by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Central High School baseball squad managed through a series of close games in the past week, going 3-1.
The Raiders (5-4) swept a home double-header against Belle Plaine on Thursday, 4-3 and 3-2, and split a pair at Sibley East. 3-2 and 1-2.
Against the Tigers, Central found themselves trailing 3-2 going into the bottom half of the seventh inning in the first game.
Casey Clemensen led off with a walk and moved to second on a bunt by Andrew Cardinal. Isaac Hormann, who went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, then walked, setting the stage for Taylor Trick who walked it off with a double.
“He battled back in the count and put a good swing on the ball,” said head coach Jon Wroge said of Trick.
After the walk-off, Trick said he was excited for the chance to win the game.
“I was just thinking hit the ball someplace, get the ball going and just trying to get the guys in,” said Trick. “It felt good. I could get my pitcher back into the game. He had a good game going.”
Hormann earned the win on the mound, giving up five hits and striking out four in the complete game.
“He threw very well again for us,” said Wroge. “He is very consistent.”
Wroge also highlighted his team’s defense in the game.
“Defensively, we’ve been playing really good baseball and not kicking it around which helps,” he said.
The Raiders needed another late run in the second game, scoring a run in the top half of the seventh.
Zach Stockman got a one-out hit, advanced to second on a bunt by Hunter Rickaby, and then scored on a base hit to right field by Clemensen, who went 3-for-4.
Alex Meeker earned the win on the mound, going the distance, and striking out eight and giving up only three hits. The bottom of the seventh proved eventful though.
“Meeker is getting tired, I can tell,” said Wroge, explaining Meeker fell behind 2-0 and 3-0 before getting two strikeouts. “Their number nine hitter hits a rocket to short, in the hole about 4 feet off the ground and Isaac Hormann lays out backhanded and catches it… I was pretty excited. That was a great win. I was just happy for all the kids.”
Against Sibley East, Jordan Kohls pitched six innings in game one to get the victory. He struck out seven, walked two and gave up three hits. Offensively, Kyle Brazil returned from an injury to go 2-for-2 at the DH spot and Stockman also went 2-for-2.
The Raiders came up short in the second game, although Clemensen had a great pitching performance.
“He threw well enough for us to win, but we’re just not hitting,” said Wroge.
Central had just four hits as Hormann went 2-for-3 and Brazil and Kohls each had hits.
Wroge said has no concerns about his team’s pitching and defense, but he will continue to shift around the lineup until it works. Hormann is hitting 10-for-23 (.434) and Stockman is 10-for-21 (.476).
“There are guys doing the little things right, moving up guys and getting walks,” he said, “but we’re just not really hitting the ball like I thought we would.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.