Clovis senior Paige Adare is the Lady Wildcats’ top pitcher. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.
By Rick White
Entering his third season at the helm, Clovis High softball coach Larry Trower admits the Lady Wildcats are still a work in progress.
The Carlsbad native coached his high school alma mater to the Class 5A state finals in three seasons as the Cavegirls’ coach, winning the title in 2001.
He knew the Lady Cats had a long way to go when he took over the program in 2002.
“We’ve got some players who’ve been here three years now, and I can see where they’ve improved greatly,” Trower said. “But until we get a summer program going here, we’re going to be rebuilding every few years.”
The Lady Cats (12-14, 6-6 District 4-5A last season) open this weekend with their second annual invitational tournament, looking to defend the title they won a year ago.
Depth may be a problem after a couple of returning starters did not come out this season, so Trower is busy juggling lineups.
“Some of the ‘variables’ have already taken a toll on us,” he said. “But I think once we put the pieces to the puzzle together, good things are going to happen for us. It may take a few ballgames.”
The team’s top pitcher, senior Paige Adare, is back with junior Annie Tweedy stepping into the No. 2 role. Tweedy will play third base most of the time.
Adare said the Lady Cats have enough talent to do well.
“I think we have a good chance (to do well in the district),” she said. “We lost a couple of people we weren’t expecting to lose, but we’re trying to get it together.”
Senior slugger Alicia Odom will move from the outfield to take over catching duties. Around the infield are freshman Cynthia Lucio at first, senior Sara Salguero at second, junior Laura Wood at shortstop and Tweedy at third.
The outfield lineup is relatively uncertain. Junior Nicole Mares was ticketed for center field, but Trower said she will miss this weekend’s tournament due to a medical problem.
Other leading outfield candidates are sophomore Valerie Morris, freshman Jordan Garrett and senior Christina Chavez.
“It could be will have to move an infielder to the outfield and one of the younger ones to infield,” Trower said. “It depends on what makes us better.”
A lot will depend on Adare, but she said she’s ready for the challenge.
“I’ve been working all year long on my pitches, so I have a lot of confidence in them,” she said.
Carlsbad goes in as the team to beat in district as usual, but Trower said the race could be competitive.
“You always have to put Carlsbad up there, but I think they could be down a little from where they’ve been,” he said. “The whole district could be up for grabs.
“We’re excited about playing, and I know we’re going to get better every game. I know the kids are ready to go.”
At CHS softball complex
Pool A — Clovis, Hereford, Lovington.
Pool B — Hobbs, Perryton, Clovis JV.
3 p.m. — Hobbs vs. Perryton; 4:30 p.m. — Clovis vs. Hereford; 6 p.m. — Hobbs vs. Clovis JV; 7:30 p.m. — Clovis vs. Lovington.
11 a.m. — Hereford vs. Lovington; 12:30 p.m. — Perryton vs. Clovis JV; 2 p.m. — Consolation game; 4 p.m. — Third-place game; 6 p.m. — Championship game.
Lady Cats season schedule
9 — at Roswell High, 4/6 p.m.; 16 — Roswell Goddard, 4 p.m.; 19-20 — at Las Cruces touornament, TBD; 25-27 — at Rio Rancho tournament, TBD.
2 — at Carlsbad, 6/8 p.m.-x; 3 — at Carlsbad, noon-x; 9 — Manzano, 4/6 p.m.-x; 10 — Manzano, 10 a.m.-x; 23 — at Eldorado, 4 p.m.-x; 24 — at Eldorado, 10 a.m./noon-x; 30 — Hobbs, 4/6 p.m.-x.
1 — Hobbs, 10 a.m.-x
x-Denotes District 4-5A games.