Denis Perez / The Advocate
A forgettable season with a speckle of confidence and hope defined the Comet baseball season (6-34 overall, 6-15 Bay Valley Conference) in the 2019 season.
The team was plagued with defensive woes and a failure to score with runners on base.
The 2019 season began with the Comets losing the first 13 games of the season fueled by a lack of offensive production that resulted in being outscored 176-35.
Sophomore left fielder Mychael Jamison said he believed the team lacked focus on the defensive side of the ball when things would get difficult.
“I think our biggest flaw was defense,” Jamison said. “We would often sit back if our pitcher got behind in the count and that would lead to not being ready to handle the ball when it was put in play.”
Coach Brian Guinn cited what he felt was a lack of experience with younger players as the biggest weakness for the Comets this season.
Guinn said, “One of our weaknesses was that we had a young team and we just lacked the experience to be very consistent.”
The Comets were winless at the start of the BVC campaign but found the mental fortitude to try and start the season fresh.
Their first conference win for the team came March 7 against Los Medanos College. During the game, the team clearly found the workhorse of the 2019 rotation in Conner Rudy who pitched seven innings, striking out four batters.
Rudy led the Comets to a 6-3 victory as the team hoped to continue strong.
The win propelled the team to an opening series win which propelling them to victory in two of their next three games.
Inexperience eventually caused the squad to sputter out.
Success was short-lived for the 3-1 Comets with their second loss of the season coming on a 9-run ninth inning by Solano.
The Comets lost the next 11 games eventually leading to a 6-15 to finish the BVC season.
Guinn said, “In that fifth game of the conference play, we lost in the ninth inning, I think they lost a little confidence. When you’re young and lose confidence the wheels kind of come off.”
However, diminished confidence did not define the Comets as a team.
Jamison said, “I believe our strength this season was not getting down on each other or pointing the finger.”
“Our chemistry as a team was consistently great,” he said.
Team chemistry shined through the bleak season with the Comets keeping it interesting among themselves. Players used a competition for team hits leader as a way to remain competitive and focused.
This was true for center fielder Darius Foster who led the state of California in stolen bases with 38.
Team unity during a difficult season requires a willingness for those involved to see a mission through to the end in the midst of a losing battle.
Guinn said, “I think the chemistry of the team was great, guys battled till the game was over no matter what the score was.”
“They still continued to learn and be productive,” he said
The Comets are looking forward to next year and the opportunity for the eight freshman and returning players to use this experience as motivation.
Guinn said, “We should have more of a veteran team, we get the guys who red-shirted this past year that already have a year of experience under their belt. They’ll be back playing next year.”
“We were missing eight guys (this year) that were actually redshirts which would have helped us out tremendously.”
The coach said he hopes to focus on the team’s defensive development this off season as well having the younger players fully transitioned into college athletics.
“Defensively, I think they can get better. Some guys coming out of high school are used to playing seven innings and have to play a nine-inning game now. Also, there are three games a week instead of the two games per week in high school,” Guinn said.