CLOVIS — John Tigert had a feeling that something wasn’t right.
He thought his talented but young Carlsbad softball squad might be in for a bit of a comeuppance on Thursday night.
The Cavegirls, leading District 4-5A standings comfortably entering a doubleheader against Clovis High at Lady Wildcat Field, cruised to a 5-0 lead in the second inning of Game 1 when the tide suddenly turned. The Lady Wildcats, winless in district play starting the night, erupted for eight unanswered runs and held on down the stretch for a 14-12 win — only their second all-time against Carlsbad.
In the nightcap, the Cavegirls (13-2, 7-1 district) regained their form a bit, posting a pair of six-run frames en route to a 16-4 victory and the split.
“To be honest, I saw it coming,” said Tigert, who has spent almost all of his 30-year coaching career at Carlsbad and earlier this season notched his 600th victory. “We were resting on our laurels a little bit.
“My two pitchers (sophomores Faith Aragon, a lefty, and Haiven Schoolcraft) are probably two of the top five pitchers in the state, and Clovis knocked them both out.”
In fact, Carlsbad had outscored its previous 13 opponents 125-20, including a 10-0, 14-0 sweep of Clovis (4-12, 1-7) at Carlsbad on June 1, and had given up as many as four runs in a game only three times.
Meantime, Clovis senior Jordan Angeles managed a complete game in the circle despite surrendering 16 hits and dealing with five Lady Cats errors. At the plate, though, she was a terror — she drove in five runs in the opener with a three-run double, a solo homer and a groundout, and added a three-run home run in Game 2.
Angeles said she wasn’t aware of her RBI total, but Carlsbad was — the Cavegirls gave her the Barry Bonds treatment, walking her intentionally in each of her last two at-bats even though both times there were already runners at first and second.
“They did what they thought was best for them,” Angeles said. “But I definitely wanted a chance to hit again.”
Angeles’ three-run double capped a five-run CHS second in the opener, tying the score 5-5. She then hit a first-pitch homer to right-center leading off the fourth for a 9-7 lead, and drove in her final run as part of a five-run fifth that put Clovis ahead 14-10.
“This is what we’ve worked for, and it finally showed,” first-year Clovis coach Braelyn Kruelskie said. “The takeaway is for us to keep working.”
Carlsbad threatened in the sixth and seventh, but the game ended when Johnna Aragon, stationed at second with one out, was thrown out by Lady Cats first baseman Bryana Gallagher as she tried to advance on a 5-3 groundout.
“Clovis really competed well in the first game,” said Tigert, not wanting to make excuses for his squad. “We’re young, but we’re supposed to compete at a high level.”
Angeles said the win was a big boost for the Lady Cats.
“I think we were really excited,” she said. “After that first game, it showed how good we can be.”
Needless to say, the Lady Cats had trouble getting back to that level in Game 2, and Carlsbad jumped on them for six in the top of the first. The Cavegirls then scored 10 runs over the final three frames in a contest ending in six on the 10-run rule.
Clovis wasted several opportunities in Game 2, stranding 13 runners and leaving the bases loaded in the first, fifth and sixth.
The Lady Cats end their season with two district twin bills this week, hosting Hobbs on Tuesday night and visiting Roswell High on Thursday. Carlsbad returns home to host Roswell on June 15 before ending its regular season against Hobbs on June 17.