Aztec blanks Lady Cats in tourney

CNJ staff

ARTESIA — The Lady Wildcats were mystified by Aztec junior pitcher Melinda Simms and fell 6-0 Friday in the first round of the Artesia Invitational tournament.

“I’ve got to hand it to their pitcher,” Clovis coach Brandi Thomas said. “She had a real nasty riseball.”

Simms held the Lady Cats to three hits, all singles, and struck out 12 in a complete-game shutout. Aztec is the defending Class 4A state champion and ranked third in 4A by the Albuquerque Journal.

Clovis (7-5) dug itself a hole early, committing three errors and allowing two runs, one unearned, in the top of the first.
Aztec added two more tallies in the fifth and junior Charity Gillespie hit a two-run homer in the seventh to seal the win.

The Lady Cats’ offense has struggled lately, scoring only one run in the past two games.

“We had hits, but we hit it right at them,” Thomas said.

Thomas said her team has to work on defense and hitting.

“It’s stuff we’ve constantly worked on,” she said. “The coaching staff sees it, the kids just have to believe in it.”

Thomas thinks the current funk has her girls in the wrong mindset.

“We’ve got to be consistent,” she said. “We have to play to win, not play not to lose.”