Bats heat up for Spartans against Southwest San Diego, but not enough for win

The Central Spartans’ Austin Perera (#7) takes a big cut against the Southwest Raiders in a home opener Friday night.

EL CENTRO — The Central Union High School boys’ Varsity baseball season home opener against Southwest San Diego High did not go as planned for the Spartans — despite the Spartans’ early hot bats, the Raiders came back and played spoiler, claiming the 13-4 non-conference road win.

Central threatened early in the bottom of the first as a lead-off walk and a bunt by Edward Vasquez put the Spartans in scoring position. With two aboard and no outs, Luis Flores sent a line drive on its way into center field, but an acrobatic catch and crafty situational awareness by the Southwest SD second baseman resulted in a double play on the throw out at first.  The inning ended on a ground out to the shortstop and the contest remained scoreless.

On their next at-bat once again, the Spartans lead-off batter Austin Parera reached first on a dribbler to third. Preston Soto stepped up to the plate and drilled one up the middle, but the Raiders’ second baseman stabbed another out of the air and fired back to first base to bag his second double play of the game.

The very next batter, TJ Cordero, drew base on balls and Frankie Velasco followed up his teammate with a swat to left field as the two-out rally continued. On the next at-bat, Deniro Osuna crushed a shot to right field that yielded two RBIs, a stand-up triple, and a Spartan 2-0 lead.

A bunt by Raymond Ortiz caught the Raiders’ infield sleeping and brought in one more run to close out the second with the Spartans up 3-0.

The Raiders put a couple hits together to score one run in the top of the third with two outs making it a 3-1 contest midway through the third inning.

In the top of the fourth, things began to fall apart for the Spartans when a passed ball at the plate with runners in scoring position allowed another one to come in making it 3-2.

A line-drive followed by a floater that made its way by the left fielder gave Southwest SD their first lead of the contest at 4-3.

The Raiders scrounged up two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to claim a 7-3 advantage over Central.

The Spartans put up one more run in the fifth inning when Luis Flores reached first base on a liner to center field.  A hit batsman advanced the runners which led Soto to bat in Flores.  But the rally was short-lived as a ground out closed the curtain on the fifth inning.

The Southwest SD Raiders buckled down on defense and held the Spartans scoreless for two straight innings while continuing the heist in the batter’s box as they plundered four more scores in the fifth and then one more in the sixth and seventh innings.

Southwest SD cruised down Interstate 8 and came away with the 13-4 win over Central. Next, the Spartans face Mingus High School March 9 in the Route 66 Classic.