Cats begin summer baseball slate

CNJ staff

The Clovis High baseball team begins its month-long summer season today with a 4 p.m. West Texas Baseball League doubleheader against Shallowater at Bell Park.

The Wildcats host the eight-team Clovis Invitational on Friday and Saturday, then settles into a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday routine which runs through June 30.

CHS coach Shane Shallenberger said his team is primarily looking to replace pitchers Jonathan Ware and Cade Wheeler and catcher T.J. Farmer, all lost to graduation earlier this month.

“The whole point of summer ball is to try to figure out what you’ve got coming back next year,” said Shallenberger, who will coach the varsity summer program with assistant Shane Leatherwood.

He said the catching situation is of more concern, since there are several prospects in the pitching department. Parker Wood, Emery Sierra and Josh Burrell all some saw varsity mound duty in the spring, while candidates up from the junior varsity include Jake Burrell, Victor Salazar and Brandon Gillard.

Others will also get a look.

“We play six games a week,” Shallenberger said. “We’ll probably throw just about everybody.”

He said the catching position is “wide-open” this summer.

The team does not conduct organized practice sessions during the summer, but Bell Park is open most weekday mornings and players can come in and work on their own, Shallenberger said.

Clovis will play Amarillo Tascosa at 8 a.m. Friday in the opening game of the tournament. Six games, including both consolation semifinals, will be played on Friday while the championship semifinals and four final-round games, capped by the 8 p.m. title contest, are set for Saturday.

The junior varsity program begins its summer slate at home Monday against Canyon in the first of 10 doubleheaders.

The JV squad is under the direction of Joe Clabaugh and Drew Hatley.