Clovis rallies to post split

Clovis senior Daniel Casarez blocks a pitch in the dirt during the first game of Tuesday’s West Texas Baseball League doubleheader against Frenship at Bell Park. Staff photo: Eric Kluth

CNJ staff

Daniel Casarez hit a game-tying RBI single with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth and the winning run followed on an outfield error to give the Clovis Wildcats a 9-8 victory over Frenship, Texas, and a split of their West Texas Baseball League doubleheader Tuesday night at Bell Park.

Frenship ran away with the opener 13-3, called after six innings on the 10-run rule. The split leaves Clovis at 4-2 for the summer.

Center fielder Matt Ulibarri went 4-for-5 in the doubleheader, including 3-for-3 with a walk in the second game. Ulibarri hit an RBI triple in the second and a two-run double in the third as Clovis pulled to 8-7 in the second game, limited to five innings by mutual agreement.

Sean Cruce, Clovis’ third pitcher, worked two shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. He set down the first four hitters to face him, then gave up a one-out triple in the top of the fifth but escaped when he speared a line drive and caught the runner off third.

The Cats loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning on two walks and a hit batsman before Casarez hit a line drive to right. Third base coach Shane Leatherwood initially held the second runner, but sent him when the right fielder bobbled the ball.

“We didn’t show up at all today until Matt hit his triple,” Leatherwood said. “Then everyone decided to start hitting the ball.”

Clovis was coming off a second-place finish in its own eight-team tournament over the weekend.

“We could’ve had a little hangover from the tournament,” Leatherwood said. “I just hope whatever it was, we got it out of our system.

“Matt stroked the ball today. Other than that, we did it (in the second game) on walks and some miscues by (Frenship).”

The Tigers broke open the first game with consecutive four-run innings in the third and fourth, turning a 2-1 lead into a 10-3 cushion. Frenship banged out 11 hits in the contest, called after six innings because of the 10-run rule, and also benefited from seven Clovis errors.

The Wildcats continue their busy early-summer home schedule on Thursday, hosting Levelland, Texas, in a 5 p.m. twin bill at Bell Park.

First game
Frenship 13, Clovis 3
Frenship 114 412 —13 11 3
Clovis 102 000 — 3 2 7
Clovis pitchers —
Jonathan Sisneros, Parker Wood (4). L — Sisneros. Clovis hitters — Matt Ulibarri 1-2, BB, 2 runs; Sean Cruce 1-3.

Second game
Clovis 9, Frenship 8
Frenship 341 00 — 8 4 2
Clovis 133 02 — 9 5 2
Clovis pitchers —
Jared Powers, Daniel Casarez (2), Cruce (4). W — Cruce. Clovis hitters — Ulibarri 3-3, BB, 3 runs, 3 RBIs; Jarod Kiser 2-run HR; Casarez RBI 1B. Record — Clovis 4-2.