Lady Cats split and wait

Hobbs sophomore Blakely Jenkins is caught in a rundown between Clovis’ Sonia Chavez, left and Jordan Garrett. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Now the waiting begins for the Clovis softball team. The Wildcats had a chance to pull into second place in District 4-5A in a home doubleheader with Hobbs. And, after winning the first contest 4-1 on Tuesday, Clovis needed to take the second by three runs to secure the runner-up spot.

But Hobbs (13-11, 3-3) put an end to that thought in the nightcap as Eagles pitcher Patricia Huerta hurled a 1-0 shutout over the ‘Cats.

Clovis (13-13, 1-5) now must hope to be selected as one of the 16 teams to make the softball Class 5A playoffs. The seeding meeting will take place on Sunday.

“We’re 12 to 15. I don’t see us in that 16th spot — and I don’t see us any lower than that,” Clovis coach Brandi Thomas said. “That’s where I see us, from who we’ve played and how we’ve dealt with it.”

The opener featured three innings of scoreless ball until Hobbs broke through with a run in the fourth on singles by Chelsey Drummond, Samantha Acevedo and Huerta.
Clovis, however, responded in the bottom of the fourth when Teshia Lujan’s opposite-field single to right scored Jordan Garrett — who was a combined 4-for-6 in the twinbill.

In the fifth, the ‘Cats broke the tie as Maria Gallegos led off the inning with a triple and was sent home by a single from Nicole Anaya.

Clovis tacked on two more runs in the sixth and the Wildcats’ bats seemed to be fully functional heading into the second game.

But Huerta stifled the Clovis hitting attack and a lone Hobbs’ run in the first inning held up for the Eagles. Huerta was also the key figure in the only score of the game as she socked a triple to deep left and scored when Jessica Alvarado grounded out to second.

The Wildcats put runners in scoring position in the first, sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to get the key hit.

“Chelsey Drummond, the first-game pitcher, probably has a little more talent,” Hobbs coach Dean Crossland said. “But Trish just throws so hard out there and she’s gonna find the way to get the job done.”

Rachelle Urban also did a stellar job in possibly her last day with the Wildcats. Urban only allowed two runs and nine hits in 14 innings of work as she pitched both games.

“She came out and did her job. You know, everybody did their jobs and that’s what I’ve been asking for all year,” Thomas said. “The way we finished tonight is what, I hope, carries us into the next round. We’ve got to stay focused on what we’re doing. I really don’t think our season’s over yet.”