Bullard picked up its second victory over a TRAC baseball team in a week, defeating Clovis North on Tuesday, 9-0.
The Knights have played a three-game stretch against TRAC opponents, starting last Thursday when they beat state-ranked No. 3 Buchanan, 4-3, at Mike Noakes Field. Bullard tied Clovis West, 2-2, in a nine-inning affair last Saturday before traveling to Chukchansi Park Tuesday to face the Broncos.
In the first baseball game played at “The Chuk” in over 18 months, Bullard head coach Tom Donald allowed his players to soak up the professional ballpark experience.
“There was a lot of excitement in our dugout to be able to play at such a nice facility,” Donald said. “We got to hit batting practice on a big, Triple-A-level field. It was a great experience for our kids.”
For the Knights, the hits did not stop in batting practice.
Bullard broke onto the scoreboard with a five-run third inning. It started with Cam Schneider, who reached base on a one-out error. The sophomore Knight stole second base and scored on Brady Zavorek’s RBI single.
Bullard loaded the bases for senior Travis Preston, who hit a sacrifice fly to score the Knights’ second run.
Bullard’s next batter Michael Collins lined a two-run triple into deep center field. After a walk to put baserunners on the corners, Collins stole home on a delayed double steal pulled off successfully.
That ended Clovis North starter Ryan Vance’s afternoon. Bullard took a 5-0 lead by the middle of the third inning.
Clovis North stranded a runner in the third and fourth inning, but its closest chance to scoring came in the fifth.
Bullard starter Cam Cunnings was lifted after walking Clovis North’s Nick Shows with one out. Preston came in to pitch and allowed a hit to Cole Fellows and walked Rees Kent, loading the bases.
But Preston struck out back-to-back Clovis North batters to end the scoring threat. It kept Cunnings’ final pitching line scoreless as well — the senior right-hander threw 4.1 innings, allowing a single hit while striking out seven.
Bullard added three more runs in the top of the fifth, all on two-out RBI hits. Collins hit his second RBI triple, and Edgar Gastelum and Matthew Montoya chipped in RBI singles.
“I think the biggest difference was two-out RBIs,” Donald said. “I think we had four or five today, and those are back-breakers. I’m really proud of the kids for how they grinded in those events.”
Gastelum drove in Bullard’s final run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly, as the Knights improved to 6-1-1 on the season.
That record, along with early season wins against two traditionally strong TRAC baseball programs in Buchanan and Clovis North, has revealed Bullard as a contender for the Central Section title this year.
“I don’t think that we’re going to sneak up on people anymore,” Donald said. “I don’t think people will overlook us, which is what we want. That’s why we practice hard every day, so that we can be relevant in the conversation with the top teams in the Valley.”
Clovis High takes down Fresno
A four-run first inning propelled Clovis to a 10-2 win over Fresno High on Tuesday. Eli Henderson hit an RBI double, Mick Backowski lined a two-run triple and Brady McAvoy drove in another run on a sacrifice fly to give the Cougars an early 4-0 lead.
Clovis scored a run in the second and four more in the third, building a 9-2 lead over the Warriors after three innings.
Cougars starting pitcher Adan Gonzalez allowed two earned runs on four hits through four innings. The senior righty also struck out a pair.
Henderson and Logan Sumter each finished the game hitting 3-for-3. Henderson had two RBIs, while Sumter went around the bases to score three times.
Clovis (6-2) plays at El Diamante on Thursday.
Buchanan dismantles Redwood
Max Bernal performed for the Bears at the plate and on the mound Tuesday, as Buchanan routed Redwood, 12-2.
Bernal picked up the win after pitching four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. The junior also hit 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs. It’s the third straight game where Bernal has driven in multiple RBIs.
Austin Young, Jett Ruby and JP Acosta also picked up RBIs on Tuesday.
Buchanan (8-1) hosts Tulare Union on Thursday.
Central overwhelms Tulare Union
Dean McCurley tossed five no-hit innings on the mound, guiding the Grizzlies to a 10-0 win over Tulare Union on Tuesday.
McCurley had a big swing at the plate too, hitting a bases-clearing triple.
Dallan Alles also hit a triple and drove in three RBIs as well. Andrew Perales was the final member of Central’s triple party, lining a three-bagger on Tuesday and driving in an RBI.
Central (4-4) travels to play Hanford for its next game on Thursday.
Clovis West topples Madera
Clovis West junior Kaleb Latimer continued to get hot at the plate Tuesday, homering for the second straight game. His 4 RBIs helped the Golden Eagles top Madera, 12-3.
With that win, head coach Kevin Patrick has picked up career win No. 350, according to the Clovis Sports Report’s Austin Kemp.