By Eric Butler
RIO RANCHO — A troubled start on Saturday put Clovis in an early hole against Anthony Gadsden. And though the Lady Wildcats rallied to tie the Panthers, Gadsden held on for a 5-4 win.
The loss kept Clovis (9-5) from grabbing the consolation championship trophy in the 16-team Kristin Griego Memorial softball tournament. The Lady Wildcats, after losing their opening game to Academy on Thursday, swept a pair of games Friday, defeating Capital 4-0 and the Rio Rancho junior varsity 10-2 to get into the consolation title game.
In those wins, the Lady Wildcats ended a two-week hitting slump.
“We hit the ball well this weekend and that helps a lot,” Clovis coach Larry Trower said after the Gadsden game. “And they came out today, except for the first inning, and did pretty decent.”
In the opening frame on Saturday, Gadsden (13-1) was a big beneficiary of two dropped balls by Clovis fielders. Combined with a pair of Panthers’ singles, those miscues helped Gadsden to a 3-0 lead.
Clovis got one run back in its half of the first.
Shortstop Laura Wood singled, moved to third on a Gadsden error, and scored on an Alicia Odom grounder to short.
In the fifth, Clovis pitcher Paige Adare helped her cause by singling to right. Samantha Ramos — who, in turn, came home on a Wood single to tie the game.
“I was just telling myself that we can’t give up, that we had to keep giving it our all,” Wood said.
“Everybody was hitting, but sometimes straight to people.”
Two of the biggest breaks the rest of the way went to the Panthers — as a pair of singles to left for Gadsden took bad hops and bounced past Clovis left fielder Valerie Morris.
Gadsden’s Angie Ortega started the sixth with a single turned into a triple by a bad hop. After singling home Ortega, Becky Olivas rode home on another single to give the Panthers a 5-3 lead.
Clovis scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth on Odom’s infield hit and a Gadsden error.
On Friday, the Lady ’Cats broke open a scoreless tie with Capital by tallying four runs in the fifth — an inning that included doubles by Wood and Cynthia Lucio as well as a home run by Annie Tweedy.
Tweedy, who picked up the win against the Rio Rancho junior varsity, was selected to the all-tournament team.
“Now we’ll get back home and get some more practice to get ready for Carlsbad,” Trower said.
Clovis hosts Carlsbad on Friday and Saturday in a three-game series that starts district play.
Gadsden 5, Clovis 4
Gadsden 300 002 0 — 5 9 3
Clovis 100 021 0 — 4 5 3
Stephanie Gonzales and Ruby Chairez; Paige Adare and Alicia Odom. W — Gonzales. L — Adare (6-5). Top hitters — Gadsden, Vanessa Valles 3-4, triple, RBI; Angie Ortega 1-4, triple, 2 runs; Georgette Chacon 2-3, RBI. Clovis, Laura Wood 2-4, run; Samantha Ramos 1-3, double, RBI; Odom 1-3, run, RBI. Records — Gadsden 13-1, Clovis 9-5.
Clovis 4, Capital 0
Capital 000 000 0 — 0 4 3
Clovis 000 040 x — 4 5 4
Tena and Pacheco; Adare and Odom. W — Odom (6-4). L — Tena. Top hitters — Capital, Casaus 2-2, Shroutote 1-2. Clovis, Wood 2-3, double, RBI; Tweedy 1-2, HR, 2 RBI. Records: Capital 8-6, Clovis 8-4.
Clovis 10, Rio Rancho JV 2
Rio Rancho JV 001 010 0 — 2 2 5
Clovis 422 200 x —10 10 3
Wilkinson and Parks; Annie Tweedy and Odom. W — Tweedy (3-0). L — Wilkinson. Top hitters — RR, Cordova 1-4, run; Gonzales 1-3. Clovis, Odom 2-2, 2 walks, 2 runs; Nicole Marez 2-4, triple, run; Sara Salguero 2-4, 2 runs. Record — Clovis 9-4.