Big hits with two outs proved to be the difference as visiting Carlsbad knocked off Clovis 6-2 on Saturday.
While the Cavegirls had already wrapped up the District 4-5A crown, the result pushed the Lady Wildcats into a perilous situation with one game remaining.
Clovis (6-16, 1-6) will have one last chance to tie for second in district when the Lady Cats host Hobbs on Tuesday — provided that Hobbs doesn’t upset Carlsbad four days later.
“We’ve played two really good games against Carlsbad this year here,” Clovis coach Brandi Thomas said. “We’ve had a chance in both. It would have helped us quite a lot.”
Carlsbad (18-4, 7-0), after two scoreless innings, got a clutch two-out hit from sophomore Lizzy Castro to go up 2-0 in the third. After Clovis pitcher Adrianna Aguilar recorded a pair of outs, the Cavegirls’ Thailyza Ramirez stroked a single down the third base line.
An ensuing walk issued to Kelly Munoz set up a double from Castro stroked into the right-center field gap.
In the bottom of the fourth, Clovis chopped the lead in half when Charolette Varney singled the opposite way to score Brittany Mascarenas, who had an infield hit to get on base.
But the Cavegirls retaliated with three more in the top of the fifth. Again, Castro slugged an extra-base hit with two outs — a triple, also to right — to score a run. Then Cavegirls junior Tyree Ingram got hold of an Aguilar offering and sent it over the left-center field fence for home run and a 5-1 lead.
Carlsbad used a couple of pitchers, sophomore Adrianna Vargas and senior Allie Carrigan, in the victory. Clovis got its second run off Vargas in the fifth when Nicole Anaya singled in Elena Wimberly.
“We beat them one time 5-3,” Carlsbad coach John Tigert said. “They hit the ball well. They hit our pitchers well. They’ve got three or four sticks that swing as well as anybody.”
Thomas acknowledged her team has made strides.
“Last year, Allie Carrigan just ran us,” Thomas said. “She dominated us in every aspect. But the first time we played here, we came out and hit the ball.
“It’s a good thing. It may be a little late in the year, but it’s all right.”
Clovis’ only chance to tie Hobbs for second in district is to beat the Lady Eagles by six runs on Tuesday. Ties in 4-5A, according to Thomas, are broken by run differential between the teams involved.
The Lady Cats knocked off Hobbs 5-1 at home, but dropped two games in Hobbs by scores of 5-2 and 8-1. At the 16-team state softball tournament, only the district champions this year are guaranteed spots in the field.
“Yeah, it’s a must-win and it’s kind of like a big must-win,” Thomas said. “We’ve kind of got to bury them, basically.”