Clovis News: Sports

Valley ball diamonds will be busy this week

Easter break action on high school diamonds shoves into top gear today with the Fresno Easter Classic and Selma Greater Kiwanis baseball tournaments joining five ongoing events in baseball and softball in Fresno and Tulare counties.

Baseball tournaments at Fowler and the Visalia/Tulare Invitational, along with softball events at Buchanan, Fowler and Kerman enter their second days today.

Championships will be played Tuesday in the Fowler baseball and softball tournaments and in softball at Kerman. All other finals are set for Wednesday.

Forecasts for the three days call for pleasant, mid-70s temperatures, easing the concerns of tournament directors who have followed one of the wettest rain seasons on record in the area.

Clovis West's baseball team, meanwhile, will step out of its normal presence in the Fresno Easter Classic and leap into the 16-team National Classic, which will be played today through Thursday on four diamonds in Orange County.

The 13-5 Golden Eagles, ranked fifth by The Bee in the Central Section and once ranked both in the state and national polls this season, will open against the state's seventh-ranked Chatsworth at 1 p.m. at Esperanza High. The invitation-only event has drawn 12 top teams from the state in addition to one each from Florida, Arizona, Tennessee and Utah.

Meanwhile, the Fresno Easter Classic – also one of the state's premier baseball tournaments – will launch its 42nd version with its largest (36 teams) and quite possibly strongest field yet.

It includes three teams ranked in the state in No. 2 Buchanan (17-2), No. 10 Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove (12-2) and No. 19 Franklin-Elk Grove (11-2); eight teams ranked in The Bee's top 10; 12 20-game winners from last season; and schools representing 17 of the past 18 section Division I champions.

Today's seven night games at 7 p.m. will feature section 2008-09 D-I titlist Stockdale at Classic and D-I defending champion Buchanan; Franklin at The Bee's No. 4 Clovis; and No. 3 Centennial at No. 7 Clovis North.

The Classic championship will be Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Clovis West.