By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Tony Cordova admits he was a tired man Sunday night.
Cordova coached two Clovis teams in the USSSA national youth rec slow-pitch softball tournament at Guy Leeder Complex — and both won championships.
His 16-and-under girls team, Fear This, breezed through pool and bracket play in the three-team tournament, while his 12-and-under boys team, Clovis Players, bounced back from a 14-5 loss to the Amarillo Lil Longhorns in the first championship game to take the “if necessary” contest 6-4.
“I wasn’t expecting to win (the boys title) because I was missing about four players,” Cordova said. “I had to pick up two players just to have enough to play.”
Most of his boys team is made up of Clovis American Little League players, and Cordova said they like the crossover to slow-pitch.
“They really enjoyed it,” he said. “The majority of the team was on the American (12-and-under) All-Star team, but they didn’t make it to the state tournament.”
Trailing 4-1 in the third, Clovis Players scored four runs to take the lead for good in the finale. T.J. Serna and Kevin Esparza both had three hits in the victory.
Fear This, meantime, dominated its three-team bracket with four lopsided wins, including a 12-2 thumping of the Clovis Lady Braves in the finale.
Overall, they outscored their opponents 94-13 in the tourney.
“The girls hit the ball very well,” Cordova said. “They were on top of their game.
He said the team had hoped to play in the 19-and-under bracket, which it did in state competition. Fear This was fourth at state, losing its final game to Hobbs Toga Heat after beating that team earlier in the tournament.
Toga Heat was second in the three-team 19-and-under division to Clovis Fire & Ice, which survived a 13-12 winners bracket finale against the Hobbs team and went on to finish 4-0.
“They had us holding our breath for a while,” Fire & Ice coach Robert Tyler said. “But the girls came through.”
Fire & Ice had a run of several years through the youth leagues before disbanding a couple of years ago, Tyler said. The team was put back together a couple of months ago and played in an adult division of the Clovis Softball Association this summer.
“We’d been doing really good there, so we decided to see how they would do in this tournament,” Tyler said.
The winners bracket final not only gave Fire & Ice the inside track on the title, it may have saved the team, Tyler said.
“We had a couple of girls who were going to have to leave, so I told them, ‘We better get it done now,’” he said.
Clovis teams won five of the seven divisions in the tournament, with X-plosions taking the 14-and-under girls title and Clovis Krush the 12-and-under crown. In addition, the Clovis Heavy Hitters and Tucumcari Diamondbacks — both 10-and-under teams playing in the 12-and-under boys division — and a one-game playoff on Saturday for the 10U championship with the Heavy Hitters prevailing 4-3.