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

La Cueva sweeps Clovis to take 2-6A title


April 29, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE — It's not over for Clovis' baseball team, not by a longshot. But the Wildcats' doubleheader losses at La Cueva still stung a bit.

The 'Cats still justifiably expect a high state-playoff seed despite getting swept by the Bears, 2-1 and 7-0 on Saturday. Those setbacks, however, cost Clovis its first District 2-6A crown.

With each team tied at 8-0, the stakes of Saturday's twin bill were reasonably clear. The Wildcats needed either a sweep or to win the run differential in a split, but managed to do neither against one of the state's top 6A programs.

And yet, it all began so well for the Wildcats, who scored a run in the top of the opening game's first inning, then didn't score again the rest of the day.

"Yeah, it was rough when you come out of the chutes swinging the bats really well," Clovis coach Richard Cruce said. "Then we hit kind of a lull there and just couldn't put it all together."

Ben Schoneman went the distance in the opener, scattering five hits. Hunter Boyden allowed just one hit through the nightcap's first six innings; Aaron Sanchez allowed the other two in the seventh, with Austin Schlagel coming on to finish it off by allowing no more hits. Schoneman and Boyden each improved to 9-0.

"Any time you play La Cueva, they're a quality baseball club with good pitching," Cruce said. "We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it (Saturday). Like I told the kids - (Saturday) just wasn't our day."

Clovis' fast start to the doubleheader began when Connor Langrell singled to right field, followed by a Jace Piepkorn high-chopper past third base for a single to left.

Colson Faircloth then singled up the middle to score Langrell from second, quickly making it a 1-0 game.

But that was it for Clovis' offense. Langrell (7-1) only gave up the tying run in the fourth inning, then the go-ahead run in the fifth, but did allow eight hits and four walks while striking out none.

From the plate, Langrell was 2-for-2 with a walk.

In the nightcap, Clovis was hamstrung by La Cueva pitching. Wildcats starter Sebastian Nunez (4-2) pitched fairly well until the Bears put up a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth inning to break it open.

"(La Cueva) got some big two-out hits to score runs," Cruce said. "And we just couldn't overcome it."

Clovis wanted that district championship, but won't dwell on not getting it. The Wildcats have their eyes fixed on a state title, and that quest will begin this coming week.

"We'll put this behind us (Sunday)," Cruce said, "and we'll have a little get-together for the (state-tournament) selection show and see where we're at. We'll host somebody next weekend and get ready to go."


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