New coach, team aim to change momentum
Squad flounders in opening of the 2014 season, look to improve in conference play
With a brand new softball coach and a team stocked with new players, the Comet softball team has started this season with several disappointing losses.
The Comets managed to win one of their games against City College of San Francisco, thanks to a solid hit by second baseman Sinoti Iosua in the seventh inning to drive in the winning run.
Last season, the Comets went 2-36 overall, and 2-21 in the Bay Valley Conference, and, so far, it would be easy to say they are on track to repeat that record.
Though there is some real talent on the team, so far, it has been under-utilized. Liliana Reyes is the most dynamic player the Comets have.
Coach Karolyn Gubbine said, "Lily is a very valuable player. She can play any position, except pitcher, and play it well."
Gubbine believes the best place for Reyes is in the outfield.
"A strong outfield is extremely important," Gubbine said.
Though on Feb. 18, Reyes got to play shortstop, to fill in for Sharrell Duncan, who was out with a leg injury. With Reyes along the third baseline, the Comets' infield was far more effective than it had been in any of the Comets' previous games this season.
Catcher Kaitlyn Oshiro is another player that has proven herself to be a lynchpin for the team. Behind the plate, Oshiro has sustained multiple injuries this season, but continued to play. She is quick to react, and has made multiple impressive fielding moves that resulted in outs where there would not have been any.
Whether or not Gubbine will give Oshiro a rest from working behind the plate is yet to be seen.
The Comets' starting pitcher Caitlin Bal, despite trouble fielding bunts, has easily been one of the top pitchers on the field in every game the Comets have played this season.
Gubbine said, "My Kaitlyn combo on the mound and behind the plate is one of the team's most valuable assets."
Her "Kaitlyn Combo" is certainly valuable. Bal is the third ranked pitcher in the BVC, with 19 strikeouts. She is just four strikeouts behind Solano Community College's Shannon Mestas, who is currently the number one ranked pitcher in the BVC with 23 strikeouts.
The Comets' also have several solid hitters. Sophomores Jasmyne Brice and Sinoti Iosua have a batting average of .450 and .346, respectively. Though, once again, it is not clear whether these numbers will help the Comets in the BVC against teams like Solano that have players with batting averages sitting at .500 and multiple averages higher than .400.
During play, the Comets main issue is they fall apart when presented with a bad situation. The Comets' do not give up runs, they hemorrhage them. So far this season, CCC has committed 22 errors during the seven games it has played. That is almost an error every other inning,
The Comets' have several solid fielders. Elvira Figueroa and Brice both currently have fielding percentages that are sitting at 1.000. However, they are just not in positions where their fielding ability makes a significant impact on the flow of the game.
After they have allowed a large lead to be created, the Comets are capable of coming back; however, their games unfortunately end before they can finish their rally.
Gubbine said, "Sinoti is a real leader on the team. So are Sharrell and Lily."
Which is true. Iosua, Duncan and Reyes will not hesitate to remind their teammates where the play is, or what the plan is to end the inning. Though, Ciarra Streater and Figueroa are easily the loudest voices on the field, either calling out the play, or encouraging their teammates from the dugout.
Gubbine said, "With how much experience they have, the girls are where they need to be. They're getting better, defensively, we just need to improve the hitting."
The Comets have the potential to be very dangerous when they are at the plate. The team lacks heavy hitters, but most of the Comets are capable of connecting with the ball. Once on base, the Comets' potential really shines.
Roggell "Jojo" Ryan, Iosua, Reyes and Figueroa are all apt at stealing bases, and they have the potential to make the Comets a much more dangerous team than they are at the moment.
Reyes played out of her normal position against Diablo Valley College, and despite losing, the change produced noticeable results. Switching the composition of the infield, especially where the fielding is weakest, could produce the change Gubbine is hoping to instill in her players.
Gubbine's players have also shown they can begin to recover from an upset early on in a game, but if that recovery does not come sooner than it has, then the Comets' will likely face another embarrassing season.
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