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Central's secret weapon

Duluth Central coach Dennis Walkowiak had a somewhat worried look on his face earlier this week when a reporter showed up unexpectedly to interview star catcher Ian McRae.

Duluth Central coach Dennis Walkowiak had a somewhat worried look on his face earlier this week when a reporter showed up unexpectedly to interview star catcher Ian McRae.
"I thought I could hide Ian, but I guess when a guy is 11-for-15 with three homers in his last five games the word gets around," Walkowiak said.
But don't blame the six-year Trojans coach for want-ing to keep McRae a secret. After all, once coaches and players in the Lake Superior Conference learn of McRae's hitting streak, it's likely that opposing teams will begin to pitch around him.
The young Trojans (3-9), who clubbed Two Harbors 11-1 last Tuesday at Ray Adameak Field, need McRae's bat in the lineup. He had two hits against the Agates.
"Ian is the top player in the area," Walkowiak said, without reservation. "He leads the team in batting (.547) and is solid behind the plate, having thrown out about 85 percent of the base runners who have tried to steal on him."
The Trojans also lean on McRae for spot pitching duty.
"Ian is 1-3 on the hill, with a 1.72 ERA," Walkowiak said of the stocky right-hander. "He mixes a little curve with a slider, has a decent curve, and has a decent fastball. He keeps hitters off balance."
Meanwhile, soft-spoken McRae is humbly unimpressed with his hitting streak. He's only concerned with putting the ball in play and helping the team to win.
"I started the spring slowly hitting only about .300, then it was like the light switch went on, and I started to knock the ball all over the place," he said.
McRae is also setting a masterful example for the young Trojans to emulate, Walkowiak said. Central has only five seniors on the roster, including two starters in the outfield and McRae.
"We're a little young and inconsistent, and Ian has taken it upon himself to be a strong leader this spring," Walkowiak said.
McRae said: "We're a little young in the infield, but we're tightening up defensively. I can see this program over-powering some teams in the next few years."
McRae is being recruited by several local colleges and at least one out-of-state university. "There's no question in my mind that Ian can play and do very well at the next level," Walkowiak said.

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