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Castro Pitches Shutout During Championships
Spring Tournament
Backyard Baseball
The Backyard Baseball 13U AAA travel team won the Spring Championship Super NIT USSSA last week. Photo Contributed
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Parents Frank and Elizabeth Castro support their son Isaac and his love for baseball, spending many days playing catch and traveling with the Backyard Baseball 13u team. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

There is a travel baseball team called Backyard Baseball 13u comprised of youth from communities all over the Central Valley including Riverbank that brought home the USSSA Super NIT Spring Championship from a three-day tournament held last week in Glendale, Arizona. Riverbank resident and an eighth grader at Cardozo Middle School, Isaac Castro, pitched a shutout game against the Salt Lake Gulls with an 8-0 win during the championship run. This qualifies the team for the World Series scheduled in Florida in July.

“They were one of the best teams out there and we beat them,” said Isaac. “We mercy ruled them. My adrenaline started kicking in. The fact that we are going to Florida; that made me happy. Baseball is my favorite sport.”

Castro has been playing baseball for eight years and has big dreams to play in the Major Leagues someday. His parents Frank and Elizabeth Castro are very proud of their son and all his accomplishments.

“As a parent, it is very exciting,” remarked mom Elizabeth. “We are very proud of him to see him pitch in the championship. No runs were scored. Of course, it took a lot of the other players’ efforts, the defense was really good too. It was the whole team that did it.”

Isaac pitched for five innings and allowed four hits, and struck out five while allowing no runs.

His dad Frank explained that during the semifinals they were nervous for the Backyard squad as there was a lot of competition but they had confidence in the team. There were 43 teams from all over the United States, including some from Oregon, Washington, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Montana, and Arizona, in addition to California.

“The way he was pitching as calm as he was, I am very proud,” stated Frank. “The defense played awesome. They made a lot of good defensive plays. They did not score any runs off of him. The coaching staff called a good game. They made the best decisions on the field. Every single kid on that team they played their hearts out and everybody contributed 150 percent. If any one of those kids would have been missing, I don’t think this would have happened.”

Elizabeth shared that when the last strike was called and the umpire called the game, Isaac threw his glove in the air. The catcher and Isaac ran to each other and the catcher picked him up and then all the boys from the dugout ran out and were hugging and yelling.

She said, “It was such a beautiful moment for the entire team. It was a very special moment for me.”

For Frank, the surreal moment was talking to the coaches from the other team and hearing the high praises for his son’s pitching talent.

The players received a Championship belt and huge championship rings. They played a total of seven games with a 6-1 record leading them to the championship game.

Backyard catcher Braiden Fuentes from Turlock was selected as the MVP for the championship game.

Tony Murphy is the Director of Operations for Backyard Baseball. They are based out of Turlock and have been active for two years. Murphy has been participating in travel ball for about 20 years. They travel playing in tournaments throughout the Central Valley and beyond.

“It was nice to see kids from all different areas, all different schools, come together,” said Murphy. “Not only are we trying to make them better baseball players but trying to develop good teammates, respectful young gentleman. Where it’s not necessarily just focused strictly on baseball. We try to teach them how to handle failure. Baseball is definitely a game of failure and what makes you a better baseball player is how you handle your failures. So, you know, we try to teach them life lessons as well, not just strictly the game of baseball.”

They will be conducting tryouts at the end of June and part of July for all age groups. They have two seasons that run from March to July and August to November.

For more information on joining the program or for those interested in private hitting or pitching lessons contact Murphy at or 209-345-7946.

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Backyard Baseball 13u Coach Tyler Murphy and pitcher Isaac Castro, of Riverbank, took a moment for a photo op after Castro pitched a shutout and the team won the spring championship. Photo Contributed