Clovis News: Sports

Topoozian, Buchanan baseball stay hot in TRAC

For the second time in a week, Buchanan High and Dominic Topoozian have fired a message to the Tri-River Athletic Conference, the Central Section and beyond.

"I was impressed with them. As an opposing coach how could you not be?" Clovis coach James Patrick said after his Cougars – ranked third in the section and 17th in the state – were hammered 8-0 on the Bears' field.

This followed Buchanan's 7-1 win last Tuesday at Clovis West, which was ranked second in the section, ninth in the state and 18th and 22nd in national polls.

Topoozian didn't give up an earned run and struck out eight in that one against the Golden Eagles.

He would have watched teammate Seth Moranda pitch last Friday against Clovis, but rain pushed the game to Monday.

Then Bears coach Tom Donald, calculating a week in which his team will play three games – and above all, conscious of arm fatigue for two-time Bee All-Star Moranda, who also plays shortstop – turned back to Topoozian against Clovis: "He earned that start."

And the junior right-hander, pitching competitively for the first time in four years, validated the call with yet another gem.

Not a hard thrower but locating three pitches exceptionally, he twirled a six-hitter and struck out nine while improving to 5-0 with a 0.55 ERA.

"Any pitch, any time, any count," Bears pitching coach John Gross said. "He's really stepped it up."

Topoozian has company on a 12-1 team ranked third in the state and leading the TRAC with a 3-0 record.

The Bears made it look easy while beating a pitcher, Jimmy Jurado, who had been virtually unhittable.

The senior left-hander arrived 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA and having given up only seven hits – all singles – while striking out 45 in 24 1/3 innings.

His line Monday: 5 innings, 9 hits (6 doubles), 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts.

"We came out hungry," Buchanan right fielder Christian Parra said after going 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs. "We're all really close, all 30 guys. We're not afraid to be ourselves out there."

The Bears, who will host No. 7 Clovis West tonight before visiting No. 6 Clovis North on Friday night, established command against Jurado with a three-run third featuring doubles by Jeff Brown, Pat Sylvia and sophomore Kody Batesole, and Austin Kemp's RBI single.

Donald has won three section titles in six years, but has he been more pleased?

"These guys have checked their egos at the door, they really have. It's very discernible with this club."

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