No. 1 threw up a whole lotta zeroes against No. 2 on Saturday afternoon.
Ben Schoneman and Hunter Boyden combined for 13 outstanding innings as top-ranked La Cueva’s pitching hamstrung No. 2 Clovis’ offense nearly the entire day as the Bears clinched the District 2-6A baseball championship with a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Wildcats.
La Cueva won the opener 2-1, and then rolled 7-0 in the second game.
“That’s one thing that (our pitchers) have always done, and that’s step up,” said Bears senior shortstop Jack Pineda. “And that’s the way this team works. Our hitters have our pitchers’ backs, and our pitchers have our hitters’ backs.”
La Cueva (22-2, 10-0) will carry a 22-game winning streak into the postseason and should be Class 6A’s No. 1 seed when the brackets are announced this afternoon.
Clovis (21-5, 8-2) came into Albuquerque having given up just one run in its last 57 1/3 innings, with shutouts in seven of its eight district wins.
And the Wildcats touched Schoneman for a run in the first inning of Game 1, and were still leading 1-0 into the fourth.
There, La Cueva’s No. 9 hitter, Ryan Ramos, tied the game with an RBI single over a drawn-in infield, scoring Hunter Straub. La Cueva had two other runners thrown out at home plate in the fourth.
In the fifth, Ryan Johnson scored Austin Schlagel – who had been hit by the first pitch of the inning by Clovis starter Connor Langrell – from first base for the go-ahead run on a double to deep center that was slightly misplayed by Clovis.
“Fortunately,” Johnson said, “he misread it.”
Schoneman (6-1), meanwhile, gained strength as the game lengthened. He had one strikeout through five innings, then struck out five of the final six batters he faced.
“I just felt more confident in my pitches,” Schoneman said, “and I had a little more emotion out there.”
Said La Cueva coach Gerard Pineda: “Ben is a real gamer and competitor. He pitched his tail off and we needed it.”
In Game 2, Boyden (9-0) no-hit Clovis for the first 42/3 innings before giving up a chop infield single to deep short.
Leading 2-0, La Cueva blew open the second game with four runs in the fourth as first Jack Pineda, and then Johnson two batters later, delivered two-run singles, both up the middle.
“They’ve got a good pitching staff, just like we do,” Clovis coach Richard Cruce said. “We just couldn’t string (anything) together.”
Also in 2-6A Saturday, Manzano split two games with Sandia. Mitchell Parker threw a one-hitter and struck out 15 in the opener, a 5-1 Monarchs victory, while Sandia staged a late rally to take the second game 6-5.
With Eldorado’s sweep Saturday of Santa Fe, the Eagles, Sandia and Manzano all tied for third place with 4-6 records. For tie-breaking purposes, Eldorado is third, Manzano fourth (all but guaranteeing the Monarchs and Parker will get to the playoffs) and Sandia fifth.
Sandia all but cemented the 2-6A title Saturday.
The Matadors were beaten 4-2 in Game 1 by Manzano, and the Monarchs were leading the second game of their doubleheader 12-11 in the top of the seventh inning.
But Sandia scored three in its final at-bat to win 14-12.