CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Clovis’ Parker Wood beats the throw home to score the first of two third-inning runs in the Wildcats’ 2-1 win over Carlsbad on Saturday at Bell Park.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
It’s only the summer season and traditional power Carlsbad appears to be rebuilding, if not reloading.
Still, that didn’t take any of the satisfaction away for Clovis High coach Shane Shallenberger and his team after edging the Cavemen 2-1 on Saturday for seventh place in the Clovis Invitational at Bell Park.
Right-hander Josh Burrell allowed a first-inning run, then permitted only three more baserunners as the Wildcats salvaged their tournament finale in a snappy 1-hour, 22-minute performance.
“Carlsbad’s always a tough team,” Shallenberger said. “They’ve been the District (4-5A) champs for ever and ever. I hope this gives us some confidence for the rest of the summer.”
The Cats stranded seven runners in the first three innings and lost another on an inning-ending, bases-loaded double play in the first, but they scratched out both runs in the third against Carlsbad right-hander Ken Lopez.
Consecutive one-out singles by Parker Wood, Andrew Gilliard and Emery Sierra tied the game, and Gilliard was able to score from third when left fielder Arjay Ybarra made an errant throw to the infield after catching Jake Burrell’s fly ball.
Josh Burrell, Jake’s older brother, set down 10 of the last 11 hitters and needed only 67 pitches to complete a two-hitter. He walked one, struck out two and hit two batters.
“I just showed up to play,” said Burrell, who was the Cats’ No. 4 pitcher during the spring behind seniors Jonathan Ware and Cade Wheeler, and Wood. “(Assistant Shane) Leatherwood made some good pitch calls, and I just let my defense play behind me.”
The Cats’ defense turned in an errorless game.
“I don’t know the last time we played a game without an error,” Shallenberger said. “JB threw a real good game today. He had confidence in all three of his pitches.”
Josh Burrell said he wasn’t all that cognizant of the score.
“I didn’t really notice it,” he said. “I was so into the game, just trying to do what coach wanted me to do.”
Carlsbad coach Jesse Haas, who handles the program’s junior varsity during the spring, was disappointed his young squad couldn’t get a win in the tournament. The Cavemen lost 10 seniors from a team which went 21-5 during the spring.
“We’re real inexperienced,” Haas said. “That’s why we came up here, to get experience, and we got it.”
Lopez also threw the ball well despite hitting three batters. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five.
“Our pitching staff did real well this weekend,” Haas said. “We just couldn’t get any runs to support them.
“I knew we’d have some trouble, but I thought we’d hit the ball a little better than this. And we made a lot of mental mistakes.”