JetHawks hitting coach Tom Sutaris arrived at The Hangar around mid-morning Sunday. He was early. Class A Advanced Lancaster wasn't scheduled to hit the batting cage until 11 a.m. Sutaris poked his head into the clubhouse to see who else was among the early risers. Luis Castro sat at his
JetHawks hitting coach Tom Sutaris arrived at The Hangar around mid-morning Sunday. He was early. Class A Advanced Lancaster wasn't scheduled to hit the batting cage until 11 a.m. Sutaris poked his head into the clubhouse to see who else was among the early risers. Luis Castro sat at his locker. But the first baseman wanted to be on his feet, taking hacks to prepare for the rubber match with Rancho Cucamonga.
"Man, we need to go hit," an antsy Castro told Sutaris. "We need to get these guys today."
The Rockies first-base prospect backed up his words with a three-homer day capped by a game-tying three-run shot in the 11th inning as the JetHawks outlasted the Quakes, 13-12. He reached base seven times, going 4-for-4 with three walks.
"Every swing has a purpose and a plan and he understands what he's trying to do in there," Sutaris said. "Today he was just very determined that we need to get this series, and he came in with as much intent as I've ever seen him -- and he always has intent."
Castro got Lancaster on the board in the fourth inning, blasting a big fly to right field off Dodgers No. 18 prospect Gerardo Carrillo that plated Ryan Vilade. The 23-year-old teed off again the following inning, this time depositing a 1-0 pitch from left-hander Leo Crawford beyond the center-field wall.
Gameday box score
The Quakes scored three times in the top of the 11th to take a 12-9 lead, but Castro came to the plate with runners at first and second in the bottom half. He took southpaw Connor Mitchell deep to center to reach the three-homer milestone for the first time in his career. He had a pair of two-homer games for Class A Short Season Boise -- on June 25, 2016 and June 20, 2018.
Prior to Sunday, Castro had never driven in more than four runs in any game during his seven years as a pro. Then he sent home six. He has nine home runs on the season, a career high.
"He's done a lot of work with me and he's done a lot of work with our hitting coordinator, Darin Everson, to get where he is," Sutaris said. "But he's really just made it a point to get his lower half on time and let his natural abilities take over."
It marked the first hat trick by a JetHawks player since 26th-ranked Rockies prospectRoberto Ramos pulled off the feat on April 8, 2018.
Castro also singled in the first and walked in the third, seventh and ninth. In one game, he boosted his OPS nearly 100 points to .956.
Two batters after the Venezuela native tied the game, Todd Czinege joined the slugfest by launching a walk-off blast to center. It was Lancaster's sixth homer of the game and the outfielder's sixth of the season.
Colorado's No. 30 prospect Casey Golden also went yard on a three-hit night and scored three times.
Seventh-ranked Dodgers prospect Jeter Downs led the Quakes' offense with four hits, three runs and two RBIs. Devin Mann added three hits, two RBIs and two runs.
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.