Wildcats settle for split

Clovis’ Matt Ulibarri gets caught in a rundown between first and second base during the first game of a doubleheader against Amarillo High Saturday at Bell Park. Ulibarri was tagged out. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

CNJ staff

The Clovis baseball team were to within six outs of sweeping a doubleheader against Amarillo, before the Sandies scored 11 runs in the final two innings for an 11-3 win.

The Wildcats won the first game 3-1 on Saturday at Bell Park as Luke Gray went 6 1/3 innings, giving up an unearned run and five hits while striking out three.

“We had a solid pitching performance by Luke,” Clovis coach Shane Shallenberger said. “He mixed it up, he had his pitches in the zone, he hit his spots.”

Clovis (3-2) scored all its runs in the fourth inning when senior Jared Montoya drove in junior Sean Cruce with a single. Two batters later, Nathan Dodge stroked a two-run single that drove in Gray and Montoya.

Cruce came in with one out and one run in the seventh and closed the game out for the save.

Up until the sixth inning, it looked three runs were going to get Clovis another win in the second game.

Clovis scored three in the first off Amarillo pitcher Cody Jones as Cruce had an RBI single before senior Simon Salguero drove in two more a few spots down the lineup.

However, Jones settled down an didn’t allow a run over the next five innings.

“We got up 3-0 and honestly I think we got complacent,” Shallenberger said. “We just weren’t focused the rest of the game.”

Montoya made the three-run lead stand up, stifling the Sandies (4-2-1) while giving up only an unearned run through four innings.

Cade Wheeler came in the fifth and allowed a few bloop singles and a walk to start the sixth. Amarillo then got to Cruce with a few hits, which led to five runs in the inning.

Amarillo scored another five runs in the bottom of the inning off John Sisneros.

“We kind of let things fall apart,” Shallenberger said. “We made a couple of errors, we kicked the ball around a little bit. We gotta figure out how to play every inning, instead of taking some innings off.”

Still, he said he’s still seeing progress in the Wildcats.
“That’s a solid team that we beat and a solid team that we lost to,” he said. “That tells you where we’re at. We’re pretty close to being a solid team ourselves.”