Clovis East hopes to return to TRAC contention by leaning on experience and building culture
With a solid group of core players returning, including a true ace in Tyler Parker, the Timberwolves will grind it out every time they take the field.
Head Coach: Ryan Smith
Record at School: 30-27 (3rd year)
Sr. Tyler Parker, LHP/1B
- 63.2 IP, 2.53 ERA, 54Ks
Sr. Giovanni Helmuth, RHP
- 23.2 IP, 42 Ks.
Sr. Elijah Acosta, RHP
- 14.1 IP, 14 Ks
Sr. Elias Mart, SS
- .284 batting average, 6 doubles, 8 stolen bases
Sr. AJ Hodgerney, OF
- .316 batting average, 8 RBI, 11 stolen bases
Sr. Josh Sue, C/1B
- .326 batting average, 5 doubles, 9 RBI
Matt Mathis, 3B/DH
- Hit .362 with 6 HRs and 18 RBIs.
Newcomers to watch:
Jr. Blake Bolton, 3B/RHP
Jr. Alex Haider, OF
Jr. Tomas Canales, RHP/1B
“Be the Standard” is a phrase that you’ll see everywhere while at a Clovis East baseball practice.
The Timberwolves come into 2020 a much more experienced team than they were a season ago when they went 11-17 overall and 3-12 in league and are hoping last year’s learning curve translates to more success.
Since taking over as head coach, Ryan Smith has instilled a toughness into his teams evidenced by the TWolves jumping up and biting the TRAC’s top teams over the last couple of seasons.
In his third year, Smith’s team will try and get back to their 2018 form—where they could challenge anyone on any given night.
Offense: The TWolves return a ton of offensive weapons from a season ago and will be a team whose main objective is to pressure the opposing defense. This is a coaching staff who will require their team to be well-rounded at situational hitting as well as be able to play the short-game when needed. Seniors AJ Hodgerney and Elias Mart are two of the team’s fastest players combining for 19 stolen bases last season. Hodgerney will give an honest at-bat each time and can be counted on to put the ball in play as he rarely strikes out. Josh Sue has shown the ability to hit for average and rack up extra base-hits at the varsity level. Tyler Parker will return for another year in the middle of the order. Heading into 2020, this offense returns over 30 stolen bases so look for the Timberwolves to put the run game in motion time and time again.
Defense: While much of last season the Timberwolves moved guys around the field, there were some who found a home at certain positions as the year went on. Notably, Elias Mart showed growth throughout last season and will bolster the infield at shortstop in 2020. Mart has as much range as anyone in the section and has a strong enough arm to throw people out from deep in the 6-hole. He earned “Breakout Year” honors in Clovis Sports Report’s Division I season preview. Tyler Parker has experience at first base when he isn’t pitching, but you could see Sue slide over for innings at 1B, too. Third base and second base are where the question marks are. Blake Bolton has impressed this winter at 2B with a big, physical frame and a plus arm. Senior Dom Jimenez will push to be a factor at third base. Hodgerney returns in the OF and speedster Alex Haider should grab one of the remaining spots. Coaches are excited about the amount of ground those two can cover when out there together.
Pitching: Left-handed senior Tyler Parker has over 100 innings pitched of varsity baseball and he’ll anchor a staff that has a high ceiling. Parker is poised to have his best season and he should see his ERA drop below 2.00. Giovanni “Gino” Helmuth will have the first chance to win the job as Clovis East’s #2. Helmuth has a mid-80s fastball to go along with a couple off-speed pitches that he’s worked to get more consistent in the offseason. The senior righty had 42 Ks in just 23.2 IP in 2019. Carson Leoni, Nick Frey, Dom Jimenez, and Tomas Canales will each see innings for the TWolves as well. In addition, Elijah Acosta has a loose arm and was effective coming in relief a season ago.
Bottom line: Clovis East will have the pitching to keep games within striking distance no matter who they play. Every unit on the team will be better than a season ago. The TRAC will once again be a gauntlet, but the Timberwolves have enough firepower to challenge for 18 wins and beat some top teams along the way.
Key non-league games:
2/11 home vs. Hanford
- First team to score a run wins if the pitching matchup is Tyler Parker vs. Juaron Watts-Brown.
2/13 at Memorial
- First chance for TWolves to introduce themselves as a potential contender.
2/20 at Bullard
- Playoff seeding implications here.