Defensive struggles prevent win, consistency

Squad succumbs to third straight loss


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Comet pitcher Jake Dent unwinds a pitch during the Comets’ 11-3 loss to Folsom Lake College at the Baseball Field on Saturday. Dent was unable to stay in the game due to issues with his right arm that began to affect his control.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The baseball team surrendered double-digit runs in its sixth straight game, this time in an 11-3 loss to Folsom Lake College Saturday at the Baseball Field.

Despite home runs in back-to-back innings by Contra Costa College second baseman John Velasco in the sixth and outfielder Evan Ray in the seventh, the Comet offense struggled to manufacture runs for the majority of the game.

In an attempt to halt their two-game losing skid, Comet pitcher Jake Dent (4-3) started the game but was taken out of the game after the first inning because of issues with his right arm that began to affect his control.

“It was a rough day. We had to take Dent out because of his shoulder,” Comet coach Brian Guinn said. “We knew Folsom was going to score runs, but when you walk 15 guys it’s tough to beat anybody.”

Folsom takes the second most walks in the Bay Valley Conference notching 116 free bases this season.

The Comets (11-20 overall, 7-14 in the BVC) return to play Thursday taking on Solano Community College at 2:30 on the Baseball Field.

Folsom (22-12 overall, 17-5 in the BVC) took advantage of the Comets’ early pitching woes, pouncing on the squad in the first inning to gain a 2-0 lead in the process.

After stranding a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the first inning, Comet left-handed pitcher Sean Jackson took the hill to start the second inning.

Despite Folsom runners littering the base paths on multiple occasions with walks and well-placed singles after four innings the only run the Falcons added came on a muffed catch by Comet catcher James Hodgson.

Offensive efficiency for CCC has been a rarity this season. Over the past 12 games the team has only scored five runs or more in three of those contests.

The Falcons maneuvered three walks into two more runs in the fifth inning. CCC, now trailing 5-0, showed its first sign of offensive acumen after clawing its way on to the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth.

The Comets got their first run on a single by Hodgson, followed by a wild pitch to Bryan Perez that allowed Hodgson to advance to second base.

A deep sacrifice fly to right field by Perez allowed for an easy tag-and-score for CCC.

Down 5-1, the Comets found a spark through sixth inning lead off hitter — Velasco.

The Comet second baseman belted a solo shot over the left field fence, depositing the ball in the parking lot of the kindergarten school nearly one block down the street from the field.

Velasco has nine RBIs in his last four BVC games to account for half of the Comets’ 18 total runs scored.

“Instead of worrying about stats or prospects, I’ve just wanted to go out and have fun,” Velasco said. “I’ve had a more relaxed approach — just letting the game come to me.”

The Falcons responded with a blistering seventh inning that saw every Folsom batter get a chance to face Comet sophomore pitcher David Gustafson after he replaced Jackson with two outs in the fifth inning.

After surrendering only one run in the sixth inning, Gustafson was removed after a rocky start to the seventh. He served up a single and four walks that ballooned the Falcon lead to 8-2.

With no outs, and the bases loaded, CCC left-handed pitcher Justin Tonge closed the inning allowing three more runs, giving Folsom an 11-2 advantage.

“We’ve been hitting pretty well. There has just been a lack of focus coming into games. It’s mostly inexperience. We have a lot of young players,” CCC outfielder Bryce Hutchings said.

Leading off the bottom of the seventh, Ray walloped a pitch over the same menacing left field fence. This time the ball pounded the roof of the Knox Center for his third home run of the season.