Prep baseball: Buchanan’s Wheeless in spotlight, but don’t ignore Clovis West’s Marco Pierce

Buchanan’s Jack Wheeless has pitched consecutive no-hitters against Clovis East and Central entering his Tuesday night start at Clovis West.

The buzz, naturally, surrounds Buchanan High’s Jack Wheeless as he opposes Clovis West Tuesday night after throwing consecutive no-hitters against Central and Clovis East.

The junior left-hander will arrive for the 6:30 p.m. Tri-River Athletic Conference game at Stan Bledsoe Field with a 9-0 record, 0.37 earned-run average and having pitched 15 2/3 innings without giving up a hit.

A one-out, sixth-inning single to Clovis’ McCarthy Tatum on April 3 was the last hit Wheeless has surrendered.

Fine, but don’t forget about the other guy.

It was almost a year ago to the day — April 24, 2012 — that Clovis West’s Marco Pierce exploded onto the scene by delivering four innings of perfect relief in a 4-3 win at Buchanan.

Pierce, who had pitched only seven innings before that game, struck out nine, including the last eight batters he faced.

Seven months later, he was signed a substantial scholarship to play for the University of Oregon.

And, Tuesday night, the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder will take the ball in what promises to be a pitch-for-pitch duel with Wheeless.

Clovis West pitcher Marco Pierce, who will oppose Wheeless, has signed with the University of Oregon.

Pierce is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA, and is 9-2 in two seasons, having struck out 91 with only 23 walks and 53 hits allowed in 72 1/3 innings.

The Golden Eagles’ cleanup batter is also hitting .338 this season with seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs

“Marco’s having a great year,” Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick says, “and everytime he goes out, it’s been in pressure situations. I know he’ll focus on what he can control (against Buchanan). Maybe the pressure will be on (Wheeless).

“Obviously, Buchanan is a great rival, and rightfully so. Our kids are excited. They are starting to play at a higher level and with more confidence.”

Read more →