Casa Dominates Live Oak in First Round of the Playoffs

Although the skies were not blue and the sun was nowhere to be found, it was still a glorious afternoon for Casa baseball. Casa, facing Live Oak from Morgan Hill, looked to continue their postseason journey in glorious victory.

Playing in front of an enthusiastic Casa crowd, junior Austin Steeves looked to set the tone on the mound. Steeves, having the second most strikeouts in the country this season and first among all juniors in the nation, gave Live Oak batters all they could handle. After Steeves made quick work of the first three batters of the game, Casa locked in at the plate. Kalen Clemmens, a junior, opened the home-half of the inning with a single to left field, which was followed by another single from junior JT Summers. An out had yet to be recorded when junior Alex Cruz blasted a ball over the right fielder’s head, allowing Clemmens to score. Summers then stole home after Live Oak’s catcher mishandled a pitch. The lead was pushed to 3-0 after a hard fought at-bat from junior Jeffrey Rice resulted in a sacrifice fly. Casa had established an early lead after one inning.  

Other than Steeves continuing his dominance on the mound, the second inning brought little action. It was the third inning, however, when Casa added to its lead. After a pair of walks, Casa was able to take advantage of Live Oak’s mistakes. A wild pitch brought a run across the plate, and what should have been an inning-ending groundout led to another run scoring as Live Oak’s first baseman took his foot off the base. The sloppy inning from Live Oak rewarded Casa with a 5-0 lead after three innings.

The fourth inning was another quiet inning. Steeves continued to frustrate Live Oak batters as he struck out the side. He was growing stronger as the game went on, and Steeves credited Casa’s offense for his performance.

“I got stronger as the game went on because we gathered a lot of momentum offensively which relieved pressure from me as a pitcher. I didn’t have to worry about the small things as much, and I could be aggressive and go right at the hitters and command the zone,” Steeves said.

Steeves punished Live Oak’s batters until the final pitch as he finished the game with 12 strikeouts. Summers knocked in another run with his single in the fifth inning extending the lead to 6-0. Behind a strong pitching and defense performance, with senior Jordan Giacomini flashing his glove on a few plays, Casa was able to complete the shutout. The Casa crowd was able to head home with the satisfying taste of a 6-0 win.

Steeves was asked to sum up this season’s journey in five words, and he had the perfect response.

“The hard work pays off,” Steeves said. 

Casa will continue its hard work with an away game against Pleasant Valley June 1 at 4 p.m. The winner will head to the regional final championship game. Casa does not want their playoff trip to end anytime soon, and they are hoping the community of Casa will pack the bleachers.