By Paul Downer
By Paul Downer
The Raiders mustered just one run in their subsection opener against Jordan last Friday, May 23, but pitcher Tim Willems made sure that run held up.
Central and Jordan played to a 0-0 stalemate through 8.5 innings before Willems came to bat for Central in the bottom of the ninth inning and led off with a double. An attempt to bunt Willems to third was unsuccessful when the ball was popped up, and Tim Swanson came to the plate with one out.
Swanson quickly fell into an 0-2 hole, but managed to foul off a number of close pitches and work the count full at 3-2. With Willems leading off second, Swanson then cracked a line drive up the middle that was too hot for the pitcher to glove cleanly. The shortstop fielded the deflection but had to hurry his throw, which was low and bounced past the first baseman, allowing Willems to score the game’s only run.
That pair of clutch performances by Central seniors helped the third-seeded Raiders dispatch No. 6 Jordan and move on to the subsection semifinals on Tuesday, May 29 at No. 2 Belle Plaine.
"Great game on Friday night," said Central head coach Jon Wroge. "Tim Willems threw a complete game four-hitter. He walked two and struck out four. He really stepped up when a senior has too."
Wroge also noted that the Raiders played a great defensive game, performing flawlessly in the field.
The winner of Tuesday’s game between Central and Belle Plaine will play Thursday, May 29 at Arlington in the subsection championship.
Other subsection teams still in contention are No. 1 Holy Family (bye in the first round) and No. 5 Sibley East (defeated No. 4 GSL by a 4-2 score in the first round).