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

Clovis wallops Lovington for 13th victory


March 28, 2018

Tony Bullocks

Clovis junior Anthony Gonzales fields the grounder and makes the throw to first in the top of the third inning.

CLOVIS — The postal creed states: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds".

Clovis High's baseball team kind of borrowed that creed on Tuesday by playing in two of the above conditions — the rain and the gloom of night — when hosting Lovington at Bell Park. And the Wildcats of Clovis express-delivered a 24-1 victory, taking care of the Wildcats of Lovington in five innings to notch their 13th victory in 16 tries this season.

Cold and rainy weather? What cold and rainy weather?

"We talk about adversity, and the weather today, it is a little bit of adversity," Clovis coach Richard Cruce said. "You've got to fight it, and they did a great job of battling through something that we don't usually have to play in."

"At first it was tough," Clovis starting pitcher Sebastian Nunez said, "but you just have to adjust to it and you've just got to keep pitching."

Tuesday also marked Clovis' first home game since hosting a doubleheader against Hobbs on Feb. 22, and even in the dreary weather, the Wildcats used the homecoming to honor their 12 seniors on Senior Night. All in all a big night at Bell Park, albeit a cold and wet one.

"Coming home is always a good thing," Cruce said. "And being able to swing it like we did today, we've been working on that a lot, and the kids did exactly what we asked them to do."

"There's nothing better than being at home and playing on your home field," Nunez said. "It just gives you a special feeling."

Nunez, for the most part, worked quickly through Lovington's lineup. Marcos Hernandez led off the game by connecting on Nunez's first pitch, and it sounded dangerous off the bat, but settled into a harmless fly out. It was the start of a 1-2-3 inning -

on just four pitches - for Nunez, sending Clovis up for its own first at-bats.

Clovis' offense was just about the only thing hot about Tuesday, as the lumber was working despite the chilly night.

Clovis' Cam Kuykendall drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first inning, stole second base standing up and grabbed third on Connor Langrell's infield single. With Jace Piepkorn up, Langrell stole second, but he would've soon had the base anyway because Piepkorn walked to load 'em up.

Junior Garrett Langrell was next to bat, and with a 3-2 count, he ripped a double up the middle, scoring Kuykendall and his older brother to make it 2-0. Piepkorn took third on the play and scored on a fielder's choice when the next batter, Colson Faircloth, grounded out to put Clovis ahead by three runs.

Nunez then laced a single to shallow center, scoring Garrett Langrell with Clovis' fifth run. After an infield single by Kayden Shober, E.J. Gonzales singled through the right side of the infield to knock in run No. 6 for Clovis.

Following an infield single by Anthony Gonzales, Kuykendall walked to load the bases, and with Connor Langrell up, the home-plate umpire called a balk on Lovington, forcing E.J. Gonzales home to make it a 7-0 game. Anthony Gonzales scored on a single by Connor Langrell, and Piepkorn hit a sacrifice fly to score Kuykendall, who had moved to second on the balk and third on Langrell's RBI-single. With that run, Clovis was ahead 9-0.

Garrett Langrell gave one a ride, but wound up flying out to deep left-center, finally ending the bottom of the first inning.

Lovington did get one back in the top of the second, after J.J. Valdez walked and Josef Roberson tripled, both with two outs.

But the beat went on for Clovis in the bottom of the second, as six more runs scored - one each on Anthony Gonzales' bunt single, a passed ball, a fielder's choice and a throwing error past third base; and the last two on Garrett Langrell's second double of the night.

All that added up to a 15-1 Clovis lead after just two innings, and the 'Cats of Clovis kept rolling, adding nine more runs before it was over in four-and-a-half innings, including a seven-spot in the bottom of the fourth.

Lovington (2-10) had recently beaten a good Portales team, so Clovis' dominance of Lovington was a good way to go into District 2-6A play, which begins Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader against Eldorado in Albuquerque.

"The last week and a half's been really good to us, playing good baseball heading into a big district series against Eldorado," Cruce said.

"We've just got to keep playing and not get too big-headed," Nunez said. "We've just got to stay where we're at and keep the foot on the gas pedal."


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