Winless season filled with torment

Success, standards shift with younger squad


Qing Huang / The Advocate

Comet assistant coach Claire Scott hypes up shortstop Angelica Espinal after she was safe at first base during CCC’s 17-4 loss to the Falcons at Solano Community College on March 12.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

In team sports, where winning is everything, it is nearly an impossible task for a unit to find a glimmer of hope to cling to en route to finishing the season 0-27 overall and 0-17 in the Bay Valley Conference.

Only five players on the roster had ever played competitive softball before the season and were forced to do so out of their usual position for the entire season. From day one everyone involved could see that the 2014 campaign was going to be a difficult one.

“Despite everything, I hope everyone looks at the bigger picture, especially because we have a lot of newer girls, in general,” Comet softball coach Karolyn Gubbine said. “I hope that they did have fun and can find something to take away from the experience.”

For the first half of the season there was no such thing as a routine fly ball. The outfield was littered with missed opportunities to get out of innings, which resulted in all of the games being called by the fifth inning.

Some of the players were totally out of sorts when stepping on to the field, but as practices progressed some of the first-time players began to show signs of improvement.

“In the beginning everyone was separated, but as the season progressed we got to know each other and we started to get better,” Comet outfielder Stacy Fernandes said.

Only one player from the previous season returned to the squad but missed a large swath of conference play due to injury.

Despite the rocky season, the team did progress over the course of its 27-game losing streak.

However, the team’s progression was not reflected in the win column or on the scoreboard.

Only one player, catcher Gina Balan hit for an average over .200 and only shortstop Angelica Espinal and pitcher Cicily Ragsdale had hit totals above single digits.

“At the beginning of the season it was pretty ugly,” Balan said “But every day was dedicated to the team and finishing what we started.”

Ragsdale won second team All-BVC honors for her determination on the mound, pitching in every one of the Comet defeats, sometimes starting both games of afternoon doubleheaders.

Before this season Ragsdale was an outfielder and had not been on the mound since Little League.

With a team full of new players and the rest playing in new spots, the mistakes came early and often for the team.

Coach Gubbine put the turbulent season in perspective for the handful of experienced players that suffered through losing to this extent.

“For players that have been on teams before and had more success, like Cicily and Jelly (Espinal), I think being a player like that coming to a team like this, the biggest thing to take away is learning the game from every perspective on the field.  It is something they might not get to learn playing for a more established program,” Gubbine said. “Like Cis (Ragsdale) pitching this year. She may not recognize it now, but down the road it’s something to be appreciated.”

The softball team averaged roughly five errors per game and finished the season with a whopping 136 errors.

CCC averaged about a run per game, scoring 29 runs in 27 contests. The team started better statistically than it finished, scoring 14 runs in eight games in February, then going on to put up just 13 runs in 12 games in March.

The team closed out its season in April scoring an abysmal two runs in the final seven games of the spring.