The passing of a legendary California baseball coach has had an impact which has trickled all the way up to the big leagues.
Longtime Woodland High baseball coach Felix Castillo died of a suspected heart attack on Monday while playing in a softball game. A former Woodland player turned coach, Castillo was instrumental in the development of a number of star players from the Sacramento area. The most notable among them is Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox second baseman, former All-Star and MVP, who had just seen Castillo on Friday after the Red Sox had played a game against the A’s.
“We are all in shock,” Pedroia told the Sacramento Bee. “I just saw him and talked to him after Friday’s game. You won’t find a more genuine person than Felix. He has helped so many people in a ton of ways. We are going to miss him so much.”
According to the Bee, Woodland High School Principal Karrie Sequeira said Castillo was so well respected among the Woodland High faculty and coaches that he served as an active mentor for many.
Castillo was just 48 when he passed away, and was focused on his passion to the very end, as noted by one of his closest friends and coaching rivals.
“I talked to him on Friday,” Franklin High baseball coach Brian Kilby told the Bee. “He was excited to see Dustin Pedroia play the A’s. Felix went to the game, sat in the front row behind home plate. We exchanged text messages, he was so excited. It’s a big loss.”