by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Central baseball earned a split with Jordan on Monday night, taking the first contest in seven innings, 4-3, and falling in the second, 2-1.
A late start to the season meant that both contests were to be six-inning affairs and Central served as the home team in the second game.
The Raiders improved to 2-3 on the season while Jordan is now 3-1.
Central got things going early in the first game, as Casey Clemensen started things off with a single. He advanced to second on a pick-off throw and then took third on a single by Isaac Hormann. A two-out sacrifice fly by Andrew Cardinal then scored Clemensen before a ground out ended the threat.
Jordan would answer though with two runs in the second inning to make it 2-1.
Central tied the score though in the fourth inning on a deep double to left field by Alex Eichner, which scored Jordan Kohls, who had reached on a one-out single.
Jordan would regain the lead with a run in their half of the fourth inning, but the Raiders tied up on a run-scoring double by Taylor Trick.
In the seventh, Clemensen started the frame with a walk and advanced to third on a single by Hormann. A missed suicide squeeze with Trick at bat resulted in Clemensen easily being tagged out at home, but Trick redeemed himself with a run-scoring single to plate Hormann.
Kohls earned the win for the Raiders, pitching a complete game. He gave up five hits, two walks and one batter while striking out three.
“Basically I just threw the ball in the strike zone and my defense backed me up pretty well,” said Kohls, who hopped off the mound for a few plays as well. “They did a huge job today.”
Kohls said getting the win against Jordan pitcher, Nate Boeckman, would only help his team.
“I think it will give us some momentum to win the next one,” said Kohls. “The pitcher from Jordan, he’s tough. Knowing we can win when he’s pitching will give us the go-ahead to win off anyone.”
Central head coach Jon Wroge agreed.
“I was really pleased with how he (Kohls) attacked the zone,” said Wroge. “He kept battling… The Boeckman kid for Jordan, he’s one of the top pitchers in the conference. If you beat him, you’re beating a good pitcher. I thought Jordan was pitch-for-pitch with him and we got some key hits.”
The Raiders faced another tough Jordan pitcher in Jacob Allen, who limited CHS to just four hits over six innings in game two.
Clemensen, Central’s hurler, was up to the task though, as he was locked into the duel.
Clemensen appeared to have some jitters early on, starting the game by loading the bases on a walk and hitting two batters.
The Raiders got out of the jam with a sparkling defensively play as third basemen Andrew Cardinal got a ground ball, flipping it to catcher Hunter Rickaby, who threw it to first baseman Matt Tibbs for the second out.
Jordan put one on the board in the third inning though with a two out rally featuring another hit batter and two singles.
Central tied it up in their half, as Rickaby led off with a two-out single. Courtesy runner Alex Eichner advanced to second on a sacrifice by Tibbs and then took second on a wild pitch. Clemensen, helping his own cause, then blasted a deep double to left, scoring Eichner to even the game at 1-1.
Jordan got the decisive run in the sixth inning though as Jon Krueser struck a home run to left center.
Wroge was pleased with the way his team played, especially as he works to find a consistent lineup for his young team.
“I think our guys know they have to earn positions,” said Wroge. “I’ve got a lot of guys who can play which is nice to have, but it keeps guys who are in the lineup fighting for every at bat.”
Among the changes from game one to game two was Zach Stockman, who went 2-for-3 with a double in the seventh spot in the first contest. Stockman, an eighth-grader, was moved up to the clean-up position in game two.
“I just like his approach,” said Wroge. “He just goes up there and he hacks. He sees the ball and goes… He’s been doing a really good job.”
Wroge also credited both Clemensen and Kohls for their efforts to go the full six or seven innings, especially given the shortened schedule.
“I’ve never had double-header, double-header,” said Wroge. “You got to have pitching. When you get complete games, that’s huge for Thursday because you never know what Thursday is going to bring.”
Earlier in the week, Central had split with Tri-City United, 3-5 and 6-5, and lost to Glencoe on Saturday, 11-1.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]