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

Clovis hosts its latest Classic

 

June 23, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Cody Jones of Throwbacks, based in Amarillo, homers late in his team's 21-10 victory over Clovis' Los Jefes.

CLOVIS - Smack in the middle of the fray, in the center of the many softball fields hosting games for the 36th annual Custom Classic softball tournament, was a sign reading 'Welcome to the 'Guy' Leeder Complex."

Fitting, because there was a lot of welcoming to do. Approximately 100 teams came from throughout the panhandle area and descended upon Clovis over the weekend for this year's installment of the perennial tournament, which included five divisions - three men's and two women's. The sign seemed to almost have a Statue of Liberty quality to it, but instead of "Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses", it would be more in the vein of "Give Us Your Bats, Your Gloves, Your Best Arced Pitch."

For the guys there was Men's Competitive, Men's D and Men's E in which to compete. For the ladies, it was Women's Competitive and Women's E.

The parking lot was filled with cars bearing license plates from Texas mostly, or so it seemed, plus New Mexico of course, even Minnesota. Though that last one may have been a state transplant via Cannon Air Force Base, it jumped out. And the land of 10,000 lakes the plate advertised had an especially refreshing feel in Saturday's high-80s-to-low-90s temperatures.

Aside from the trekkers from out-of-state, there were plenty of local teams - including one from Cannon ironically (and probably, jokingly) named 'No Skillz'. On the backs of their uniforms, the softball-playing airmen had the encouraging military credo, 'Here I Am. Send Me," with an illustration of troops disembarking from an aircraft and rushing into harm's way to defend the liberty of people they don't know.

Also among the local competitors was Cisti Greenwalt, perhaps best remembered in Clovis for being part of the Lady Wildcats' late-20th-early-21st-century state title contenders, before playing women's basketball for Texas Tech and the WNBA's Seattle Storm.

Saturday at the Leeder complex, Greenwalt had a leather glove instead of an orange basketball, playing third base for a Women's Competitive team called Down and Dirty. She acknowledged it had been awhile since she was last a Custom Classic participant.

"A long time ago. Probably before (I had) kids," Greenwalt said minutes before Down and Dirty took the field for a mid-afternoon game. "I'd say about eight years ago."

The post-Wildcat-Red Raider-Storm Greenwalt has four children - an 8-year-old, a 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins.

"This is my fifth child," she said, pointing to a young girl whom she coaches on softball teams outside of the tournament. "I make her come watch."

Kevin Wilson

Desire second baseman Laura De La Rosa slaps a single to right field during her team's game against Nice Snatch. De La Rosa lives in Clovis, but played in the tournament with Desire, based in Lubbock. Nice Snatch won the game 16-9.

Greenwalt says preparation time was not at a premium for her and her Down and Dirty teammates. "We played (in the summer rec league) last Thursday (June 13) and practiced Thursday (June 20)," Greenwalt said. "And then we came out here and played. Most of these teams have probably practiced more."

Greenwalt noted that things are a little different since she last competed in the Classic.

"Women's (play) has changed a lot in softball," she said. "Just the skills and hitting. People can hit it and place it like the men do. They can hit it and place it more."

That was for the better. Greenwalt admitted not everything has changed in that direction.

"I'm not nearly in the shape I was in back then (when playing previously) by any means," she said, good-naturedly.

But, Greenwalt was enjoying herself anyway.

"Yeah, absolutely. A good time," she said. "It's fun to have your kids watch you play."

 
 

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