Lady Cats win finale in own tourney

Clovis High shortstop Jordan Garrett applies the tag against a sliding Lovington baserunner during Saturday’s matchup in the Clovis Invitational round-robin tournament at Lady Wildcat Softball Complex. (CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

The Clovis Lady Wildcats struggled to score on the first day of their four-team, round-robin invitational, plating only four runs in two games. Two of those came in one inning — without benefit of a hit.

They broke out in a big way on Saturday, getting home runs from Maria Gallegos and Jordan Garrett — Garrett’s shot leaving the yard in straightaway left field — to start the bottom of the first en route to a 14-6 victory over Lovington.

The win gave the Lady Cats second place in the event with a 2-1 record.

Garrett, a junior shortstop, led Clovis’ 18-hit attack by going 5-for-5. She also had a two-run triple off the base of the center field fence in the second inning, and drove in five runs for the game.

“We came out today and showed we can really hit,” said Garrett, who also cleared the barrier in a late-season district game against Hobbs last season. “The first two games we couldn’t hit to save our lives.”

Four of Clovis’ seven extra base hits were triples, including two by right fielder Ashley Gallegos, who finished 3-for-4.

“We took a little different approach,” CHS coach Brandi Thomas said. “We’ve been real timid at the plate, but today we finally started to swing it.”

Lovington (0-3), which lost to Portales 12-0 on Friday and to Hobbs 15-2 early Saturday, put together a five-run second for a 6-3 lead. Senior Rachelle Urban, who took the loss in an 11-0 setback to Hobbs on Friday, relieved eighth-grader Lynnae Logan and allowed the first three batters to reach — two singles and an error — before retiring 11 of the next 12 hitters.

Meantime, the Lady Cats went to work with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by Gallegos’ RBI triple and Garrett’s two-run triple.

Urban left after a hit batsman and two walks loaded the bases in the sixth, and freshman Tisa Forrest got the final out on one pitch. Clovis then scored four in the bottom of the inning to end the game on the eight-run rule.

Lovington didn’t have a hit after the second inning.

“Rachelle pitched awesome,” Garrett said. “She was hitting her spots so well. Everybody stepped up today — it was a team win.”

Sonia Chavez and Forrest also went 3-for-4 for the Lady Cats, while Gallegos finished 2-for-4.

Thomas said her team can build off its performance.

“It’s early,” she said. “We wanted to throw all three of our pitchers to see where we’re at.

“We still made some errors. We’ve got to clean up some of the mental mistakes.”

Lovington coach Jeremy Skinner was glad to see his team put some runs on the board.

“We’ve just got to focus on making the routine plays defensively,” he said. “Once we do that, we’ll be fine.

“Clovis plays sound softball, and they can certainly hit the ball.”

Hobbs finished 3-0 to win the round-robin, also beating Portales on Saturday 8-0. The Lady Rams went 1-2 to place third.