Wildcats split doubleheader with Hobbs

CNJ staff

HOBBS — The Clovis Wildcats came within one game of what looked impossible only weeks ago.

Needing a doubleheader sweep to have a chance to finish second in District 4-5A and earn and automatic state playoff berth, Clovis beat Hobbs 10-6 in the opener.

But the Eagles blanked Clovis 8-0 in the nightcap, dooming the Wildcats to a third-place finish and in need of an at-large bid to make the state playoffs.

The Wildcats finished the regular-season 11-14 overall and 2-6 district.

Clovis Coach Shane Shallenberger said he still thinks his team is playoff-bound.

“I think we’ll get in,” he said. “We’ll be a low seed, but we’ll get in. We played Carlsbad tough in four games, we played Hobbs tough in four games. Our schedule was tough. We didn’t play many easy people.”

The Cats will know their fate Sunday when the NMAA selection committee picks and seeds the 16 state playoff teams.

“We’ll just have to wait till Sunday and see what happens,” Shallenberger said.

There are 22 Class 5A teams in the state.

In the first game, Clovis senior Sean Cruce gave up four runs in the first inning, but held the Eagles scoreless for his next 3 1/3 innings of work.

“He was a little wild in the first inning,” Shallenberger said. “But he settled down and started locating his pitches.”

Cruce was 4-for-5 at the plate and senior Devin Sweet drove in two runs for Clovis.

In the second game, the Cats’ bats doomed the team to a loss.

“We just stopped hitting,” Shallenberger said.
Senior Matt Ulibarri hit two doubles, accounting for half of Clovis’ hits in the game.

Garrett Bertola pitched the complete game shutout and went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the Eagles (16-4-1, 3-3)