Prep Baseball Report

AIA Playoff Matchup: #3 Casteel Colts vs. #8 Notre Dame Prep

Shea Sbranti
Arizona Scouting Director

Casteel Colts 6 vs. NDP 1

In a highly anticipated AIA playoff matchup between two powerhouse teams, the Casteel Colts clashed with the Notre Dame Prep Saints in a showdown that lived up to its billing. The game, held in last night's Quarterfinals, showcased a pitching duel between two of the top arms in the state of Arizona: Casteel's University of Arizona commit, left-handed pitcher Mason Russell, and Notre Dame Prep's UCLA commit, right-handed pitcher CJ Bott.


As expected, the game kicked off with both pitchers displaying their dominance, hurling low to mid-90s fastballs and keeping opposing hitters at bay. However, in the bottom half of the 4th inning, the Colts seized the opportunity, capitalizing on some free bases and timely hitting to take control of the game. While hits were scarce throughout the night, the defining moment came when Ryan Harwood, the #1 prospect in the 2026 class and currently uncommitted, delivered a clutch bases-loaded shot into the left-center field gap, clearing the bases and propelling Casteel to a 3-1 lead in the inning. Freshman Baylor Denny then added to the Colts' lead with an RBI single, putting them up 4-1.


The Colts maintained their momentum, ultimately securing a 6-1 victory over the Saints and punching their ticket to the Semi-Finals. With their stellar performance, Casteel advances to the next round with confidence and determination.

Mason Russell, who dazzled on the mound throughout the game, finished his outing in the top half of the 7th inning with an impressive line of 6.2 innings pitched, allowing just one earned run while tallying an impressive 10 strikeouts.

With their eyes set on the championship, the Colts will now prepare for their Semi-Finals matchup, scheduled to take place on the 8th at HoHoKam Stadium. As the journey through the playoffs continues, Casteel remains a formidable force to be reckoned with, and are looking to be back to back state title winners.


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