Hitting, inexperience lead Comets to extra innings


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Comet outfielder Rome Watson (right) dives into home plate during Contra Costa College’s 8-6 loss against Mendocino College at the Baseball Field on Saturday.

By Dylan Collier, Assistant Scene Editor

The Comets (11-25 overall and 6-12 in the Bay Valley Conference) were able to squeeze in a win against visiting Mendocino College (6-12 in the Bay Valley Conference) on Friday behind starting pitcher Casey Edmunds who pitched a complete game, but lost in a four-hour crusade on Saturday.

The win on Friday put an end to their six-game losing streak, but Contra Costa College couldn’t carry the momentum into the next day, losing in 11 innings 8-6.

The Comets return to the field Thursday to play Napa Valley College at 2:30 p.m. at the Baseball Field.

Saturday’s game against Mendocino College was anything but typical. In fact, it was a back-and-forth offensive battle that never had a dull inning.

Comet starting pitcher Brandon Owens kept the game close, allowing CCC to take the lead in the third inning.

Comet shortstop Justin Summers said, “At this point in the season, we are just trying to have fun and play good baseball. Every game is meaningful to us, and we don’t take anything for granted, especially with (John) Velasco out for the rest of the season.”

Velasco broke his leg while running the basepaths in the Comets’ 9-5 loss against Yuba College at the Baseball Field on April 19.

In the third inning, the Comets let loose an offensive barrage and managed to produce runs, starting with two outs.

First, shortstop Justin Summers hit a line drive to left-center field. Then second baseman Elijah Smith found first base on a single hit hard at Eagle third baseman Robbie McIntosh.

The infielder bobbled the ball and couldn’t turn a play at either bag.

Center fielder Rome Watson hit a hard grounder back at Mendocino pitcher Hank Harris who made a wide throw to first base. He followed that error with a bad throw to third base, then, a late throw to the plate.

The sloppy play resulted in Summers, Smith and Watson all crossing home base on errors.

At the end of the third inning, CCC led 3-1.

In the sixth inning sophomore Eric Whitfield planted a hanging slider over the left field fence for the Comets fourth run of the game.

The run allowed the Comets to maintain a 4-3 lead over the Eagles.

After the Eagles scored three runs in the ninth inning to take a 6-4 lead, the Comets quickly bounced back from the two-run deficit.

CCC started its ninth inning rally on a line drive hit by right fielder Rabonnie Carter — a hit that barely squeezed past second base into the outfield grass.

“I was just thinking I had to get on base, and I wanted to hit something up the middle of the field,” Carter said.

At the end of nine innings, the game was tied 6-6.

As the game went into extra innings, Mendocino strung together a few hits in the 11th that put two more runs on the scoreboard to lead 8-6.

CCC infielder Casey Edmunds said, “I feel like we need to come together more and work on our hitting. If our hitting comes at the right point, that will translate into wins. We need to fix little kinks in our hitting, especially in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings when it counts the most.”

On Saturday, the Comets two biggest opportunities to win the game were in the ninth and 11th innings, but again fell short when it mattered the most.

The morale in the Comet dugout has been low since it was announced third baseman Velasco must sit the rest of the season out because of his broken leg.

He jumped over Yuba third baseman Darrell Doll and when he came down he landed on his leg in such a way that put too much pressure on his fibula and ankle.

“It always makes a big difference and hurts when you’re missing your power hitter at the front of your lineup,” assistant coach Michael Jefferson said.

Whitfield said, “Although we lost (to Mendocino), I want to remind the freshman that we need to build a good program. So if the Comets ever make it into playoff contention, we can say we started something.”