Storms provide moment to grow

Rain delays, setbacks halt team’s chances for impactful opener

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

This time last year Contra Costa County was suffering from a drought, so when a stray Saturday storm postponed a Comet baseball game it was seen as a welcomed event.

This season however, the Comet baseball team has been forced to cancel more games due to weather related issues in the first three weeks of the season (five) than all of last season.

So far in 2017, the Bay Area has experienced some level of rainfall in every week since Jan. 1. Even if the rain does not fall on days that CCC has games scheduled, the over-saturated field would be ripped to shreds over the course of a nine-inning contest.

In cities that house Major League Baseball teams where inclement weather is normal, dome stadiums shield players from the elements allowing practice or play to continue.

On the collegiate level, indoor training facilities serve to keep athletes sharp and reflexes in game condition.

“We practice in the indoor batting cages upstairs in the Gym Annex Building on rainy days and when the field is soggy we go out to the football field and modify it to run drills on,” Comet sophomore outfielder Rabonnie Carter said.

“After practicing on turf and adjusting to the speed of the ball when it’s put in play, it takes a game or so to adjust back to playing on grass when the games start.”

For pitchers, throwing regularly is important to maintaining good pitching mechanics and control. Throwing indoors is an option, but the chance to throw off the mound allows players to maintain game readiness and the mental acuity that it takes to compete at a high level.

“It doesn’t take that long to adjust. I pitched off of a flat mound in fall baseball, going back to a mound just takes a couple of pitches to find your spot,” Comet freshman pitcher Tyler Reames said. “It’s harder to adjust to pitching off of a squishy mound. It throws you off and takes a couple more pitches to find your release point.”

Reames is the only pitcher on the Comet roster not to give up a home run with over 15 innings pitched this season.

Last year one of the problems the baseball team had was its lack of depth at pitcher. This year, a fresh batch of promising starters was to be the key to CCC’s resurgence in the Bay Valley Conference.

The 2015-16 Comet baseball team was 4-10 after 14 games with one of the shallowest pitching rotations in the BVC. Comet batters also knew that, so many overcompensated at the plate to make up for the lack of pitching production.

This season the Comets list 11 pitchers on the roster opposed to only five posting wins for the team last year.

But because of the starts-and-stops because of rain or poor field conditions, the team hasn’t been able to find continuity or consistency. The team has nearly an identical record as it did after 14 games last year, 3-11.

Aside from the regular practice regimens the team follows under second-year coach Brian Guinn, players also use the rainy days to rehab sore muscles that may still be getting into game shape.

“I ran on the treadmill a lot but I didn’t lift weights because we already do enough of that in practice,” freshman pitcher and third baseman Jayson Summers said.

“I don’t really swing like that because I am a pitcher but I put in some work in the cage upstairs. I just made sure that I iced every night, used Tiger Balm and made sure to stretch all of the time.”

Summers has the lowest ERA of any pitcher on the CCC roster.

The team got a break from the weather and finally got to play a stretch of five games in six days last week, some shoehorned in to make up for games missed due to rain.

In those contests the team was 1-4 with its lone win coming by way of a 12th inning RBI double from John Velasco to beat City College of San Francisco 8-7.  

See the Comets return to action Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. when they play Napa Valley College at the Baseball Field.