Cleveland right-hander Jaden Davis retired the first nine Clovis batters he faced Saturday afternoon and earned the victory, with Karter Weddle pitching a scoreless fifth. (Herron photo)
The Cleveland High School baseball team is headed to the Hobbs tournament this week, facing Belen Thursday in its first of three games.
It’s the second of five consecutive three-game tournaments for the Storm, which their coach likes because he says it’ll better-prepare his team for the state tournament.
The Storm (2-1) seemingly have plenty of offense, and a capable pitching staff – when it’s throwing strikes.
With the opening-game loss to Los Lunas in their rearview mirror – a loss that featured more free bases than any coach wants to see his team allow and a miscue on a fly ball that ultimately led to that setback – the Storm took advantage of six walks and eight hit batters, including three in a row in the fourth inning Saturday.
Cleveland 15, Clovis 3: A seven-run first inning in the finale of the Cleveland Invitational made smooth sailing for the Storm.
Jarren Villa’s bases-clearing triple highlighted that inning, when two batters walked and two were hit.
The Storm made it 10-0 with three runs in the second, with an RIB-Triple by Logan Kinter.
Brandon Hennessy led off the third with a double, that frame’s only hit, when two more Storm were hit by pitches and Austin Barela and Kinter drove in runs with sacrifice flies.
Meanwhile, junior Jaden Davis took a no-hitter into the fourth, when a leadoff walk spoiler his bid for a perfect game and back-t-back singles spoiled a no-hitter and shutout. The Wildcats scored twice before he retired the side of two strikeouts and a groundout.
The Storm concluded their scoring in the fourth with three runs on zero hits, and runs driven in when Barela was hit by a pitch, Silas Hilton walked and Kinter had another sacrifice fly.
Karter Weddle pitched the scoreless fifth, as the 10-run mercy rule came into play for the second day in a row for the Storm.
It was another productive day, as only seven hits led to 15 runs; Hennessy had two hits and no one else had more than one. Kinter and Villa had three RIBs apiece.
“It was one of those games; (Clovis) struggled on the mound. Obviously, we did what we had to do and put up some runs,” Cleveland coach Shane Shallenberger said. “I was happy with that.”
Davis, he said, “had a really good game. … He did pitch well for the first game,” he added, expecting Barela and Kinter to be the No. 1 and 2 pitchers, and Davis No. 3.
Cleveland 18, Hobbs 5: Major league Baseball increased the size of its bases for the 2023 season; high school coaches may want to see the plate width increased.
As in Thursday’s season opener, the Storm’s starting pitcher had control problems early, but a few innings into the game, that didn’t matter: Cleveland Hobbs handily
Logan Kinter (1-0) walked three Eagles in the first inning and two of them came across the plate for an early 3-0 lead.
No problem: Hobbs lefty Mekhi Brewer had even more trouble, walking the first two Storm batters he faced in the bottom of the first, and they both scored on Barela’s triple.
But there was more, as a dozen Storm batters came to the plate and by the time Brewer got the third out, he’d walked six and given up six runs – on just one hit.
That set the tone, as he walked two more in the second after a single by Kinter, and Villa hit a slicing ball to right field that went for a grand slam for a 10-3 Storm lead.
Josiah Martinez relieved Brewer and went the rest of the way, but he walked three in the third, when the Storm scored twice without a hit.
Eagles errors in the fourth paved the way for six more runs – this time on three hits – and the 10-run mercy rule ended the contest after junior Joseph Stevenson struck out two and got a fly ball to right to record the first 1-2-3 inning on the game.
Each team finished with just six hits, with Barela having two of them; Hennessey, Chase Tyler, Kinter and Villa had one apiece.
Los Lunas 6, Cleveland 5: Four unearned runs in the fifth inning turned into an opening-game 6-5 loss for the Cleveland High baseball team Thursday afternoon at the Shockyards.
It was the first game of the annual Cleveland Invitational, six-team round-robin event.
Both teams went with their aces: Ryan Castillo for the Los Lunas Tigers, and Austin Barela for the Storm.
Barela had trouble finding the plate early, needing 39 pitches to get out of the first inning, which included five walks, but no hits – and a 2-0 Tigers lead.
No problem: The Tigers made two errors in the bottom of the first, helping the Storm tie the game at 2.
The Storm took the lead in the third, scoring three times, with RBI singles coming from Kinter and Gabe Nelson.
Barela pitched the fourth and left with that 5-2 lead, having thrown 91 pitches by then, finishing with five strikeouts and six walks – and not giving up any hits.
Anthony Del Angelo, a freshman, pitched the fifth, and that’s when a misplayed fly ball into short center field started a four-run rally – although Del Angel fanned the Tigers’ third and fourth batters, only to give up a single, triple and walk before finally getting his third strikeout of the frame.
The damage was done – neither team scored again.
Villa pitched the final two innings.
The Storm got hits by Villa and Hennessy in the fifth, but stranded them when Castillo struck out Chase Tyler.
In the seventh, the Storm got a leadoff walk by Barela, who was replaced on the basepaths by courtesy runner Karter Weddle.
Closer Paul Cieremans struck out Silas Hilton and Kinter, and helped Weddle get into scoring position on a balk.
Then, for some unknown reason, Weddle was caught advancing toward third and was tagged out to end the game.
“That’s a tough one; I don’t know what to say about that,” Shane Shallenberger said. “Obviously, there were a lot of mistakes made,” Shallenberger said. “It’s a long year.”