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

Clovis baseball team takes Game 1

Game 2 will be 11 a.m. Saturday

 

CLOVIS — On Friday night, Clovis took the first step along the way to a Class 6A championship, and that step couldn't have gone better for the Wildcats.

The 'Cats run-ruled Manzano 10-0 in five innings, giving them more time to rest up for the quick turnaround before Saturday's 11 a.m. Game 2 start of the best-of-three, first-round series.

Clovis improved to 22-5, while Manzano slipped to 12-13.

Senior Sebastian Nunez pitched a crackling two-hitter, those lonely two coming only because leaping and diving Clovis fielders couldn't quite get to them.

Clovis' patient hitters eventually got to Manzano starter Ruger Bravo, who was sharp early and seemed to have good velocity.

All in all, a great playoff start for Clovis.

"We did what we do," Wildcats coach Richard Cruce said. "Sebastian pounded the zone, we made plays defensively, and I thought we had good approaches at the plate."

The Wildcats' scoring was slow but steady, as they brought home one run in the first inning, two in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth. The first run — which wound up being the winning run — was set up when junior Anthony Gonzales led off the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle, followed by a bunt single from Cam Kuykendall. Connor Langrell's bunt forced Kuykendall out at second base, but the 'Cats had runners at the corners with one out. Jace Piepkorn then flied out to score Gonzales and make it 1-0.

Clovis picked up its second-inning runs when Kayden Shober was sent home from third on a balk, and a Gonzales fielder's-choice grounder scored Nunez. The biggest Wildcat hit in a night of small ball came in the third inning when Piepkorn doubled almost to the wall in right-center, bringing in Kuykendall — who had been hit by a pitch — and Connor Langrell, who had singled.

Clovis hopes to close out the series in Game 2, but would have to get past University of Tennessee commit Mitchell Parker first.

"(Saturday)'s going to be tough when they throw Parker in the first game," Cruce said. "We're going to have to do what we do."

Class 6A first round

Game 1

Clovis 10, Manzano 0, five inn.

Manzano 000 00 — 0 2 3

Clovis 123 4x — 10 6 1

Ruger Bravo, Diego Montoya (4) and Kevin Gutierrez. Sebastian Nunez and Jace Piepkorn. 2B — Clovis, Piepkorn. W — Nunez, L — Bravo. Records — Manzano 12-13, Clovis 22-5.

 

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