Comets fail to build momentum


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Comet second baseman Bryan Perez slides into home and was tagged out during Contra Costa College’s 5-4 win against Mendocino College at Comet Baseball Field on April 19.

By Joel Umanzor, Sports Editor

An extra inning contest, in a rather forgettable season, always requires a gut check for both teams.

When the infield dust settled in their final regular season home game April 19, the Comets found themselves winning 5-4 after a 13-inning battle against Mendocino College (16-19 overall and 10-11 in the BVC) was ended on a walk-off bunt.

Starting pitcher Dean Jones (6 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs) understood how important it was for the Comets to get the last regular season win on their home field.

Jones said, “It (the victory) was big. It is only the fourth home victory and the last game of the season before our (consolation) tournament.”

The Comets lost all three of their consolation games in the tournament, April 23-25, to finish the season (6-34 overall and 6-15 in the Bay Valley Conference). Consistent starting pitching is what the Comets have been lacking all season and posted a bottom-five state-ranked team ERA of 9.49.

However, in the final home game of the season, CCC hammered out a win behind a solid effort from Jones. Surprisingly, he got run support coming from a lineup that featured various position changes due to a grueling five-game stretch played at seasons end.

Catcher Rito Gomez and right fielder Josh Hamilton, who were called upon by coach Brian Guinn to start, were instrumental in producing three of the Comets five runs on the day.

Guinn said, “I tell them to be ready all the time because you never know what is going to happen. I try to get them an opportunity to get into some games and get their feet wet — develop some confidence.”

Hamilton said this mentality of always being ready is something that you have to master when playing a team sport.

He said, “You never know when you’re going to get in so every time you step into it you just have to be hungry.”

Although the Comets went into the 9th inning leading 4-3, Karon Casey (2 IP, 1 H, 1 R) gave up a double to the Eagle lead-off batter Haden Keller.

The hit, which nudged Guinn toward bringing in closer Mark Jones (1 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs) to navigate the inning. Jones promptly gave up a double allowing a run to score tying the game at four runs each. The damage was limited to just that run as shortstop Ike Brown turned a double play to end the inning.

Brown, the everyday first baseman, was especially excited to get time in between second and third. He considers shortstop his natural position.

Brown said, “When I first came here out of high school, that was where I would play so it was surprising when coach said, ‘All right go to short’ I was like, ‘It’s over’.”

Regarding the double play, Brown said, “I was ready for it, I knew it was coming.”

Guinn had full confidence in Brown moving over and wanted to let him know that while delivering him the news of the position change.

Guinn said, “He just looked at me and smiled. I just told him to go out there and catch the ball.”

Turning that double play allowed the Comets to work in the bottom half of the ninth inning from a tie rather than from a deficit.

With the Comets lacking bullpen stability, the team turned to infielder Lucas Abbas (4 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs) to pitch into the extra innings.

Abbas pitched with control through four innings while allowing the Comet offense a chance to get in rhythm against Eagle relief pitching. The final rally of the game came after catcher Rito Gomez drew a lead-off walk and was moved to third base through two consecutive infield ground outs by outfielders Darius Foster and Hamilton in the 13th inning.

Left fielder Mychael Jamison came up to the plate following a defensive shift that left Mendocino open for attack.

Jamison placed a textbook bunt down the third base line allowing Gomez a clear path to a Comet victory.