Clovis High’s Omar Sosa, left, tries to complete a double play after forcing Levelland’s Jonathon Movin at second in a game earlier this season at Bell Park. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Clovis High baseball coach Shane Shallenberger knows the Wildcats have their work cut out trying to chase down Carlsbad this season in District 4-5A.
“Until you knock Carlsbad off, they’re the team to (beat),” Shallenberger said. “They’ve probably won our district about 15 years in a row.”
The Cats (8-6) will have their chance to upset the balance of power when they open district play against the Cavemen (12-3) in a 1 p.m. doubleheader today at Bell Park.
Clovis had a home doubleheader snowed out Saturday against Goddard, and hasn’t played since winning twice April 3 at Roswell High.
Those wins were helpful, though, because they put an end to a four-game losing streak.
“We’d been in a little slump,” junior third baseman Jarod Kiser acknowledged. “Getting those two wins boosted our confidence a little bit.”
Kiser said he thinks the layoff has been good for the team to heal some nagging injuries — he’s playing through back issues — but Shallenberger is concerned about how it will impact his players.
“It’s tough when you have 11 days off,” he said. “Hopefully, the kids will be ready to go and we’ll get the rust off.
“We played real well at Roswell High in the second game. We hit the ball as well as we have all year.”
Carlsbad has been a perennial state contender in baseball. While they aren’t “typical” Carlsbad, Shallenberger expects the Cavemen to still be plenty formidable.
Their top pitcher is left-hander Kenneth Toves, he said, while leaders on offense include Jonathan Rodriguez, Matt Porter and Bubba Forrest.
“They’ll be good, but we’ve had a good week of practice,” Kiser said. “I think we’ve got our minds right. We’d like to sweep them, but hopefully we can at least split with them.”
He said the Cats feel pretty good about their situation.
Shallenberger announced three schedule changes for the Cats. They’ve added an April 24 twin bill at Portales, they will play the return doubleheader at Carlsbad April 27 instead of April 28 and the makeup of last week’s postponement against Goddard at Bell Park has been set for May 8.