The Clovis baseball team entertained thoughts of sweeping traditional District 4-5A power Carlsbad on Saturday afternoon, a rarity in the history of doubleheaders between the two schools.
It didn’t happen, as Carlsbad bounced back from an opening game loss to take the second at Bell Park, but Clovis did come away with the district lead after the twin bill.
The Wildcats (12-10, 3-1 district) erupted for 12 hits in a 12-5 win in the opener before the Cavemen took the nightcap 12-2.
In the first game, Clovis put up six runs in the bottom of the second inning and that was enough for pitchers Brandon Gilliard and Jake Burrell to keep Carlsbad (13-6, 1-1) at bay. The Cats got particularly solid contributions from the bottom of the lineup as seniors Jordan Jacobs and Sebastian Flores combined for seven hits from the eighth and ninth positions.
“I’m very disappointed in the first game, absolutely,” Carlsbad coach Kenny Groves said. “We'’re a very young team, but you can’t take anything away from Clovis. They outhit us and outpitched us, so they definitely deserved to win.”
Clovis started the second game the way it ended the first.
After Cats pitcher Lane Drake set down the Cavemen in order in the top of the first, Clovis’ first four batters opened the bottom of the inning with hits.
Jordan Hill, Omar Sosa and Parker Wood singled before Emery Sierra pounded a ball the opposite way off the right field fence. Leading 2-0 with no outs and runners at second and third, Clovis’ prospects seemed bright.
But Carlsbad hurler Brandon Mendoza got the next three batters out with no further damage done, and the Cavemen responded with six hits in the top of the second to go up 5-2.
“I think our hitters got content,” Clovis coach Greg Hill said. “We got fat and happy. All of a sudden, the momentum changed.”
Meantime, Mendoza settled down and allowed only two more hits — both in the third — the rest of the way.
“You know, this kid is a sophomore and he stays around the zone,” Groves said. “Out of those four hits (in the first), only one was hit hard.
“Had they hit all four hard, he probably would’ve been pulled.”
After chasing Drake in the second, Carlsbad eventually did the same to Wood in relief by scoring three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
“If you’re not stringing hits along, then you’re stringing outs along,” Hill said. “We got content and started counting on someone else to pick it up. I think we got content thinking we’d be 3-1 to start the district schedule, instead of being 4-0.”
Clovis will next see action next Saturday when it travels to Hobbs for a doubleheader. Carlsbad, meanwhile, conceivably could move into a tie with Clovis at the top of the district standings this Tuesday if the Cavemen are able to sweep a twin bill at Hobbs.