Late inning collapse dooms squad

Baseball coach Marvin Webb (left) challenges a call the umpire made after third baseman Lumus Russell was apparently hit by a pitch, during CCC’s 7-4 loss to Mendocino College at the Baseball Field on Saturday.

By Jose Jimenez, Staff Writer

Eagle outfielder Tano Garza blasted a solo home run in the sixth inning and Mendocino College (7-7 overall and 3-0 in the Bay Valley Conference) scored three runs in the ninth to break a 4-4 tie beating the Comets 7-4 at the Baseball Field on Saturday.

Comet coach Marvin Webb said bullpen woes continue to be a challenge facing Contra Costa College (3-11 overall and 1-2 in the BVC)  early in the season and pitcher David Gustafson was not hitting his spots in those late innings on Saturday.

“We should’ve won today,” Webb said. “We’re up 4-2 after 7 (innings), but then we got into bad base running and very poor execution. We’ve got to execute when given the chance if we expect to win.”

The game fell apart for the team in the bottom of the seventh inning as Webb went to home plate to argue his case for Lumus Russell after the third baseman was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game without being awarded first base.

The umpire argued Russell did not do enough to get out of the way of the pitch. Russell’s numbers on his back were clearly facing the pitcher. Webb lost the argument.

Mendocino scored five runs total in the eighth and ninth innings. The significant difference in the game was that CCC left six runners stranded on base after totaling 11 hits throughout the game.

The Comets will have to find ways to get runners home when they take on Laney College Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Baseball Field.

In the ninth inning Eagle infielder Jason Hibbein scored on outfielder Cayetano Garza’s single, Nathan Gadsby followed with an RBI double and then infielder Nicholas Agliolo produced an RBI single.

Mendocino’s closer Zachary Visinoni came in for ninth inning and finished off the Comets.

“I think the biggest problem with us (the baseball team) right now is we hang around in games and we really don’t put our foot on the opponents’ necks when we get a lead,” Comet catcher Lawrence Duncan said. “We really don’t have that killer instinct on this team.”

Duncan said defensively everyone could do better overall.

“When we do get a lead or find ourselves down a run I feel like sometimes this Comet team is content with that,” he said. “We just can’t sit back individually and let the other team catch up.”

Duncan went 2-4 with an RBI and two other CCC players had a multi-hit game. However, lead off hitter and the Comet with the highest batting average, Timmion Hughes (.364), went 0-5.

Sophomore outfielder Kevin Spence scored twice early in the game, once after a triple in the fourth inning, but CCC failed to add more runs late in the game.

Comet starting pitcher Christian Sadler was solid again Saturday afternoon in muggy conditions, pitching 6⅓ innings with three strikeouts while facing 27 batters to help CCC hold a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning.

But the Comet bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

In his last three outings, Sadler has pitched more than six innings in each start and said the season is still “young” and he hopes he, and his Comet teammates, will improve.

He said the team can turn it around as well, and will have to in order to get back above .500 in the win-loss column.

“My teammates got over 10 hits today while I was out there on the mound and made good contact with the ball, but we just didn’t get enough runs,” he said.

Sadler said the Comets need to work on their defense.