Cats capture first district baseball win

CNJ STAFF

ALBUQUERQUE — Behind senior John Props’ complete-game pitching performance, Clovis beat Cibola 8-5 in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader to pick up its first District 4-5A win.
The Cougars had taken the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday morning, 12-2 and 11-8, respectively.
“It’s kind of nice to get the monkey off the back finally,” Clovis coach Shane Shallenberger said.
After allowing three runs in the first inning, Props settled down, scattering 11 hits.
“John Props gave us a very, very good pitching performance,” Shallenberger said. “He kept us in the game.”
Clovis answered in the bottom of the first with three runs and broke open a 5-5 tie game in the top of the sixth with another three runs.
Juniors Matt Ulibarri went 4-for-4 and Sean Cruce was 2-for-3 with three runs batted in for Clovis (8-15, 1-8 District 4-5A). Senior Luke Gray drove in two runs, as well.
The series didn’t start out well for Clovis on Friday as the Cougars jumped on sophomore pitcher Cade Wheeler and Gray for nine runs in the top of the first .
Shallenberger said Wheeler was wild on the mound and Cibola (9-15, 4-8) took advantage.
“He had to throw a strike and they made him pay,” he said.
Cibola Nick Montoya drove in four runs and Chris Eaton added another three RBIs.
Shallenberger said his team played much better Saturday morning despite losing 11-8.
“We actually played decent most of the weekend, except for the first game,” he said.
Clovis had a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the third in Saturday’s first game, but Sandia scored the next eight runs to put the game away.
Clovis scored three runs in the top of the seventh thanks in part to Gray’s two-run homer, but it was not enough.
Shallenberger said errors cost his team three unearned runs.
“We just came up a little short,” he said. “It showed a lot of heart that they didn’t quit.”
Gray went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in Saturday’s opener. Cruce went 3-for-4 and junior Devin Sweet drove in two runs for Clovis.
Shallenberger said it was important for his team to pull out its first district win.
“It’s just important to try to get your focus back,” he said. “It’s easy to lose, its hard to win. They showed a lot of class today.”

District 4-5A
Friday
Cibola 12, Clovis 2
Clovis 000 02 — 2 4 2
Cibola 902 1x — 12 12 1
Cade Wheeler, Luke Gray (1) and Daniel Casarez. Bobby Bunch and Root. W — Bunch. L — Wheeler.
Top hitters — Clovis, Kiser, RBI. Cibola, Montoya 3-4, 4 RBIs; Easton 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBIs, Chavez 2-3, RBI.

Saturday
Game 1
Cibola 11, Clovis 8
Clovis 032 000 3 — 8 8 3
Cibola 124 202 x — 11 13 2
Sean Cruce, Jonathan Sisneros (6) and Danile Casarez. Rodriguez, Lake (3) and Chavez. W — Lake. L — Cruce. Top hitters — Clovis, Cruce 3-4, RBI; Luke Gray 2-3, HR, 4 RBIs, Devin Sweet 1-2, 2 RBIs. Cibola, Eaton 2-4, Bobby Bunch 2-4, Layba 2-4.

Game 2
Clovis 8, Cibola 5
Clovis 030 203 0 — 8 12 2
Cibola 310 010 0 — 5 11 2
John Props and Nathan Dodge. Layba, Bunch (5), Lake (7). W — Props. L — Bunch. Top hitters — Clovis, Matt Ulibarri 4-4, Sean Cruce 2-3, 3 RBIs, Luke Gray 2-4, 2 RBIs. Cibola, Gallegos 3-4, Eaton 2-4.