After three innings, it appeared the Shoemaker Grey Wolves and Killeen Kangaroos would be locked in a high-scoring battle for the rest of the night at Charger Six Field as both teams looked for their first District 8-5A win.
Killeen put up a five-spot in the top of the third, but Shoemaker countered with nine runs in the home half of the inning.
That’s when Shoemaker sophomore Jose Casillas came in and closed the door on Killeen by striking out five and allowing just one earned run in four innings to help Shoemaker beat Killeen 11-7 on Tuesday.
“Jose’s a bulldog,” Shoemaker head coach Harry Zambrana said after the game. “Jose’s our go-to guy. He’s only a sophomore, but he loves to compete. He’s a great kid; he deserves the opportunity he’s getting and he’s running with it.”
Casillas allowed two hits and helped the Grey Wolves (7-10, 1-3) get out of some key jams.
After Killeen shortstop Rene Ramirez reached to put runners on the corners, Casillas got out of the inning with a pop fly to third.
The Roos (3-11-2, 0-4) had another charge in the fifth when an infield error, a single and a walk loaded the bases with two outs, but Casillas forced the next batter to ground out to third.
The Roos got to Casillas late as Chris Barber managed to cap the scoring with an RBI fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh, but Casillas and the Shoemaker defense managed to get another fielder’s choice and a strikeout to preserve the win.
“It’s one of those things, different pitchers with different arm slots,” Killeen head coach Donald Trcka said. “They’ve got to see it a few times. But I take my hat off to Shoemaker, they played hard and they won. That’s all I can tell you.”
Casillas also had an RBI against Killeen and went 2 for 3 with a triple on Friday against Harker Heights.