Los Lunas High School’s dynamic duo of Carlos Castillo and Josh Hernandez played their final baseball game together on Saturday as part of the North-South All-Star Series at Apodaca Park in Las Cruces.
The two Tigers, who recently graduated after leading LLHS to a second-place finish at this year’s state high school baseball tournament, played for the series-winning South, which beat the North two games to one.
Hernandez and Castillo were both selected to the All-State team by the New Mexico High School coaches Association, Hernandez as a pitcher and shortstop and Castillo as a catcher. Naturally, they were often paired as battery mates while playing for the Tigers. And they teamed up one last time in the series opener on Friday night.
Hernandez, who was also selected as Player of the Year this season by the coaches association, earned the win in the South’s 5-2 win.
“He was just being the same old Josh — throwing his game and striking everybody out,” Castillo said.
Hernandez scattered seven hits over six innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out 13 North batters.
Castillo helped out his friend by gunning down two would-be base stealers.
Castillo also got the start behind the plate in the first game, a doubleheader on Saturday — a game won by the North, 5-1, to even the series.
Castillo, who went 1 for 5 at the plate in the first two games of the series, sat out the nightcap. He watched from the dugout as Hernandez was the hitting star in the rubber game of the series.
Hernandez led the South back from a four-run deficit by drilling a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. After the North broke the tie with a run in the third, Hernandez tied the game with a solo shot.
The North added two more runs in the next inning to take a 7-5 lead. Hernandez again contributed to the comeback with an RBI single as the South scored five runs to take the lead for good.
Hernandez finished 3 for 3 in the game, scoring three runs and knocking in five as the South went on to win 14-8.
“It was fun,” Castillo said of the experience. “There was a lot of good competition there.”