Cats dyeing to advance

Clovis High senior Mark Replogle, center, came up with the idea that all the varsity baseball players should dye their hair blond. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth

By Rick White

Mark Replogle and the Clovis Wildcats baseball team are hoping it’s true blonds have more fun.

Wildcat players bleached their hair blond this week in a show of solidarity for Saturday’s Class 5A regional playoff game against Mayfield at Apodaca Field in Las Cruces.
The Wildcats (21-5) have been eliminated in regionals the last two years.

“I thought it would be fun,” said Replogle, the Wildcats fun-loving senior leadoff hitter. “I thought it was something we could do to bring us together as a team.
“Plus, I really didn’t want to shave my head.”

Replogle, who set the school record for stolen bases while splitting time between catcher, infield and outfield, said it took two tries to get the color right.

“I was a little pissed off because it came orange the first time. So I did it again,” he said, running his hand over the closely cropped platinum blond hair.

Senior first baseman Ryan Denton said his girlfriend initially was against him coloring his hair.

“I told her I’ve got to do it if everybody else is going to do it,” said Denton, who is third on the team in RBIs.

Clovis coach Shane Shallenberger said he’s in favor of anything that helps bring the team together.
“It’s good that they all did it,” Shallenberger said. “That’s what I like about it.”

Shallenberger hopes experience will help propel the Wildcats past the regional round this season.

“We’ve had great teams in the past, but this team has experience,” the third-year Wildcats coach said. “All these seniors have been through it before.

“The atmosphere isn’t going to get to them. They expect to win. We’re ranked third in the state and we think we’re even better than that.”

By winning its first district title since 1996, 3-5A champion Mayfield (14-8) earned the Trojans the right to host the regional contest. Clovis finished second in 4-5A behind Carlsbad.

Shallenberger said scouting reports indicate Mayfield is fundamentally sound and have a top starter in left-hander Frankie Duran, who is 9-1 on the season with a 2.18 ERA.
Shallenberger said Duran is more of a finesse pitcher than a harder thrower.

“We’ll have to be patient and get pitches we can handle,” Shallenberger said. “He’ll move the ball up and down and in and out and try to get you to chase pitches.
“If we do, he can be effective.”

James Suter (three HRs) and Edgar Casillas are both batting over .400 for Mayfield.

“Last year at regionals, I think we were just kind of happy to be there (against eventual state champion) La Cueva,” Denton said. “This year, we’re not going to be happy unless we win state.”

The winner of Saturday’s regional advances to next week’s four-team state tournament in Albuquerque.