All his life, Osmar Castillo has been adjusting to new surroundings, new experiences. He grew up in Venezuela, spent two years of high school in Miami, played junior college baseball in Dodge City, Kan., then became a star shortstop at Kansas State University.
The past three weeks with the Augusta GreenJackets has been the latest test of the 22-year-old's adaptability. He was an everyday shortstop his entire career. Now he is a role player, finding his way into the lineup card three or four times a week.
But Castillo filled an important role Monday night in an 8-4 victory over the Columbus RedStixx, going 2-for-3 with two RBI to help the Jackets win their second straight and split the four-game series.
"It's kind of hard because in college I played every game, but I come here and I have to wait for my opportunity," said Castillo, who was not taken in the draft in June but signed as a free agent with the Red Sox. "When I get a chance to play, I have to show the coaches and the organization that I can play this game and move up."
Batting in the No. 9 spot, Castillo doubled in the second inning and scored the Jackets' second run. He added a two-run single in the fifth inning that extended the lead to 7-1.
"He swings the bat and puts the bat on the ball usually, and he got the job done for us tonight," Jackets manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He works hard and is a good guy to have because he can play second and third and a little short if we need him to."
Matt Cooper also had a big night for the Jackets, going 2-for-3 with his eighth home run of the season - a two-run blast to left field in the third inning off RedStixx starter Travis Foley (9-4). It was Cooper's first home run in 86 at-bats this season at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Leadoff man Kris Coffey also had two hits but did even more damage with his glove, making a diving catch in center field on a sinking liner in the fourth inning to rob Mark Folsom of extra bases. The RedStixx had two runners on base and trailed just 4-0 at the time, so Coffey's catch was as timely as it was acrobatic.
The hitting and defensive support helped starter Shane Rhodes (6-3) pick up the victory after the 22-year-old left-hander held the RedStixx to one run on five hits in six innings.
In three previous starts against the Jackets this season, Foley did not allow an earned run and surrendered just seven hits in 17 innings and won all three outings.
Jackets 8, RedStixx 3 TURNING POINT: The Jackets scored four runs in the fifth inning off Columbus starter Travis Foley, who had not allowed an earned run in three previous starts vs. Augusta.
BIG BATS: Matt Cooper went 2-for-4 with his eighth home run and No. 9 hitter Osmar Castillo went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a walk.
TOP GUN: Augusta starter Shane Rhodes held the RedStixx to one run on five hits in six innings.
FOR THE RECORD: WP - Rhodes (6-3). LP - Foley (9-4). SAVE - None.
AT THE LAKE: A crowd of 1,173 fans gives the Jackets 87,814 for 44 dates (1,996 average, eighth in the SAL).
TONIGHT: Macon Braves (RHP Macay McBRide 6-7, 2.45) vs. Jackets (LHP Rafael Sanchez 5-10, 5.45), 7:15 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium.
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