Clovis News: Sports

Clovis High tops Clovis West in TRAC baseball

With the Tri-River Athletic Conference game on the line Friday -- and no doubt Central Section Division I baseball seeding considerations as well -- Clovis High junior shortstop Blake Lacey made a college-caliber, if not professional, play.

Ranging to his right, Lacey fielded Tyler Ferguson's ground ball and from deep in the hole threw out the Clovis West runner to close the Cougars' 3-2 victory in yet another intense game in the unrivaled league.

"I was thinking, 'We came this far, and it all comes down to this,' " said Lacey, who also hit a two-run homer.

"You can't shy down to pressure situations like that. It's either all or nothing and you can't be tentative."

Now the question: How much value will that defensive play and the win carry in the eyes of section commissioner Jim Crichlow and his seeding committee this morning in Porterville?

There's no question the TRAC will deliver the Division I top seed in Buchanan (26-2, 14-1), which is top-ranked in the section, state and in one national poll.

There's little question the TRAC will get four of the top five D-I seeds, including Central (23-5, 10-5), Clovis (22-8, 9-6) and Clovis West (18-10, 8-7).

But the burning question is whether the TRAC will land the top three seeds and drop Southwest Yosemite League co-champion Centennial (21-4, 13-2) to fourth.

While the Golden Hawks' record is impressive, the depth of the SWYL doesn't compare to the TRAC, which has gone 72-11 in nonleague play -- a collective mark believed to be unprecedented in state history.

Further, Centennial split with Bullard, a County/Metro Athletic Conference third-place finisher, which went 0-5 versus the TRAC. And the Hawks lost 9-8 Friday to D-II Frontier to finish tied with the Titans for the SWYL crown.

Tough call for the seeding committee, which will determine brackets for six divisions in both baseball and softball.

Playoffs will begin Tuesday for softball and Wednesday for baseball.

Said Clovis coach James Patrick: "How do we fall out? I don't know, it's just one of those years. Centennial has good athletes and is really good; they could win it all. But they don't get battle-tested like we all do in the TRAC."

And his son, Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick: "I think us and Clovis will be 4-5, with Centennial in the top three. If Centennial had won their league [outright] they might have gotten a 2."

Clovis -- which had dropped its first two TRAC games to Clovis West -- received a seven-hitter from senior left-hander Jimmy Jurado (8-2) and a tiebreaking leadoff home run from Ivan Perez in the seventh inning.

The Golden Eagles, runners-up to Buchanan for last year's D-I title, tied it, 2-2, on John Koretoff's opposite-field two-run homer in the fourth.