Clovis faces Ravens in Rio Rancho tourney
ALBUQUERQUE — The Clovis High baseball team left town a little early for this weekend’s Rio Rancho Invitational baseball tournament.
Coach Shane Shallenberger and his squad practiced at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday so they could watch the CHS girls basketball team play in the Class 5A state semifinals at The Pit. The Lady Wildcats advanced to Friday’s championship contest with a 24-point rout of Gallup.
Meantime, the baseball squad hasn’t been able to play a game since winning its season-opening tournament two weekends ago. They’ll take their 3-0 record into today’s 1 p.m. first-round matchup against Rio Grande.
Senior Mark Young, who has been out since suffering a knee injury late in the football season, is scheduled to start on the mound today against the Ravens.
The Cats have played in the event in each of Shallenberger’s three seasons as their coach, and he expects a challenging weekend.
“I think with the teams they’ve brought in this year, this is probably the toughest tournament in the state of New Mexico,” he said.
If Clovis wins its opener, the Cats will probably get a rematch in the semifinals against defending 5A champion La Cueva, which ran through the 2003 season undefeated. The Bears, who face Roswell High today, eliminated Clovis in the regionals last season.
“It doesn’t make or break our season, whatever we do,” Shallenberger said. “It’s just that we’ll know where we stand and where we need to be when this is over.”
Shallenberger said among the other teams in the field are defending Class 4A state champion St. Pius, and another strong 4A team in Farmington.
“I think Farmington has already beaten (the Cats’ District 4-5A rival) Eldorado 14-2 and 12-2,” he said.
The Cats had games in Amarillo against Tascosa and Amarillo High weathered out last week, although they got a few innings in against Tascosa. Neither game will be made up, but CHS has added a 5 p.m. (MST) single contest for next Thursday at Frenship, Texas.
Shallenberger said the team has finally been able to get outside again this week after the recent un-spring-like weather.
“We’re fortunate to have our indoor facility at the high school,” he said. “We’ve gotten a couple of portable mounds in there and been able to do a few things, although it’s not like being outside.”
Rio Rancho Invitational
Santa Fe vs. Rio Rancho, 8 a.m.
Roswell High vs. La Cueva, 8 a.m.
Clovis vs. Rio Grande, 1 p.m.
St. Pius vs. Farmington, 3:30 p.m.