Clovis’ Johnny Garcia, right, tries unsuccessfully to tag out El Paso Del Valle’s Danny Muro at third base during Saturday’s fifth-place game of the Clovis Invitational at Bell Park. Del Valle beat the Wildcats 17-8.
Clovis High knew it would struggle with its pitching on Saturday’s third day of the season-opening Clovis Invitational. Then a blustery wind helped make things even more difficult.
El Paso Del Valle took full advantage, combining eight hits, with eight walks, five hit batsmen and three Wildcats errors for a 17-8 victory in the tournament’s fifth-place game.
CHS coach Shane Shallenberger said he knew it would be tough, but added that he appreciated the effort from some of his players who had seldom, if ever, pitched before.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of pitching today,” Shallenberger said. “But the thing I was proud of was that everybody tried their best.”
Not only was it a tough day to pitch, but most fly balls became an adventure.
The Conquistadores scored five times in the top of the first, then opened a 14-4 lead with a seven-run fourth. The game was called after five innings because of the tournament’s two-hour time limit.
Reyes Melendez struggled through four innings on the mound for the win. He also helped himself at the plate with a double and a home run, driving in three runs.
Junior Parker Wood, who started on the mound for Clovis, whacked his second two-run homer in two days and drove in another run with a double. He reached base his other two times up on walks.
In other final round games, El Paso Bel Air beat Deming 16-8 for seventh place, Santa Fe High knocked off Hobbs 19-10 to take third and Rio Rancho successully defended its tourney title with a 14-0 rout of St. Pius in the championship game.
Clovis returns to action on Saturday with a 1 p.m. (MST) doubleheader against Palo Duro in Amarillo.
At Bell Park
El Paso Bel Air 16, Deming 8 (7th)
El Paso Del Valle 17, Clovis 8 (5th)
Santa Fe High 19, Hobbs 10 (3rd)
Rio Rancho 14, St. Pius 0 (championship)