Comets preserve series sweep against Eagles

Baseball team escapes with road win, shut out Laney College at home

Qing Huang / The Advocate

By Jose Jimenez, Staff Writer

For the first time this season the elation of victory in consecutive games was felt by the Contra Costa College baseball team Saturday afternoon at Laney College after the Comets swept the Eagles in a two-game series Thursday and Saturday.

The Comets shut out the Eagles 6-0 on Thursday and followed that with a big 4-3 win Saturday, allowing them to get back to .500 (3-3) in Bay Valley Conference play. The team is 5-12 overall.

The Eagles (8-10 overall, 0-7 in the BVC) came into the series on a five-game losing streak and fell to the Comets on Thursday, primarily due to a stout pitching performance by CCC starting pitcher Christian Sadler. They followed up with the Saturday win on an decent outing by starting pitcher Allen Ressler, CCC baseball coach Marvin Webb said.

Webb said the ballclub is playing well right now after its sweep of the Eagles, “especially on defense.”

“Today was a big win. We did not want to be the team (the Eagles) won against,” Webb said. “We’re playing pretty solid baseball right now and we just have to keep it going.”

The Comets have won three of their last five BVC games. Their next game is against College of Marin (9-6-1 overall, 3-1 in the BVC) on the Baseball Field on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Referring to the first game against Laney, he said, “The double plays were big for us today. They got us out of innings and allowed our pitchers to hit their spots the entire series.” CCC’s defense turned four double plays in the 6-0 win.

CCC turned four double plays, stole six bases and continued to pick up hits at the top of the batting order, including those by outfielder Timmion Hughes, who raised his batting average to a team leading .393 after the Laney games.

After going 2-4 with two stolen bases on Thursday, Hughes picked up three more hits on Saturday and stole two more bases, giving him 14 thefts for the season — good enough to lead the BVC.

“I’ve just been staying more relaxed and focused in the box and trying to get good at bats,” Hughes said. “I’m not trying to get myself out on the first pitch anymore, (instead) trying to get deep into the count. I’m looking for fastballs and getting good jumps on my stolen bases.”

Hughes said the team is putting wins together at a great time in the season but it has to keep the momentum rolling if the Comets want to earn a playoff berth.

Webb said the pitching was solid the entire series. Sadler and Ressler combined to pitch 13 innings, seven and six, in their respective games. They gave up eight hits and two earned runs in the two-game set.

For the season Sadler is now 1-3, lowering his ERA to 3.00 on Thursday.

Ressler is now 2-3, picking up his second win of the year on Saturday afternoon in hot weather conditions in Oakland.

Comet catcher Alex Melendez said, “Sadler has been getting off and he will rest up before he pitches against Marin to keep this winning streak going.

“We’ve also gained a lot of confidence in the lineup with our new DH Evan Ray.”

In the series, CCC’s one through three hitters set up the opportunity for opposing teams to feel the presence of the Ray, who has just recently been used in the lineup. Infielder Lumus Russell said Ray, and everybody, battled hard Saturday afternoon.

Russell said even the little things, like walks by third baseman Jared Borunda batting second in the order, helps put opposing pitchers in the stretch, accumulate a high pitch count and tire opposing pitchers.

“It was just a complete team victory and complete team effort this entire two-game series against Laney,” he said. “We came out a little slow Saturday compared to Thursday, but everyone fought (it off). Laney is a good team but we were just hungrier,” he said. “It was a complete series win.”

After Thursday’s 6-0 victory and Sadler’s seven inning, six strikeout and zero earned run performance, Ressler had something to prove. So he went out and earned his second win of the season, leading CCC to its first series win of the year.

The bullpen, led by closer Antonio Straughter and reliever David Gustafson, preserved CCC’s victories over Laney, a team that started the season hot, with an 8-3 record, but has since lost seven in a row.

The teams combined for six errors on Saturday, including two costly back-to-back errors by Comet outfielder Rome Watson in the fifth inning that helped Laney gain a 2-1 lead.

But no error was bigger in the game than when Eagle shortstop Brennan Mauchline missed a routine grounder in the seventh that started a three-run inning for the Comets, setting up an intense ninth inning where they successfully held the lead to win the game.