By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer
Clovis senior Jonathon Ware said the Wildcats struggled with team chemistry last season.
Ware believes those problems are in the past as the Wildcats host the three-day Clovis Invitational at Bell Park.
Clovis faces Hereford at 5 p.m. today in one of four first-round games.
“We are just so much better together than we were last year,” Ware said. “We just need to keep playing hard and compete.”
Clovis coach Shane Shallenberger said the Cats will focus on small-ball throughout the tourney in the hopes of capturing their third title in the tournament’s five-year history.
Shallenberger said the starting nod will go to either Ware or senior Cade Wheeler.
Whoever starts, the Cats will have to limit their walks and force Hereford to put the ball in play, Shallenberger said.
On offense, Clovis shows its inexperience.
“We’re a young team this year, so offensively I don’t know what to expect out of our team just yet,” Shallenberger said. “I think we’re a decently fast team, and I think if we can get some runners on we can cause some havoc on the bases.”
Rio Rancho could be the Cats’ biggest test, Shallenberger said.
“I’m hoping we play solid, and what I mean by solid is we give ourselves the best opportunity to win the game,” Shallenberger said. “So whatever situation that may be, whether it’s hitting, pitching or fielding, we limit our mistakes.”
Rio Rancho vs. Levelland, 9:30 a.m.
Roswell High vs. Santa Fe High, noon
Deming vs. El Paso Del Valle, 2:30 p.m.
Hereford vs. Clovis, 5 p.m.
Rio Rancho-Levelland loser vs. Roswell High-Santa Fe High loser, 9:30 a.m.
Deming-El Paso Del Valle loser vs. Hereford-Clovis loser, noon
Rio Rancho-Levelland winner vs. Roswell High-Santa Fe High winner, 9:30 a.m.
Deming-El Paso Del Valle winner vs. Hereford-Clovis winner, noon
7th place, 9:30 a.m.
5th place, noon
3rd place, 2:30 p.m.
Championship, 5 p.m.