Written by Bill LeConey
Wednesday, April 02, 2014 10:23 pm
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - To say that Misael Castillo made an impressive debut as a starting pitcher for Egg Harbor Township High School on Wednesday would be the understatement of this or just about any high school baseball season.
Can you say: "No-no debut?" Yes, you can.
Castillo, a junior left-hander, pitched a no-hitter vs. Holy Spirit in his first-ever high school start Wednesday. He struck out 14, walked one and hit a batter in the 2-0 victory.
Sophomore Andrew Holmes had a two-run double in the first inning for the only scoring in the season opener for both teams.
"This is amazing, honestly. I was not expecting to throw like that," said Castillo, who played center field and made a few relief appearances in his only varsity experience last season. "But I did it for the team - everything I do is for the team. All the momentum my team was giving me, and the fielding plays
they made behind me, it was hyping me up and giving me that confidence to throw strikes. I just stayed in there and stayed confident."
“I didn’t know what to expect from him,” said EHT coach Bryan Carmichael. “I know he has potential, and I think he proved that potential today.
“I think the best thing that has happened to Misael is that he’s matured. He showed his maturity on the mound today, even though it was his first start. He’s matured as a human being. That’s part of the reason he didn’t pitch for us last year, because he couldn’t control his emotions, and that resulted in (wildness).
He did a great job of getting ahead of hitters today.”
Castillo is not physically intimidating. In fact, you could say he is slightly built. But he throws surprisingly hard, and his location was outstanding on Wednesday.
"I've been clocked at 89 (mph), hit 90 a couple times. I'm small, but I just use all my momentum going to the plate," Castillo said.
“He threw hard. He was throwing strikes, and especially first-pitch strikes,” said first-year Holy Spirit coach Steve Normane. “I don't know what his splits were, but he had to have thrown somewhere near 80 percent strikes. It was one of the best high school pitching performances I've seen in a long time.”
Castillo’s performance not only ruined Normane’s debut as Holy Spirit’s head coach, but also ruined a solid outing by Holy Spirit senior ace Mike Di Ianni, who allowed only four hits and struck out five.
“It'll probably be one of the best performances we'll see all year,” Normane said of Castillo’s seven-inning gem. “We just happened to see it in the first game. Hopefully we got it out of our system. We’ve got three more games in three days, so we get a chance to get back out there and swing the bats again, and
hopefully start hitting the ball.”
Egg Harbor Township went 11-11 last year and returns only one senior position player, infielder Manny Strickland, along with outstanding junior catcher Mike Lahoud, who has verbally committed to Monmouth University.
Carmichael said the team has a bit of a chip on its shoulder as it fights to prove it can contend in a tough Cape-Atlantic League American Conference.
“Everybody says we’re rebuilding. There might be some new names here, but we’re not rebuilding. We have some pretty talented kids here, as you saw today. Our kids were ready to play, and it’s great to get that first win.”