Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West on TRAC for baseball title

All that malfunctioned for Clovis West High on Friday night was its scoreboard at Stan Bledsoe Field.

That aside, the Golden Eagles did what you're supposed to when top-ranked in the nation -- everything well and by virtually every player in the lineup -- while advancing to the threshold of the Tri-River Athletic Conference title with a 5-2 win over Clovis East.

Michael Isom, a senior one year removed from the junior varsity, improved to 6-1 with a seven-hitter, Jake Alvarez continued to stoke the offense from atop the order and third baseman John Koretoff delivered three RBIs and the defensive play of the game as Clovis West won its 12th straight in a 23-2 season.

The Eagles, anointed No. 1 nationally by Baseball America this week, are also 10-1 in the TRAC, leading Buchanan by three games with four to go.

"The ranking is nice but we're just worried about the league first," said Alvarez, a senior second baseman, who singled and scored in a two-run first, and walked and scored in the third.

Following brothers Chris and Zack Alvarez on Clovis West teams that won the baseball program's only Central Section title in 2004 and placed second to Buchanan in 2005 and '06, he is hitting .386 with 26 runs.

"He makes the offense go for us," Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick said. "He's a guy who's kind of under the radar right now but I think he's opening some eyes from colleges."

Zapped by all radars are the Eagles -- also top-ranked in the Central Section by The Bee and No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.

Coming off a school-record 28-win season, they drew substantial preseason attention and they've justified it with a deep pool of talent mixed in experience.

"The thing that makes this team different from previous teams is there's more a collective effort," said Patrick, who started three juniors and two sophomores Friday after starting four juniors and three sophomores Tuesday in a 2-0 win at Clovis East.

But a senior coming through big in an improbable No. 2 starting pitcher role is Isom.

"I saw myself just as a guy who would get some innings, never as a No. 2 starter," said the right-hander, who teams with Eric Karch (8-0) in the rotation.

Clovis West can clinch at least a TRAC title tie with a win Tuesday at Madera, where Patrick came from before launching an Eagles career that now stands at 74-16.