The Broncos (18-5-1, 5-3) came into Friday’s matchup sitting third in the Tri-River Athletic Conference with a record of 4-3, but against second-place Clovis(18-6, 6-2), their bats did the talking.
Clovis North capitalized on four runs in the third and fourth innings, along with a three-run sixth inning to overcome a strong Cougar softball team 13-6 on the road.
In TRAC play, the Cougars have only allowed five runs the entire year, but on Friday night, Clovis allowed 13 runs on 13 hits.
“I’m really proud of my team. They came out and hit the ball on the ground and we played solid defense,” Clovis North head coach Courtney Dale said. “We had solid pitching in the circle, and we got the job done.”
From top to bottom, the Broncos offense were tough outs all game long.
Clovis North got on the board early in the top of the first but surrendered a 2-1 lead to the Cougars after the home team scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning.But, the Broncos stormed back for four runs in the top of third and the top of the fourth innings.
Clovis North loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning, already up 5-2. Heather Ayerza, Natasha Ochoa and McKenzie Everhart all got on base, forcing the Cougars into a tight situation.
Freshman Kaylee Grealy wouldn’t keep them waiting on base for too long after she slapped a single down the third-base line, scoring two.
Clovis North broke the game open 7-2 but added two more after Elizabeth Moffitt kept the rally going. The Broncos were up 9-2 and it seemed inevitable they would take the victory, but the Cougars still had plenty left in the tank.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Clovis scored three runs to cut the deficit to 9-5.
Ashley Rocha singled to lead off the inning, followed by Brooke Brazill who singled as well. Like the Broncos, Clovis loaded the bases after Taylor Johnson was hit by a pitch.
Rocha scored the first run of the inning after a sac fly from Abigail McAvoy. Maddy Arnold followed with a two-run double to the left-field wall; Arnold drove in Brazill and Johnson.
The Cougars put three runners across to get back into the game and were gaining momentum, but errors in the field began to pile up.
In the top of the fifth, the Broncos loaded the bases once again. Consecutive errors allowed Clovis North to get on base, but freshman pitcher Lauryn Carranco was decisive in the inning, working around two errors and hit to strand all three runners.
Clovis had two errors in the inning and five total for the game.
Although up and down in the top half if the inning, the Cougars tried to cut the deficit just a bit more.
Sophomore Caitlin Decanio stepped up to the plate and launched a home run to center field, cutting the deficit to only three, 9-6.
The Cougars were fighting back, but a three-run top of the sixth inning by Clovis North dampened Clovis’ hope. Alyssa Orr tripled to open the top if the sixth inning, bringing her team and visiting supporters to their feet.
Her aggressiveness at the plate and her hustle on the base paths proved costly for the Cougars. Holly Lusk hit an infield single, followed by Mia Antonino who singled to left field, driving Orr home. The Broncos took a 10-6 lead and never looked back.
Morgan Moffitt kept the offense going for the Broncos after she reached on an infield single, loading the bases. Ochoa drove in the Broncos’ 11th run of the night after she grounded out, bringing Husk around to score.
Clovis North led 11-6 and added a sac fly from Everhart, before adding another run in the top of the seventh inning by Antonino to take the TRAC win.