Clovis High’s Parker Wood delivers a pitch to Levelland’s Nathan Hinojosa during Friday’s game. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Levelland baseball coach John Bimmerle wasn’t ready for his team’s potent attack on Friday. Neither were the Clovis Wildcats.
Levelland punished four CHS hurlers for 21 hits and rolled to a 19-7 victory at Bell Park. The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
The Lobos (8-8) had eight players with at least two hits, led by pitcher Randy Gaona with 4-for-4, four runs scored and two RBIs. Shortstop Brian Ashley went 3-for-4 and drove in five runs, while first baseman Arlin Pruitt also finished 3-for-4 and drove in four runs.
“We haven’t hit the ball like that all year,” Bimmerle said. “They just came out swinging today.”
Levelland broke the game open with a five-run second that was aided by a call at second base on an apparent inning-ending CHS double play. Shortstop Cade Wheeler came over the bag for an apparent forceout and threw to first, but was ruled to not have control of the ball when he crossed the bag.
Nathan Hinojosa followed with a two-run single and then scored on designated hitter Adrian Zapata’s two-run double, turning a three-run lead for the Lobos into a 7-1 margin and knocking Cats starter Jonathan Ware out of the box.
After Levelland added four mores in the third, the Cats (6-4) came back with four in the bottom half. But the Lobos tacked on seven runs on seven hits in the fourth, putting the game all but out of reach.
“Our pitching has carried us all year,” Cats coach Shane Shallenberger said. “We didn’t play very well, but give Levelland credit; they hit the ball well today.”
Goena survived his third-inning struggles to go the distance on the mound. He allowed seven hits and five earned runs, with three walks and four strikeouts.
“He’s our No. 1 (pitcher), and they hit him hard,” Bimmerle said of the Cats. “I was impressed with the way they swung the bats today.”
Clovis pulled to 2-1 in the bottom of the first on Cade Wheeler’s leadoff triple to right-center and Parker Wood’s RBI groundout. The third-inning rally featured RBI singles by Jarod Kiser and Ware, while two more runs scored when Ashley dropped a two-out popup in short left-center.
In the fifth, Kiser walked, Wood singled and Andrew Gilliard hit a run-scoring double. Ricky Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to bring Wood home.
“We didn’t quit,” Shallenberger said. “It’s not like the kids didn’t try hard. We just didn’t have our best game today.”
The Cats return to action a week from today with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Alamogordo at Bell Park.