By Eric Butler
RIO RANCHO — The Clovis Lady Wildcats’ softball team was walking a thin line on Thursday. And, in such cases, the mere distance of a foot can be a big thing.
That was the clearance margin for a bloop single from Academy’s Dylann Haas that just cleared the glove of Clovis second baseman Samantha Ramos. The hit, with two outs in the fourth, was the single most effective blow in Academy’s 3-2 win over the Lady Wildcats in the opening round of the Kristin Griego Memorial Tournament.
Clovis (7-4) took a 1-0 lead early, largely through the speedy presence of Nicole Marez.
The Lady Cats’ leadoff hitter reached base on an Academy error in the Clovis first. After stealing second and reaching third on a passed ball, Marez and Annie Tweedy — who reached first on a walk — pulled off a double-steal and Clovis took the lead.
Through the first three innings, Clovis senior pitcher Paige Adare worked out of several jams.
In the first inning, the Chargers (6-1-1) stranded runners at first and third when Adare induced a grounder to end the frame.
The next inning, Academy again stranded runners at first and third.
An even dicier situation presented itself in the third when Academy put baserunners at second and third with no outs. But Adare fanned Chargers pitcher Ruth Sagartz, and then induced a comebacker groundout and a popup to get out of trouble.
Adare ran out of good fortune in the fourth.
With two outs and runners at second and third, Haas blooped a hit into shallow right — scoring Tara Perea and Michelle Jones. Haas scored on a Clovis error for a 3-1 Academy lead.
Sagartz, who struck out 13, kept the Lady Wildcats hitless until the fifth. That’s when singles by Laura Wood, Alicia Odom and Sara Salguero cut the Academy lead to one.
Clovis, however, wouldn’t get another hit .
“Each time, we’ve got to try to keep improving,” said Clovis coach Larry Trower, whose team plays Santa Fe Capital at 8 a.m. today in a consolation bracket game. “These are the last games we have before district — and we have Carlsbad right out-of-the-chute on that.”
Academy coach Jody Lunz said Clovis was better than he thought.
“I had never seen Clovis before and I thought that, fundamentally, they had some good swings and the infield threw the ball around really well,” Lunz said. “I was very impressed with them. It (Clovis) is a slow-pitch town and, some of the times, the focus gets on other things. But if they keep the good work up, they’re going to be a quality program.”
Abq. Academy 3, Clovis 2
Academy 000 300 0 — 3 6 1
Clovis 100 010 0 — 2 4 1
Ruth Sagartz and Allison King; Paige Adare and Alicia Odom. W — Sagartz. L — Adare (5-4). Top hitters — Academy, Dylann Hass 1-3, 2 RBI; King 2-4. Clovis, Sara Salguero 1-4, RBI; Laura Wood 1-4; Odom 2-4. Records — Academy 6-1, Clovis 7-4.