Clovis junior outfielder Ashley Gallegos hustles into third during the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader at Lady Wildcats field. (Staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent
Clovis and Los Alamos on Thursday batted the elements and each other for nearly four hours.
After sweeping a pair of games from the Hilltoppers, Clovis coach Brandi Thomas chalked the victories up to familiarity with the conditions.
“The difference between us and Los Alamos is they play in the snow,” Thomas said. “We play in the wind.”
The home weather advantage was decidedly with Clovis as the doubleheader began with winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour at the Lady Wildcats softball park. Clovis (12-5), which will open its district schedule Saturday at home against Carlsbad, won 10-0 and 11-3, taking advantage of a Los Alamos (5-9) defense that disintegrated during key spots in the doubleheader.
In the opener, the Clovis scored twice in the second inning on catcher Laura Gulley’s single up the middle.
The hosts broke the game open with a seven-run third helped by four Los Alamos errors.
Cynthia Lucio hit a leadoff double to deep left that was blown back into fair territory by the hard wind and Samantha Ramos added a single.
“The wind’s hard to play in and it’s something for the kids to learn how to focus,” said Los Alamos coach Randy Burditt. “And it’s hard to focus in the wind.”
The second contest saw Clovis jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning — a frame that began with Kim Lumsden hitting a triple to left-centerfield.
Lumsden scored on a groundout, but the Wildcats’ rally began anew with a pair of walks and a Los Alamos error. Angjelica Serna crossed home on a passed ball and Kambry Jones singled in Ramos to give the Wildcats a cushion.
But Los Alamos clawed back, scoring single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings to tie the game.
In the home half of the fifth, Clovis broke the deadlock with a pair of runs. As in the opener, Hilltoppers’ miscues played a big role as both Wildcats’ tallies were unearned.
A 5-3 lead turned into a rout when Clovis scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth. While Serna, Jones and Maria Gallegos connected for singles and Lucio clubbed a triple, four more Los Alamos errors kept the runners in motion as Clovis batted around.
Senior Rachelle Urban pitched both ends of the twin bill for Clovis. Four innings of shutout, no-hit ball in the first game began to change in the fifth, when Los Alamos loaded the bases. For the remainder of the day, including every inning of the nightcap, Urban had to get out of jams involving multiple Los Alamos baserunners.
“I thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this.’ I dug myself holes and I had to get out of it. I can’t do that,” Urban said. “I’ve got to let the defense play, I just can’t let something like that happen.”