Cats slip in as No. 15 seed in 5A tournament

May 7—ROSWELL — Clovis High's baseball team essentially had its destiny in its hands going into Friday's District 4-5A and season-ending doubleheader against Roswell High.

With a sweep, the Wildcats could have finished second in the district and perhaps locked in a reasonably good seed in the upcoming 16-team Class 5A state tournament.

A split would have all but assured a berth, but the Cats left it in the hands of the New Mexico Activities Association selection committee after dropping 11-9 and 2-1 decisions, relegating them to the fourth seed from the district on a tiebreaker with the Coyotes.

On Sunday night, the Cats received a No. 15 seed in the tournament. They begin a best-of-3 first-round series at second-seeded Rio Rancho (22-4), with the second and, if necessary, third contests slated for 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

The series winner will advance to a 10 a.m. quarterfinal tilt on May 16 against either No. 7 Carlsbad or No. 10 Centennial at Jennifer Riordan Spark Kindness Sports Complex in Albuquerque. Semifinals and the championship are slated for May 17-18 at the University of New Mexico's Santa Ana Star Field in Albuquerque.

Clovis (13-12, 3-6 district), which hammered the Coyotes 10-0 in Thursday's series opener at Bell Park, got off to another good start in Friday's lidlifter, leading 6-0 after two frames and 9-4 after 3 1/2 . Junior Koby Rivera hit a two-run single and senior Jackson Garcia added a two-run double in the Cats' five-run first.

But Roswell High (12-14, 3-6), which came in on a six-game losing streak, put together its second consecutive four-run inning in the fourth, and took the lead with three in the fifth.

"We came out and played good," CHS coach Richard Cruce said. "Then I think we had the feeling (the Coyotes) were just going to give up."

Senior Eli Lynn went 2-for-3 for Roswell High, including a solo home run, while senior Issac Loya was also 2-for-3 with two RBIs and junior Jacob Palomino finished 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Clovis put together 11 hits, but it wasn't enough. Senior Jasiah Mendoza was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for the Cats, while senior Bernie Lopez and junior Quinn Culiver were both 2-for-4 and senior Nathan McIntosh hit a pair of sacrifice flies.

The nightcap was a pitchers' duel, with sophomore Luke Lynn throwing a two-hitter and striking out 13 for the Coyotes while senior Jayden Jameson allowed just four hits and pitched around six walks and two hit batsmen for Clovis.

"Tip your hat to their kid," Cruce said. "He kept us off-balance all day, and we never did adjust."

Eli Lynn — Luke's brother — singled home the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh. McIntosh had both Clovis hits and scored the Cats' run on a wild pitch in the second, while Roswell High tied it with a tally in the bottom of the inning.