After a brief three-game winning streak, the Comets have been finding wins difficult to come by, and that trend continued Thursday afternoon in San Pablo when they were defeated by Napa Valley College with a final score of 12-7.
“That’s just how baseball is, sometimes the cookie just crumbles like that,” said Comets catcher William Robison.
From the start, players, coaches, and fans alike were bundling up due to the heavy winds whipping through the field and stands. The pine trees just beyond the outfield fence could be seen swaying back and forth, players’ jerseys were consistently rippling violently, and one relief pitcher had his hat fly off when he was running out to warm up.
Throughout the game, Comets batters repeatedly made solid contact only to hit the ball directly to Napa Valley College defenders or have them make spectacular plays.
“I can recall probably five line drives of ours right at somebody on their team” said Comets head coach Brian Guinn.
Napa Valley College quickly jumped out in front in the first inning but were held to just one run when Comets starting pitcher Chun Hao Lin induced a double play ball to work out of trouble.
In the top of the third inning, Napa Valley College scored three more runs on three singles and a double to go along with a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-0.
“A lot of their (Napa Valley College) hits blooped in, but you have to give them credit because they swung the bats pretty well,” noted Guinn.
The Napa Valley College bats stayed hot in the top half of the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk, they piled on two more doubles that bounced high off the left field wall and made the score 5-0. Making the score 8-0 in the same inning was Napa Valley College player AJ McMahon, who hit a three-run shot that bounced off the scoreboard in right field.
Following the home run was a controversial play in which Napa Valley College player Wyatt Dorman hit a ball that dropped very close to the foul line. Dorman ended up being credited with a triple and was singled in by Tyler Crudo to make the score 9-0.
“It looked foul to me, and I was standing in line with the foul pole, but the line is hard to see when the sun is setting,” said Guinn.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Comets defense turned their fourth double play of the game- which collectively kept the score from getting further out of reach.
After two Comets hitters were consecutively hit by pitches in the seventh inning, the next two batters reached first base on balls, walking in a run. Rahmel Hinkle then cleared the bases with a triple before William Robison lined a double that plated another run, making the score 9-6.
“We fought, battled back, and proved that we can score five runs in one inning,” said Comets player Keith Whitaker. Robison added, “We just have to start that sooner.”
After holding the Storm to their first inning without a baserunner in the eighth, then getting a leadoff single themselves, the Comets momentum fizzled, and the score remained the same heading into the final frame.
The Storm would then gain three insurance runs in the ninth inning and all but crush any hopes of a Comets comeback. Although, the Comets didn’t go down without trying: they scored one more run and their final hitter, Hiram Aviles, lasted roughly five minutes at the plate as he fouled off pitch after pitch.
“They battled until the last out,” said Guinn.
“I think we can bounce back. I know we’re a good team, we just have to keep fighting,” added Whitaker.
Following Thursday’s game, the Comets traveled to Napa to complete the three-game series with the Storm, where they lost 13-10 yesterday.
The Comets pitching is becoming a concern for the team, as they haven’t been able to hold an opponent under double-digit scores during the six-game losing streak.
“They just need to hit their spots and let the defense play, but a lot of their pitches on the corners have been dropping in for hits too,” said Robison.
Contra Costa College now sits at the bottom of the Bay Valley Conference standings in eighth place with an overall record of 3-22. The Comets are yet to win a conference game in their first five attempts.
“We have to forget about the past and have a short memory,” said Comets player Ivory Jones.
Forging ahead, the Comets begin a series at Solano College on Tuesday, March 29. The Solano College squad currently holds an overall record of 5-16 and are 2-3 in Bay Valley conference play.
The Comets will be looking to secure their first victory on the road this season after losing their first eleven games away from home.
“They’re going to have good days and bad days. As long as they give one hundred percent effort, I’m happy with them,” said Guinn.