Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan baseball tops Clovis

On this day, Kevin Kinder was a cleanup crusher disguised as a No. 9 hitter, Brent Etiz pulled a Stanford special and Seth Moranda won another after being a bit humbled.

It added up to a 10-2 rout for newly annointed No. 1 Buchanan High over No. 3 Clovis on Monday in a Tri-River Athletic Conference baseball game rescheduled after a rainout Friday.

Bears coach Tom Donald took advantage of the opportunity, calling Moranda's jersey No. 3 again after the sophomore won 4-1 at Clovis last Tuesday.

"It was a no-brainer; we made that decision Friday," Donald said. "We needed a win to win the series from Clovis."

In the TRAC, after a traditional round-robin first round, teams complete their 15-game schedules by playing each other back to back in one week. This prohibits a team from firing its ace for 14 innings (the limit is 10 per week) against another.

But Monday began a new week, so Donald turned to Moranda, who gave up three consecutive doubles for two runs in the second inning, collected himself and finished with a four-hitter while improving to 9-1 and seeing his ERA actually rise to 0.79.

Afterward, Donald made this clear: Moranda will not start in either game against Clovis East today and Friday.

"I want to be very careful with that 16-year-old arm," Donald said.

It was Kinder who blasted the door open in the third inning and Etiz who kept it there for the state's 10th-ranked Bears (20-4-1), who remained tied with Clovis West atop the TRAC at 9-2 with four games to go.

Down 2-0 against right-hander Evan Wolf -- pitching for the first time in five weeks after breaking his left hand -- the Bears scored six times in the third inning.

The rally began with Kinder's first-pitch home run off the center-field batter's eye. And it closed with Etiz's opposite-field, three-run homer to right in a 10-pitch at-bat that included five two-strike foul balls.

"I was kind of laughing," said Etiz, a Bee All-Star linebacker who will play football at Stanford. "I told the catcher, 'Even I'm getting tired of this at-bat.' I wasn't trying to do too much, then I ran into one."

In Kinder, Clovis (19-6) ran into a 3-for-3 lefty who no doubt would be a top-of-the-order hitter in many other programs.

"There are a lot of great guys on the team, and it gets really competitive to earn your spot," the senior said. "I'll do whatever it takes to win a Valley championship."

Related stories from Fresno Bee