The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis baseball team sweeps Hobbs in twinbill

 

February 24, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Clovis senior Connor Langrell delivers the heat to a Hobbs batter in the top of the first inning in Game One of Thursday's doubleheader at Bell Park. The Wildcats wound up sweeping the Eagles, winning the opener 10-0 and the nightcap 8-1.

CLOVIS — Clovis High's baseball team seems capable of making a state championship run. And Thursday, the Wildcats took the first two steps in that direction.

Getting the pitching that should be their trademark this season and more than enough lively bats chiming in, the Wildcats brought the brooms out and swept a doubleheader of rival Hobbs, outscoring the Eagles by a gaudy 18-1 count by winning 10-0 and 8-1 at Bell Park.

"Getting the first two is huge, coming out and protecting your home field," Clovis head coach Richard Cruce said. "And Hobbs being a rival, it's always good to beat Hobbs. Hopefully, we can just build on it."

The first game was over in five innings thanks to Clovis' mercy-rule victory. Connor Langrell (1-0) worked all five frames, allowing just two infield hits, striking out five and walking only one.

Langrell's battery mate Jace Piepkorn led the offensive attack, going for 4-for-4 with two RBI. Langrell also went 4-for-4 with a run scored.

Clovis' Sebastian Nunez was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. And Joe Gallegos was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.

Gavin Hardison (0-1) absorbed the loss for Hobbs.

The second game was competitive for awhile before Clovis broke it open in the later innings. The Wildcats found themselves in a 1-1 tie as late as the third inning of the opener, but plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of that frame and led from there on.

Colson Faircloth led off Clovis' half of the third with a walk, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Nunez, and headed to third on a ball in the dirt. Kayden Shober then singled to right, knocking Faircloth home to make it 2-1.

Clovis added an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, then sent five more across during the last two innings.

Nunez (1-0) was the winning pitcher, tossing six innings and whiffing 12 while allowing just two hits and one run. He did manage to battle through control issues by overcoming five walks.

"Sebastian didn't have his best stuff," Cruce said, "but he ground it out."

Faircloth finished it off for Clovis in the seventh, allowing one hit and fanning one.

Though Hobbs' Tyrin Pacheco (0-1) took the loss after five innings of work, he was the Eagles' hitting star, going 2-for-4 including a double.

Piepkorn led Clovis, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Faircloth went 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored.

The Wildcats' senior Cam Kuykendall and junior Garrett Langrell were each 1-for-3. Kuykendall scored three runs; Langrell had an RBI and a run scored.

Tony Bullocks

Clovis senior Sebastian Nunez tags out Hobbs senior Jaden Hutchins on a steal attempt in the top of the first inning of Thursday's season-opening doubleheader at Bell Park.

"I'm very proud of the way the kids competed," Cruce said. "They swung the bats really well for early in the year. And I can't say enough about our pitching."

In all, the elder Langrell in the first game and the Nunez-Faircloth duo in the second combined to allow just five hits in 12 total innings, with 18 strikeouts over that span.

"We're going to hang our hats on pitching," Cruce said. "If we get those types of outings every game, we're going to have a chance to be in every game."

The 'Cats won't play again until Thursday, when they face Carlsbad at 2 p.m. in a Hobbs round-robin tournament. Though Cruce likes the team to get actual game time on the field, having a week off after a doubleheader should be beneficial.

"It's good for our pitching to have a little bit of rest and get in some shape," Cruce said. "But I like playing early in the year to see where we're at and what we've got to build on."

 

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