Comets split doubleheader to break losing skid

Baseball team loses, rebounds to beat Laney College in Oakland

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The Comets made use of the parting of storm clouds by reversing a three- game losing skid, dropping the first bout 3-2 then stealing the second 4-3 in a two-game series against Laney College on Saturday in Oakland.

After losing the first game of the afternoon, the Comet bats came alive in the second. In the closing innings, the team scored four runs on two singles followed by a triple by second baseman John Velasco (3 for 8 with one RBI for the series) cementing the contest for CCC.

The early 11:15 a.m. game one starting time used to beat the impending rain left both offenses as groggy as the players standing on the rain soaked turf.

“It was 0-0 (for awhile). We were on the same field at the same time. I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We just didn’t get it done, but the guys bounced back in the second game,” CCC baseball coach Brian Guinn said.

CCC is back at home Thursday facing the College of Marin at 2:30 p.m. on the Baseball Field.

With only one hit between the two teams, the first game remained scoreless until the Comets got on the board first with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

Comet outfielder Bryce Hutchings (1 for 9 with one RBI for the series) connected for a single advancing first baseman Chris Brue to second base, scoring shortstop Jamal Rutledge (3 for 8 with two runs scored in the series).

The scoring began with a double by Velasco then a single by Rutledge giving the Comets runners at first and third. A passed ball on a pick-off attempt at third allowed Valasco to score and Rutledge to assume his spot on the corner.

This made way for the Hutchings RBI single.

After five innings CCC led 2-0.

Laney took advantage of Comet mistakes giving itself hope in the low scoring game by eeking out a run on two errors bringing the score to 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

An Eagle rally tied the game at two with no outs in the bottom of the ninth with runners on second and third.

Guinn and the Comets chose to rely on their team defense to get out of ninth inning jam.

They attempted to walk the bases loaded and then force double play outs at first and third.

Inexplicably, Comet pitcher Antonio Straughter overthrew the intentional walk allowing the winning run to score.

Laney took the first game 3-2.

“We let the first game slip through our hands. We wanted to come out in the second game and prove that we were the better team and use the loss to build motivation going forward.” Hutchings said. “It’s just baseball. It’s a tricky game.”

Following the emotional roller coaster of the first game, scoring remained lackluster with neither squad scoring until the seventh inning in the second.

The Comets gave up one unearned run in the second inning when Laney catcher Alberto Paz (who reached base on a walk) found his way home after a series of Comet errors.

Despite another low-scoring affair, the second game would harbor many stranded base runners.

Both teams totaled 19 runners left stranded on base on 17 combined hits.

“The pitchers weren’t commanding the zone, missing on the corners,” Comet catcher Lawrence Duncan said. “Batters would get up on the count and sit on the fastball. They connected on some clutch hits up the middle.”

Jake Dent got the win in game two for the Comets, giving up just four hits with four strikeouts while offering only three bases on balls in 6.2 innings on the bump.

CCC padded Dent’s performance by tacking on two runs on three hits in the seventh inning and two more runs with the same recipe in the eighth.

Trailing 4-0 in the ninth inning, the Eagles were not without fight.

In an attempt to rekindle its late game heroics from game one, Laney began to manufacture runs.

With one out in its pocket, CCC surrendered a walk and two singles to load the bases, allowing the following batter, Eagle designated hitter Kaleo Johnson, to knock in two runs with an RBI single.

“It started pouring, the ball was getting stuck and I started leaving everything up,” CCC closing pitcher Joseph Banks said.

Now leading 4-3, Banks took the chance to redeem himself. He regained control of the inning, popping out the next two Eagle batters, securing the save and the win.