Vikings beat home team, sweep series

DVC hands baseball team consecutive defeats in rivalry game

By Jason Sykes, Staff Writer

The Comets (4-6 overall) lost the second game of a two-game series 6-2 against Diablo Valley College Saturday at the Baseball Field.

Throughout the game Contra Costa College was not able to muster enough runs to offset the deficit it faced. The Vikings’ (8-4 overall) rally in the third inning culminated with an RBI double by designated hitter John Anthon brought in two runs for the visiting team.

The Comets caught some unfortunate breaks during the game.

During the second inning a throw to home plate from centerfielder Bryce Hutchings was interrupted when the ball hit a short hop and clipped the pitcher’s mound changing the direction of its path.

This was only the beginning of bad breaks the Comets would get throughout the game.

Later, a Comet rally was stopped short due to a pop out and a runner being thrown out at third base. The Vikings caught on to starting pitcher Joseph Banks’ (0-1) pitching style early rallying to score four runs in the third inning. Banks saw an early mound visit from his coach to gain his composure and refocus.

Banks said, “I was thrown off. I have to stay focused.”

The pitcher would regain his composure and managed to get three quick outs in the next inning.

After a few scoreless innings between the two teams it was clear that the Comets had found a way to contain the DVC bats. Each time it would seem like DVC was starting a rally coach Brian Guinn would come out to the mound and calm the team down.

Guinn said, “I see the momentum changing and I slow everything down. It’s like basketball when you have to call a time out.”

In the eighth inning the Comets bats began to come alive.

After DVC gave up two walks early in the inning and the DVC first baseman committed a fielding error, the Comets found themselves in a good position to score several runs with just one out. A sacrifice fly that looked as if it was going to be trouble for the Viking outfielder was caught and the Comets were only able to get one run on the play.

A ground out to the shortstop would halt the CCC rally. The Comet hitters struggled for the most part, but they were able to find sporadic success in some moments.

Many times when CCC had runners in scoring position they failed to put the ball in play,

CCC stranded seven men on base.

“Strikeouts kill the momentum,” right fielder Evan Ray said.

The Comets ended the game with 10 strikeouts and a total of four hits.

Although the CCC bats were struggling they did not let the game get away from them. On the first play of the seventh inning a DVC batter hit a line drive ball heading toward the right-field foul line. Right fielder Evan Ray got a good jump on the ball and made a diving catch for the first out of the inning.

”I just put my head down. I knew I was going to get there the whole time. I just wasn’t sure if I would have to dive or not,” Ray said.  

The Comets would get out of that inning without allowing any runs.

In the ninth inning CCC found itself in another jam allowing a lead off walk and a single to put two runners on base with no outs. A DVC batter laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to move its base runners into scoring position.

CCC countered that move by walking the next batter to load the bases to keep the double play in order, but the strategy did not pay off and DVC scored one run after moving the runners with a single.

The final pitching change came at a crucial time. Coach Guinn brought in his closer James Hodgson. Hodgson was able to get a ground ball that produced a double play getting the Comets out of what could have a disastrous ninth inning.

CCC goes into Bay Valley Conference play Thursday, hosting Napa Valley College at 2 p.m., on a two-game losing streak.

But the team is in a better place than it was this time one year ago. Last season CCC won four conference games and only six games overall.