Storms delay games, Vikings blank squad

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

After seven days without a game since its season opener, the softball team returned to the field losing both games of a doubleheader against Big 8 Conference-leading Diablo Valley College 13-0 and 10-0 March 8 in Pleasant Hill.

With its first two opponents totaling 31 runs against it, Contra Costa College (0-4) has taken a major punch to the mouth to open the 2016 campaign.

Bad weather forced the Comets to reschedule their following series against Mendocino College until March 10, as well as the Ohlone College Tournament on March 12, leaving CCC with only practice and moral victories as a metric to gauge improvement.

Vikings (16-2)  ace Nicole Nordahl (15-2) took the hill to start the game. Her 8.14 strikeouts per game, six shutouts and 15 complete games are all tops in the Big 8.

“We played more as a team, more sure of ourselves,” Comet game one starting pitcher Anna Palter said. “There were fewer fielding errors, fewer dropped balls and my pitching improved a lot.”

Palter led off the top of the first for the Comets, reaching base on an errant throw after the ball got by Viking catcher Katie Kaprive. The pitcher then stole second on a strike out by first baseman Amy Palomares.

After reaching third on a ground out by catcher Sydney Davis, Palter was eventually stranded on base following a Comet swing and miss to end the inning.

The Vikings jumped out of the box on fire, scoring a run with its first two batters on a walk followed by a steal and then a hit driving the runner home. DVC’s prosperity was helped by a fielding error charged to Davis.

After two more walks with no outs and Vikings littering the bases for DVC, Balan recorded the first out for CCC on an unassisted play at home when the Vikings tried to sneak another runner across home plate.

Leading 1-0 with one out and runners on first and second, DVC infielder Julia Peltier belted a bases-clearing double, deepening the Comet deficit.

CCC would end the inning after a dart from Balan to stop a potential runner from stealing the base, but not before Peltier crossed home to give DVC a 4-0 advantage.

“I think we did well against DVC. They’re a good team,” coach Karolyn Gubbine said. “This is what they do against teams. It’s not like last time we played (19-0). We were getting routine balls and not letting outs get away from us.”

Angelica Espinal led off the second inning for CCC with a single followed by a stolen base but was ultimately left stranded in scoring position when the side was retired.

“We did better than we did in our first series (Chabot). We kept a positive attitude, played as a team,” Palomares said. “We knew they were in first place for a reason and we gave up half as many runs as we did before, so we can see improvement.”

After allowing four runs in the first, the Comets would yield eight runs in the third. The game was eventually called in the fifth inning with the Vikings taking a 13-0 victory.

Shedding her armor to pitch game two for the Comets was Davis who caught in game one. Like Palter in the previous contest, Davis got the hitting started early with a single in the first inning.

Davis would never reach home plate, nor any other Comet in the contest. The Vikings went on to win the second game 10-0.

The Comets play Thursday against Folsom Lake College at 1 p.m. on the Softball Field.