I always wanted to go to Williamsport."

With one out and the bases empty, Castille began Lafayette's triumphant inning by blooping a triple down the rightfield line. The throw to third was wild, and Castille cruised home with the winning run.

"I actually thought it (pop fly) was going to be caught," he said. "But I saw my coach rounding him to second. Then I saw my (third-base) coach rounding me to third. I saw the ball in my peripheral and heard it hit the fence. Then I just ran home."

While Castille finished off the win, the catcher wouldn't have even had that opportunity without the two-out heroics of Nick Fruge, who smashed a three-run home run to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning to force extra innings at 7-7.

"I just wanted to get one," Fruge said. "It was two outs, so I didn't want to make the last out. It was a good pitch. It was up and away. That's the kind of pitch I like."

Pearland had ridden the big bat of catcher Austin Hurst, who was 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and six RBIs to vault the Texas East champions to a 7-2 lead going into the fifth inning.


Austin Primeaux's RBI fielder's choice cut the lead to 7-3, before the game-saving, four-run sixth.

Pearland ace right-hander Nicholas Landrum had limited Lafayette's powerful lineup to one earned run over five innings, but only had three pitches left in his 85-pitch limit for the game.

"He (Landrum) was crafty," Castille said. "He was hitting his spots and had a pretty decent curve ball tonight."

So after giving up a leadoff single to eventual winning pitcher Ethan Hines, Landrum was replaced by Jacob Whitehead.

"He was a good pitcher," Fruge said. "It was a huge weight off our shoulders when they took him out."

Whitehead recorded two outs, but Zack Stritzinger's RBI double followed Michael Guidry's walk to keep Lafayette's hopes alive.

Fruge then burned Whitehead with his three-run homer to right.

Hines ended up giving up just one run on two hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4.1 innings for the win.

"It's getting kind of crazy," Lafayette coach Leland Padgett said. "We just don't give up. We just tried to fire the kids up and they responded."

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