After defeating Clovis High on Tuesday, the Buchanan baseball team did so again on Friday, March 29, with a score of 5-1, this time on the Cougars home field.
The Bears were able to keep their momentum rolling from the teams’ previous meeting, posting three runs in the first inning and taking a lead over the Cougars that they would not surrender all game.
After back-to-back singles from Buchanan seniors Brady Hormel and Brock Jones to lead off the first inning, first baseman and pitcher Jacob King was able to bring his teammates home with a two-RBI single.
But King was just getting started.
In the next inning with a 3-0 lead, two on base and two outs, King raked a double, bringing home another run for his third RBI of the evening.
But he still wasn’t done.
In the fourth, Jones got his second hit of the night, a single up the middle. He then stole second a couple pitches into the next batter’s at-bat and set the table for King.
With one out, King approached the plate again. This time, he drilled a liner to center to bring home Jones, who just beat out the relay throw, earning King his third knock of the night in as many at-bats and his fourth RBI.
Clovis High had trouble finding any offensive momentum against Bears starter TJ Fondtain.
Until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Cougars, down 5-0, were able to load the bases against Fondtain with no outs.
Fondtain would get the first out of the inning on a flyout to right field, but that would be all for the starter, who posted six strikeouts in 5 ⅓ innings.
A defensive switch had King and Fondtain trading places, bringing King to the mound with the Bears’ starter going to first base.
The first batter King faced, Clovis High senior center fielder Carson Evans, lined a single into right-center field to bring in the Cougars’ only run of the night.
The bases remained loaded, and the Cougars looked like they were ready to put some more runs on the scoreboard.
But a ground ball back to the pitcher was handled quickly with a throw to Bears catcher Tanner Larson for a force out at home. Larson, without hesitation, promptly threw to first to turn an inning-ending double play and stymie the threatening Cougars’ rally.
King would close out the contest on the mound for the Bears, who put up 11 hits in the game.
The Cougars weren’t lacking for hits with eight of their own, but were unable to capitalize when runners were in scoring position.
After the game, Buchanan head coach Brad Fontes said King’s evolution from a closer to a first baseman with good batting ability has been a great addition to the team.
“They saw him [King] kind of swing the bat a little bit in BP, and he was very athletic,” Fontes said. “We needed some more depth at first base so we started plugging him in there. He put competitive A-Bs together and worked his way into the lineup, and it’s been a pleasant surprise. He’s been a big part of the middle of the order now.”
The Bears are ranked first in the conference with an overall record of 14-2 (6-1 TRAC). The Cougars are 7-8 overall (2-5 TRAC).