By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Clovis X-plosions was gearing up late Saturday night for a rematch with the Ruidoso Lady Warriors.
The Clovis team did its part, holding off the Hobbs Braves 10-9 in the 14-and-under girls winners bracket semifinals of the USSSA national recreation youth slow-pitch softball tournament, being played at Guy Leeder Complex.
X-plosions will meet the winner of Saturday’s late winners semifinal between Ruidoso and the Hobbs Pink Ladies in today’s 12:15 p.m. winners bracket final. The winner of that game will then have the inside track on the tournament title later Sunday.
X-plosions coach Andrew Logan said his team, which features mostly 12 and-13-year-olds, finished second to the Lady Warriors in state competition earlier this month.
“We have a real strong team this year,” Logan said. “Our girls are all good hitters.”
They had their work cut out, though, against their Hobbs opponent. Facing the one-hour time limit, the Braves erased a 9-4 deficit with a five-run fifth before X-plosions won it in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring single by T.C. Chavez.
Logan came away impressed.
“It was a great game,” he said. “Their team was awesome. They really threw the ball accurately.”
Shortstop Rae Rae Marez led X-plosions at the plate with a single, a two-run double and an RBI triple in three at-bats. Chyanne Avila and Chavez both had two hits, while Cynthia Aragon highlighted a six-run first for the Clovis team with a two-run single.
Braves coach David Daniel bemoaned his team’s slow start.
“My girls started hitting kind of late,” he said. “We had the one bad inning, and then we held them.
“Hitting is the name of the game and we did it at the right time.”
Clovis outhit Hobbs 11-10, with Cynthia Patterson, April Damel and Sarah Garcia each getting a pair of hits for the Braves.