Students and administrators from Clovis East area feeder schools graced the Timberwolves’ baseball diamond before the varsity game against the Clovis High Cougars.
The young guests mingled with Clovis East players and coaches before taking the field for the national anthem. With the chance to meet and learn from some of their elders, along with treats for the fans, the Clovis East baseball program put on a night to remember.
“The turnout was great this year. Unfortunately, last year we had to move our game due to weather, but this year we had a ton of kids out and they got to interact with all of our players, they got to see what it was like to go through the game-day process,” Clovis East baseball head coach Ryan Smith said. “I wanted them down on the field. They were basically in the dugout and they got to see the lineups and how the guys get ready for games. It was cool for our players, the young kids and our community as a whole. I was very, very happy.”
Smith remembered his own childhood opportunity when he got to hang out with the Buchanan Bears. He later joined the program and won a Valley Championship.
“I remember Tom Donald and those coaches coming down to us and young kids. It matters, it really matters. They know that I want to be here, I’m going to be here, and this is it for me,” Smith said. “This is my dream job, I’m teaching and coaching at a TRAC school. I live a mile and a half away from campus and my kids are going to go here. This is where I want to be and make it as best as we possibly can.”
In terms of the matchup between the Cougars and the Wolfpack, the visitors came away with a 9-2 victory behind a 3-for-4 effort, including three RBI’s from Carson Evans. Clovis scored three or more runs in two innings, putting Clovis East in a hole they couldn’t find a way out of.
Starting pitcher Ian Mortenson went five innings and didn’t give up any runs, while he struck out three. The Cougars showed their class within the TRAC, but there were positives for the growing Wolfpack.
Junior Tyler Parker went 3-for-3 in the game while Garrett Rose and Aj Hodgerney each had an RBI. The box score shows the runs scored but doesn’t show all the aspects of the game.
“There are a lot of things people don’t see, there were a lot of good things done,” Smith said. “The Cougars got some clutch hits and they are a really good ball club. James Patrick has been doing it for a lot of years and his staff has all kinds of experience.
“Our guys are battling, and we are scrappy this year. We have a lot of guys who don’t have much varsity time and they’re having to learn very quickly and night’s like last night, there are a lot of positives to take away.”
Clovis East might be 0-2 to open the TRAC, but the season is long, and the division represents problems for all in the area. They get a chance to rebound with a home visit with the Golden Eagles, who also sit at 0-2 in the TRAC and then follow with a trip to Buchanan.