Dramatic win ends season on high note


Leon Watkins / The Advocate

Comet right fielder Dylan Wilson dives back to first base to beat the throw following a shallow pop fly in the second inning of CCC’s season-ending victory against Napa Valley College Friday at the Baseball Field.

By Michael Santone, Associate Editor

The Comet baseball team (9-27 overall, 5-16 in the Bay Valley Conference) struggled to muster up momentum early in the game, but capitalized in the bottom of the eighth to beat Napa Valley College 4-2 in the final season matchup of the team’s three-game series Friday at the Baseball Field.

Back-to-back changes in pitchers for Napa Valley (15- 24 overall and 9-12 in the BVC) late in the game resulted in an unexpected victory for CCC, which scored three runs due to sloppy and inaccurate pitching.

For the only homer of the contest, Comet second basemen Justin Summers (1 strikeout, 3 hits, 1 RBI in 8.0 innings) hit a powerful ball high to left field clearing the fence and landing on the roof of the Knox Center.

“Honestly, it was really a surprise because I don’t ever do that,” Summers said. “It was kind of a spark plug. Us being down one and getting that home run to tie the game brought everyone’s confidence up. So now we aren’t down and we have a chance to win the game.”

This followed another pivotal moment for a Comet win as right fielder Dylan Wilson (1 hit and 2 RBI) tripled with a hard hit to center field to bring home third baseman Jared Jackson and first baseman Antonio Nobriga.

In windy w e a t h e r conditions, that strategy should have p r o mp t ed low line drives and g r o u n d balls. But pop flies through gusty winds and bases on balls dominated in the early innings.

This rendered the possible outcome of the game bleak for the Comets after Napa Valley scored two unearned points on errors in the top of the third that led to a brief stalemate.

Comet pitcher Jake Dent, who threw over 120 pitches, said although it was a tough for the team to counter on offense at the outset, he had to remain focused.

“I talked to coach (Brian Guinn) and he said don’t lose the mentality if we get down. Don’t get down on yourself, our offensive will come back for you.”

Napa Valley came out strong on offense and defense. Its tight field play in the early innings of the game seemed unmatched, but by the bottom of the fifth, it was evident that CCC was not going down without a fight.

Breaking the stalemate after two scoreless innings, Comet left fielder Robert Swanson brought life back into the game with a single that led to an unearned run on an error.

This much-needed RBI left CCC down by one and able to harness momentum that slowly revitalized the playing strategy.

“We had a little more going for us today because this is the sophomores last series at Contra Costa,” Swanson said. “We just let everything go and played as hard as we could.”

Despite the contest reaching moments of stagnant game play, Dent (6 strikeouts, 5 hits in 9.0 innings) kept the pace with powerful and keen pitches to an unexpected Napa offense.

But it was the inconsistent pitching strategy that ultimately led to the demise of Napa’s lead and the two out of three game win for CCC.

“That was probably one of their better pitchers and we knew that coming into the game,” Dent said. “We knew they didn’t really have a strong bullpen like that, so we knew we had to capitalize on this guy because we knew he wasn’t going to be solid.

Guinn said staying focused from the beginning of the game was the team’s main priority.

“The kids have to want to turn it around and we just try and stay positive with them and tell them to build on team morale,” Guinn said. “It feels good going into the next year on a positive note and the kids can build from that.”