Top-ranked La Cueva takes two from Cats
May 2, 2017
CLOVIS — Clovis High’s baseball team has had a pretty good season in 2017. The Wildcats, though, were no match for the state’s top-ranked team on Monday at Bell Park.
La Cueva extended its winning streak to 23 games since a season-opening loss to Valley and wrapped up a perfect 10-0 run through District 2-6A with a 12-1, 12-0 sweep of the Cats in the regular-season finale for both teams. The games were makeups of Saturday’s weather-related postponement.
Clovis (16-10, 5-5 district) managed just five singles in the twin bill. The Cats couldn’t keep the Bears away from big innings — a six-run third and a four-run fifth in the opener, and a seven-run sixth in the nightcap which actually broke open a 2-0 game.
“When you play teams like La Cueva. who swing (the bat) the way they do, you can’t give them extra outs,” CHS coach Richard Cruce said. “I felt like we did that today.”
Junior shortstop Jake Pineda put La Cueva on the board in the third inning of Game 2 with a solo home run, and catcher Ryan Johnson added an RBI single in the fifth off CHS starter Sebastian Nunez. But the Bears ran away with their third big inning of the day in the sixth, highlighted by a run-scoring single from Pineda and a two-run double by senior Richard Ware.
Right-hander Ben Schoneman worked four scoreless innings for the win. Junior Cam Kuykendall had all the Cats’ hits in the contest, going 3-for-3 with three singles.
The Cats will be traveling to Las Cruces this weekend for their first-round, best-of-3 series in the Class 6A state baseball tournament. Clovis is the No. 11 seed and will take on sixth-seeded Centennial beginning on Friday. Game two is scheduled for Saturday, with a third game to follow if necessary.
The winner of the series will square off against the winner of the No. 3 Piedra Vista-No. 14 Atrisco Heritage Academy matchup in the state quarterfinals on May 11.
La Cueva 12, Clovis 1 (1st game) — The Bears broke a 1-1 tie with a six-run third on seven hits, including six in a row after a leadoff walk to Pineda. The big hit was a three-run double by catcher Phoenix Autrey.
Senior right-hander Jonathan Stroman, a University of Arizona signee, allowed one hit and one unearned run in three innings before giving way to right-hander Wes Alexanderson. Both of the Cats’ hits in the game were infield singles, and the only ball hit out of the infield was a one-out sacrifice fly by junior third baseman Tomas Gallegos in the bottom of the first.
La Cueva finished with 11 hits. Five of its runs unearned, including all four against reliever Kayden Shober in the fifth inning.
Everyone in the Bears’ batting order had a hit, with Ware and center fielder Ryan Phillips each going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.