Cats topple Hereford

Clovis High’s Cade Wheeler slides into third as Hereferd’s, 32, waits to catch the ball at Bell Park on Thursday evening. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Greg Price: CNJ sports writer

Ice packs taped to his right arm, Clovis senior Cade Wheeler talked about the importance of staying calm on the mound.

Wheeler had just finished pitching Clovis to an 8-2 victory over Hereford on Thursday in the first round of the Clovis Invitational at Bell Park.

“Typically when people get up on you, the first response is you want to get all aggressive,” said Wheeler, who scattered eight hits while striking out 11 in five innings. “But the more you calm down, the better you throw. So you have to control your mind.”

Clovis will play El Paso Del Valle today at 5 p.m. in a semifinal contest. Del Valle beat Deming 10-9 in the first round of the eight-team tournament.

The Wildcats (1-0) scored two runs in the third and added four more in the fourth while batting around.

“I think Cade did a good job for his first outing of the year,” Clovis coach Shane Shallenberger said. “We got thrown out on the bases a couple times because we were going to bunt a ball that wasn’t a strike, and we pulled back, but our baserunners kept going when they shouldn’t have. But that’s part of being young and learning the game.”

Clovis senior Jonathon Ware went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI. Junior Jarod Kiser was also 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

Hereford’s Josh Stueve, who allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of work, took the loss. Stueve was 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Clovis took the lead for good in the bottom third when Ware doubled to the gap in right center, bringing in Kiser and sophomore Parker Wood.

In the fourth, sophomore Omar Sosa reached on a throwing error and Wheeler walked. Kiser sent a moonshot to right field that Hereford’s Mikel Mungia misplayed into a double. Sosa scored and Wheeler advanced to third on the play. Sosa finished the error-aided rally with an RBI single.

In the first inning, Wheeler allowed the first two runners to reach base. The stocky right-hander struck out two batters swinging before getting the final out on a comebacker to the mound.

In the third inning, Wheeler allowed a two-run double to Stueve, but worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam with a pair of strikeouts.