CLOVIS — Clovis High’s bats were in working order in Tuesday’s season-opening doubleheader against Portales at Bell Park.
The Wildcats clubbed 26 hits and cruised to 9-1 and 14-4 victories over the Rams, who fell to 0-4 against a tough early schedule.
Sophomore Tyler Green drove in eight runs for the Cats in the twin bill, including five in the second game that ended on the 10-run rule in the bottom of the sixth inning. Third-year CHS coach Greg Hill also got a good look at his pitching staff, using five hurlers in the two contests.
Hill was a little disturbed by his team’s occasionally shaky defense.
“We had a lot of positives today, but for us to be successful we need to get guys to step up and compete,” Hill said. “We have great kids, but we have to get tougher.”
Portales scored in the first inning in each game, but couldn’t keep the Cats off the board for the most part. Portales coach Arturo Ontiveros wants his team to learn from its rugged early slate.
“We’re just hoping to make improvements,” Ontiveros said. “I told the kids, ‘As long as we compete, it’s hard for me to yell at you when you’re playing teams that are supposed to beat us.’”
Senior Craig Cook went three innings in the opener for Clovis while junior Ethan Dennie, the Cats’ only left-hander, finished with four shutout innings. He allowed four hits, walked none and struck out four.
“I felt pretty good,” said Dennie, adding that he’s had a bit of a sore arm. “Once I got in the game, I felt like I could’ve gone longer.”
Junior shortstop Juan Rivas hit a two-run triple in the Cats’ three-run second, while Green singled home a run in a four-run fourth and added a two-run single in the fifth.
In the nightcap, the Rams cut a five-run deficit to 6-4 with a two-run fifth, helped by two Clovis errors. The Cats came back, though, with Green’s two-run triple sparking a four-run fifth and his two-run single highlighting a four-run sixth.
Junior Matt Woodbury, who went 3-for-3 in the opener, flipped a soft two-run single to left on an 0-2 pitch in the first inning of Game 2. He also worked two innings in relief of second-game starter Tanner Massanari, allowing three runs — none earned — on just one hit with four strikeouts.
“I felt a little rusty (on the mound),” said Woodbury, who joined the team after finishing the basketball season for the Cats in last week’s Class 5A state tournament in Albuquerque. “I’m just getting into baseball shape, throwing some long-toss.”
Portales managed just three hits in the second game, including a run-scoring single by first baseman Ryan Schmidt in the first inning.
Both teams are in tournaments this weekend — Portales at Eunice and Clovis at Piedra Vista in Farmington.