Gladiators uncover Comets’ limitations

By Dylan Collier, Staff Writer

HAYWARD — The softball team was outscored by 48-5 during a difficult doubleheader on Feb. 11 at Chabot College.

Contra Costa College (0-2 overall) softball coach Karolyn Gubbine was supportive of her team throughout both games (30-5, 18-0 respectively) that ended in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.

In softball, if one team is ahead by 10 or more runs, the game after five innings instead of  going the full seven innings.  

After the first game it was clear that the Comets’ defense needed work. In the second inning, starting pitcher Anna Palter gave up a grand slam that was absolutely powdered over the left side of the center field fence. The Comet outfielders lacked speed and it became apparent when the left outfielder dropped a pop fly.  

While CCC had nine errors by the end of the first game, it cut that total in half during the second game.

During the second inning of the first game the Comets gave up a three-run knock — Chabot’s second home run of the inning. The Gladiators scored seven runs with two swings of the bat. The Comets gave up 16 runs, seven hits, seven RBIs and committed seven errors in that inning alone.      

Despite Chabot being an offensive powerhouse averaging at least 12 runs per game, the Comets had opportunities to make routine outs in the outfield.

Left fielder Nancy Bernal and center fielder Amy Polomares combined to tally five errors in the first game to only fuel Chabot’s heavy hitting lineup.

“It’s not only my first year playing for (the college),” Bernal said. “It’s my first year playing softball in general. I just try to hustle each time, but I’m new to softball so I’m still learning.”

In the forth inning it was as if the baseball gods momentarily strengthened Palter’s arm to help persevere the score and get out of the inning.

Although she gave up five runs, she dug her cleats into the dirt and retired Gladiators Amanda Coley, Melissa Jauriqui and Ashley Tarango in that order.  

“When on the mound I was really trying to focus on the moment and not let any past mistakes get to me,” Palter said. “I think a lot of (my teammates) were being hard on themselves so I just wanted to show them that no matter what the score is we’ll fight to the end.

“No matter what position you’re playing you should still bring the same intensity, leadership and focus to the game.”

Even though the Comets had a tough day against an undefeated team, Palter proved herself as a worthy leader on the field playing as pitcher and center fielder in the first game and then as shortstop during second.

“We had a strong presence managing our pitchers on the mound, and the leadership within our circle,” Gubbine said.

She shifted her players to different defensive positions during the second game and the Comets’ fielding improved. Her changes are reflected by the closer score gap compared to the first game.

Although there were a few more errors in the outfield, the Comets began getting their gloves on the ball more than in the first game. 

Gubbine rotated between three pitchers throughout the second game. In the bottom of the fourth inning the Comets brought on their closing pitcher Sidney Davis.  

Davis fired in strike after strike and only allowed four batters to step up to the plate. The notable differences were how she commanded the mound and the speed of her fastball.  

Gubbine said her coaching style is strictly developmental and she aims to help her players continue to improve as the season progresses.

“I do the best with what we have. I believe everybody is able to learn softball no matter what kind of experience they have,” she said. “I’m excited for this year, and we’ll just keep throwing everybody into the groove so we can excel and move forward.”

The Comets are scheduled to play Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill on March 8. The first pitch of the upcoming doubleheader will be thrown at 1p.m.