Clovis News: Sports

Golden Eagles win baseball semifinal

Clovis West High hung a six-spot on Clovis in the first inning, then was silenced by Zach Coy.

Golden Eagles pitcher Sean Silva had his pitching arm drilled by an Evan Wolf line drive in the second.

The Cougars scored four in the sixth.

Then the second-seeded Golden Eagles, in outright survival mode, turned to a junior who was sixth on the staff in innings pitched.

And Eric Karch came through, recording outs with five of the final six batters he faced as Clovis West repelled Clovis 6-4 Wednesday night in a Central Section Division I semifinal before a standing-room-only crowd of about 2,000 at Stan Bledsoe Field.

"We jumped on them early and it was a good thing because Coy got in a nice rhythm toward the end of the game," Eagles coach Kevin Patrick said.

"I'll be honest, we really swung the bats well in our last game [in a 9-0 quarterfinal win over Central], and we've been swinging well in practice. All year, we kind of felt it would just be a matter of time and, hopefully, we're getting hot at the right time."

J.D. Salles, really, has never cooled.

And it's the Eagles' Fresno State-bound senior who will remain at home to oppose defending champion Stockdale (25-5) Friday in the D-I title game.

Clovis West is seeking only its second title in school history. The first occurred in 2004.

"I'm ready, I've been waiting a long time for this one," Salles said.

The starting time hasn't been determined, but there's no question who gets the ball from Patrick.

Said the coach: "I wouldn't want anybody else out there."

His father, Clovis coach James Patrick, likewise, had to feel pretty good about sending senior left-hander Coy out to the mound Wednesday night.

Coy arrived with an 11-2 record, but never had he experienced an inning like the first.

But he was struck by misfortune.

Following leadoff walk to Salles, a strikeout and a flyout, Coy appeared to escape when Jared Lee hit a routine grounder toward second baseman Dalton Dupree. But the ball took a bad hop and sailed over his right shoulder, scoring Salles.

In no time, it was 6-0 Eagles as Silva doubled off the right-center field wall to drive in a run, Karch singled in another, Tommy Rowan singled, Connor Williams singled and No. 9-hitting Joe Smith drove in the final two with a single.

The following inning, Silva (11-2) had his forearm purpled by the shot from Wolf.

Karch, who only 151/3 innings in his back pocket, entered and gave up a bases-loaded walk to Jordan Yost and a two-run single to Cody White, before calming himself.

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