Wildcats scrape up Spartans 7-3 in rivalry baseball showdown

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Brawley pitcher Blake Zeleny strikes out the side in El Centro on Friday. Photo by Javier Guerrero.

EL CENTRO — The Wildcats brought their ace to El Centro on Thursday night taking the Spartans in a 7-2 victory in Imperial Valley League Varsity baseball high school action.

Early on, it appeared to be a pitcher’s duel as no hits were recorded by either unit until the top of the third inning. 

Wildcat pitcher Blake Zeleny’s perfect game was spoiled in the second inning when a Central batsmen reached base on a bobbled bouncing strike out. In two innings, Zeleny dealt four strike outs, three of which were at the top of the second when he single-handedly retired the side.

In the top of the third, Casey Kline lead off the inning for Brawley with a drawn walk. George Mickle followed up his teammate and connected on a line drive single to center field. Jonathan Gonzalez blazed a bouncer down the first base line that continued the rally and loaded up the bases. The Wildcats put the first point on the board when Kenet Delgado drove in an RBI single that just beat the throw at the plate to make it 1-0 Brawley. Another big hit, this time by Dylan Reina, brought in two more runs for Brawley making it a 3-0 game midway through the third.

The next at bat when three-up, three-down for Central as Brawley’s Zeleny began to settle in striking out two more Spartans.

With a man in scoring position, Kline stepped up to the plate and rang in a run on a stand-up double past the third basemen to increase the score to 4-0, Wildcats.

Zeleny and his supporting cast continued the shut out with another “1, 2, 3” inning in the bottom of the fourth.

After a base on balls, Central’s Austin Perea singled into the shift between third and second base that advanced the runner on first to third.  During a pick-off attempt by Zeleny, a pickle ensued and the Spartans capitalized on the distracted infielders when TJ Cordero astutely stole home to break the goose egg at 4-1.  

Atop the sixth inning consecutive singles placed Brawley in scoring position.  After Kline bunted in another RBI a passed ball allowed the Wildcats sixth run of the evening to slide in making it 6-1 Brawley.

With two on and one away, Preston Soto batted in a run when he hit a well-placed ball into right field; the throw to home missed its’ mark and another run leaked in to bring it back manageable 6-3 Brawley lead.

Zeleny helped his own cause by driving in a run on a single to center in the top of the final inning.

Central’s last three batters were retired on strike outs and the Brawley Wildcats skipped out of town with the 7-3 win over the rival Spartans. Brawley remains in first place in IVL advancing to 5-0 in conference and Central falls to sixth place with a league record of 1-5.