Comets easily grounded in seven run blowout loss


Leon Watkins / The Advocate

Comet pitcher Jake Dent throws a pitch in the third inning of Thursday’s 10-3 loss to Mendocino College on the Baseball Field.

By Anthony Kinney, Associate Editor

The baseball team (7-26 overall and 3-15 in the Bay Valley Conference) failed to continue its light wave of momentum, resulting from recent back-to-back wins, by losing to Mendocino College 10-3 in the second match-up of the teams’ three-game series Thursday at the Baseball Field.

Sloppy fielding, bad pitching and missed opportunities on defense rendered the game impossible to end in a Comet victory and allowed Mendocino (19-16 overall and 10-8 in the BVC) to exact revenge from the Comets’ 5-1 win in their first match up of the season on April 17.

Comet pitcher Kyle Brown said early errors created a snowball effect that diminished the team’s confidence for the remaining innings.

“Anytime we make errors, we suffer a mental breakdown as a team and it affects everybody,” Brown said. “We’ve got to fix our mental mistakes and not make errors. When we don’t make mistakes, we usually win.”

The Eagles came out strong on both offense and defense. They matched the Comet effort in the early innings of the game, but by the fifth inning, it was evident CCC was going to be outpaced.

Despite losing by a wide margin, Comet pitchers Jake Dent (4 strikeouts, 7 hits, in 7.0 innings) and Jayson Summers (2 strikeouts, 1 hit, in 2.0 innings) still gave up just 8 hits and struck out 6. The Eagles capitalized from both Comet mistakes and by getting runners onto the basepaths, which seemed to become more frequent as the game progressed.

The pitchers’ duel turned blowout was a defensive bout until the fifth inning as both teams struggled to focus at bat.

In the top of the fifth inning, Eagle right fielder Sam Penning’s two RBI double to center sent shortstop Karter Koch and first baseman Jay Guerrero home with no outs. After a spark of good fielding produced two outs, a series of passed balls by catcher Brayden Huckaby led to one more Eagle score before closing out the inning.

Comet coach Brian Guinn said although his team has been playing well lately, the team’s bad pitches, lack of capitalizing on defensive gaps and missed scoring opportunities showed room for improvement.

The Comets answered in the bottom of the fifth inning with a run of their own after Comet first baseman Robert Swanson’s single led to Huckaby rushing home from third base after singling to start the rally.

However, the Comets’ offense still struggled to produce scoring innings as they were only able to score two more times in the contest.

After the inning, the Eagles led 3-1.

The Comets were able to score twice more in the 7th inning before squandering the opportunity to potentially score more runs. CCC center fielder Mychael Jamison left shortstop London Penland and third baseman Jared Jackson stranded on second and third base after grounding out to end the 7th.

“I think we just got mentally tired,” Jamison said. “We just came off two wins and should have shut them out last time (Tuesday’s game), so I think we thought it was going be an easier game.”

Mendocino College continued its offensive onslaught through the 6th, 7th and 8th innings by scoring two runs in each — most resulting from errors by a seemingly intimidated Comet infield

The last run came from an Eagle sacrifice fly to left that led to an unearned run after a dropped ball by catcher CCC Tyler Carrasco, making the score 10-3.

The Comets were able to hold off another Eagle score in the 9th when Summers struck out Eagle DH Morgan Edwards before forcing two fly ball outs.

Coach Guinn said the team plans to stick to their game plan moving forward. “I think they just had a bad game today. They’ve been playing good lately,” he said. “We’ve got to keep playing strong. The ball bounces different every game.”

Jamison said his team needs to improve on maintaining its composure when errors occur and its performance during clutch moments.