NASELLE - For the first time in well over a month, the Naselle Comets baseball team had all of their players back for one game. The weather even cooperated as the Comets and the Oakville Acorns battled it out in a Pacific League baseball game under cold, windy, overcast - but dry - skies. In fact, the game played Thursday, April 26, on Buck Holm Field in the Naselle Lions Club Park was perfect in about every way but one. The Comets lost 3-2 in a classic baseball battle that was in doubt until the final out. The Comets' league record dropped to 2-6 and 2-7 overall.
There was one achilles heel in the Comets game - hitting with runners on base. The Comets left eight base runners stranded in six of the seven innings. The majority of the stranded runners were left in scoring position on second and third base, after they had out-hit the Acorns 5-3.
Coach Pete Donlon said, "We had runners in position to score as our base runners stole eight bases, but we didn't make contact with the ball with 12 strikeouts, and we didn't get the hits when we needed them. Our number four and five hitters went 0-for-7, often with runners on base."
Casey Heagy pitched a great game, allowing only three hits with one earned run and he had eight strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. Unfortunately, most of his wildness happened with the first two batters, one of which was to score.
NHS scored their two runs in the second inning. Jason Gradt got on base on an error, Kyle Johnson singled to left field, and following a Naselle strikeout, Logan Scrabeck hit a single to score Gradt with Johnson going to third. Johnson scored when an attempted pick-off at first base was wild.
Oakville got their final two runs in the fourth inning when they got two runners on base, got a hit, and Naselle missed turning a double play on a dropped line drive to the infield.
The game remained scoreless from the fourth inning on as Heagy retired the Acorns in order in each of the last three innings. Unfortunately for NHS, they were also being handcuffed by the Acorn pitcher, especially when they had runners on base. Five Naselle base-runners were left stranded in the last three innings.
Naselle will play a double header at home with Northwest Christian this Thursday, May 3. The first game will be a completion of a suspended game from March 22 which was stopped after three innings with NWC leading 4-0. The second game will be the regularly scheduled game between the two teams.
The Comets have hopes of "catching lightning in a bottle" as they did last year under nearly identical circumstances when they beat NWC in the completion of a suspended game and then beat NWC in their regularly scheduled game of the double header. That sweep propelled NHS into last year's district tournament.
The Comets will complete their regular season against Tacoma Baptist sometime this week according to athletic director Brian Macy, who said Monday that the game, originally scheduled for Saturday will be moved up due to weather reports calling for rain. The Comets faint hopes for a continuation of their season into the district tournament will depend on their record in this week's final three league games.
Johnson (W) and Pandy; Heagy (L) and Hines
Comets rally for win with three-runs in bottom of seventh NASELLE - The Naselle Comets reaffirmed the old baseball adage of "sometimes its better to be lucky than good."
The Comets were very good through the first three-plus innings of their Pacific League 2B baseball game with the North Beach Hyaks played on Buck Holm Field in the Naselle Lions Club Park Monday, April 23. That good performance gave them a 5-0 lead through three innings.
But the hard-hitting Hyaks came roaring back with five runs in the fourth and a total of seven unanswered runs in the last four innings as Naselle's fielding became less than steady. The Comets' bats went quiet during that four inning stretch and NHS went scoreless. With the Hyaks scoring one run in the sixth and one in the top of the seventh inning to take a two run lead, it was do-or-die time for Naselle.
Naselle's first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, Casey Heagy and Tyler Smith, got on base on a single and a walk and they advanced to second and third. Matt Chavez grounded out to score Heagy to record his second RBI of the game. Matt Blain singled to put Naselle runners on third and second with one out. Jason Gradt then smashed a catchable drive to center field, which should have been caught while the tying run should have scored.
That's when the "better to be lucky" part came in to play a huge role in the NHS win. The normally sure-handed Hyaks' center fielder misplayed the ball and Gradt's blow went for a two-run double to drive in the tying and winning runs in the Comets 8-7 win.
NHS earned a quick early lead with three runs in the first and two runs in the second inning. Smith reached on an error, Chavez belted a double, followed by Blain's two RBI single. Gradt then singled to drive in the third run of the first inning. In the second inning, Logan Scrabeck and Heagy both hits singles, then performed a double steal. Chavez drove in a run with a ground out, leaving Heagy on third. Heagy then made a clean steal of home for the Comets second run of the inning and a 5-0 lead.
Blain threw the first five innings and allowed only one earned run out of the six that the Hyaks scored. Heagy came in and got the win in two innings of relief after allowing only one unearned run. Gradt finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and three RBIs, Blain was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Chavez had a double, two RBIs and a run scored.
Hodgins, Fitts (5, L) and Gaffney; Blain, Heagy (6, W) and Gradt