CLOVIS — It took 16 innings for Clovis High to finally dent the scoreboard against District 4-5A rival Carlsbad this season.
It took even longer for the Wildcats to get a hit.
CHS suffered its third consecutive no-hit loss to the Cavemen in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader at Bell Park, although the Cats finally broke through late for some runs in a 7-3 loss.
Their first hit came on senior Norbert Archibeque’s two-out single to center in the first inning of the nightcap. Clovis collected seven hits in that one, but still came out on the short end of a 7-2 verdict.
“We can’t get a bloop or even a ground ball when we need it,” CHS coach Richard Cruce said. “I thought we kind of gave away two good games, for the most part, by our pitchers.”
With younger, less experienced players having to step in due to injuries, the Cats have had a tough time staying competitive in a fairly strong district. They did, though, at least stay within some striking distance in these games until late.
The Cavemen (11-5, 5-3) scratched out a run in the first inning of the opener, but were held in check by senior left-hander Josh Martin until putting together a six-run fifth which included five hits, a walk and an error. Senior left fielder Josh Carillo’s two-run double capped the rally.
Left-hander Grant Harvill carried a shutout into the sixth, but gave up a run when the Cats’ Juan Jimenez reached on an error, took second on Harvill’s wild pickoff throw, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on freshman Manuel Gutierrez.
Senior Kayden Bratcher worked the seventh, but Clovis got two more runs with the help of another error, two walks, a hit batsmen and a wild pitch. Bratcher got the final out with two CHS runners in scoring position.
“We still gave up some runs,” said Carlsbad coach Alan Edmonson of the no-hitter, adding that it was his team’s fifth of the season overall. “We made errors and gave up walks. But we won the games, which is the ultimate prize.”
Carlsbad (11-5, 5-3 district) has all but been eliminated from the district race, but still hopes to finish a strong second behind Hobbs and earn a Class 5A state tourney berth.
“If we can take care of business (this week), we’re still in good shape to take one of those (three) at-large spots,” Edmonson said.
In Game 2, the Cavemen had a runner at second with two outs in the top of the third against freshman Will Jordan when they put together two hits, three walks, a hit batsman and a passed ball to score four times. The Cats got two in the bottom half on an RBI groundout by Justin Lawson and Archibeque’s run-scoring double, but that was it.
Clovis (4-12, 0-8) has lost eight in a row, all in district play. The Cats play district twin bills at Hobbs on Tuesday and at home against Roswell High on Friday to close out the season.
“We’re fighting it a little,” Cruce admitted. “We’re trying to keep it as positive as we can. I just want us to go out and compete.”
Carlsbad travels to Roswell on Tuesday and will close out the regular season on Friday at home against Hobbs.