Photo by Nick Baker – Ashley Kincaid of Clovis slides past the Clovis North catcher for a run in the Cougars 7-2 win on April 15.
By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
The Wide World of TRAC Softball is again in session.
After returning from Spring Break, softball resumed with a semi-shocker; defending D-1 Central Section and TRAC champion Clovis High (16-3, 1-1) fell to suddenly rising Clovis East (13-7, 1-1) 4-2 on April 12 behind some nifty pitching and some timely hitting.
And don’t forget Buchanan, the team that sits atop the standings. The Bears (16-4, 2-0) took the momentum out of the Timberwolves sails on April 15 by a score of 3-0 behind the pitching of sophomore Molly Millar (complete game, seven strikeouts) and Katy Rineder (two-run single).
But back to the game Timberwolves upset at Clovis High; the Timberwolves got on the board first off of sophomore ace Danielle Lung in the sixth inning, who struck out 18 in the contest, by a 2-run single by Mya Felder. The Cougars quickly answered in the bottom of the inning with a game-tying two-run blast from Tori Mueller.
Then the dramatics: Camryn Monreal provided the winning hit in the 8th inning plating the final two runs for the 4-2 victory, sending the Cougars to their first defeat to a Central Section opponent this season, and a monumental win over the Cougars.
“The win over Clovis High on Tuesday is a huge accomplishment for the program,” said head coach Bryson Kamimoto. “The win was the first win in eight years against them. It is a piece to the puzzle in working on changing the culture and expectations within the program.”
The future does bode well for the Timberwolves as they have two freshman pitchers in Taja Felder and Olivia Shimmin. Kamimoto also points to the power supplied by Emilee Lear, Alexis Parras, Monreal and Felder who have all combined to hit 16 home runs this season.
But Kamimoto fully understands how difficult it is to compete in the TRAC day in and day out but feels his team is making steady progress.
“We have the mentality and drive to maintain our momentum, but playing in the TRAC we have to be able to match our mental preparations with our physical preparation and competitiveness,” added the first year coach. “Nothing is going to come easy and we have to prepare ourselves to grind, and find a new level of best every day.”
Clovis High responded well after their loss in beating Clovis North 7-2 on April 5 as Lung took the circle again and responded with complete game and seven strikeouts. Taylor Tiger went 3-4 and Jordyn Martinez smashed a home run.
Clovis has a huge week starting April 19 when they play Central and Buchanan.
And last but not least, there’s Central who’s as talented as anyone in the league and features perhaps the best overall player in the league in Gianna Mancha. The junior, battling early season shoulder soreness, threw a complete game one-hitter with 14 strikeouts in an overwhelming 10-0 victory over Clovis West. Mancha helped her cause with a double, home run and four RBIs.