Offensive struggles doom pitching, Napa sneaks win

By Dylan Collier

The Comets (11-27 overall, and 6-14 in the Bay Valley Conference) lost to Napa Valley College 2-1 in the 11th inning Thursday in the team’s last home game of the season.

In another example of a disappointing end to a solid start, Comet pitchers Tyler Reames and Casey Edmunds kept runs to a minimum, but couldn’t get enough support offensively.

The game was determined by speed and accuracy from the pitchers on the mound and in both dugouts.

Napa’s (14-23 overall, and 12-8 in the BVC) pitchers didn’t give Comet batters many opportunities to get anywhere near home plate early on, but when they did, Comet batters weren’t able to manufacture runs.

A total of two runners were left stranded on base in the second and ninth innings and the Comets left the bases loaded in the 11th inning, ending the day with a strikeout.

“One of our problems today was we didn’t execute with people on base and we left runners on,” outfielder Rabonnie Carter said.

Throughout the game the Comet defense proved to Napa that they were going to have to work twice as hard if they wanted to score any runs.

In the third inning, with the score tied 0-0, second baseman Elijah Smith prevented a run from scoring by throwing out Napa second baseman Ben Phim at home plate.

Reames pitched seven full innings, only allowing one run off the bat of Napa catcher Josh Abraham.

When Reames left a pitch that stayed in the strike zone for too long, Abraham turned on it and hit a solo home run over the left field fence in the sixth inning.

The Comets had only player get a hit in the early innings, a single from center fielder Jonathan Dunn in the second inning.

First baseman Eric Whitfield said, “When you don’t have that many hits, it’s hard to win. It was just one of those days where we weren’t hitting the ball well. The best thing about baseball is you get to come out tomorrow for another chance to do it all over again.”

With tensions high in this end-of-season competition, the game had its colorful moments.

The umpires ejected two players over the course of the 11 innings.

In the fifth inning, Comet base-runner Jonathan Dunn got caught in a rundown as he rounded second base. Napa pitcher James Tanner-White, was standing in the middle of the base path, obstructing his path to third base.

After Dunn was tagged sliding into second base, Phim hit him on the head with his glove and the umpire ejected Tanner-White for obstructing the base path without having the ball in his glove.

The Comets put together a two-out rally in the eighth inning, which was started by a triple from Kevin Sudduth that rolled to the left-field fence. Then Carter hit a grounder on a 1-2 count that found the outfield grass, scoring Sudduth from third base.

But that was all the Comets could score, which made it 1-1 going into the ninth inning.

Napa  Valley right-fielder Brooks Green got a leadoff single in the 11th inning and eventually made his way to third base on a wild pitch.

With two outs, Napa first baseman Chris Hard hit a go-ahead single that scored Green from third base.

Although CCC ended its season at the bottom of the BVC, the young team always made the most of in-game situations and the team played with heart until the last out.

Edmunds said, “Today I learned not to let people get into my head, but to contain my composure. The thing I love about this team is we don’t give up and we played hard until the last pitch of the last game.”

The Comets lost the season finale at Napa Valley on Saturday,  16-7.