Knights go down in 29-hit game against Comets

Holly Bridges

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Some people say baseball is a boring, simple game but in reality it’s a very complex game filled with a lot of strategy and many interesting scenarios. A variety of different situations and plays can pop up and it did for the Knights on Saturday when they played host to the conference-leading Palomar Comets in the last meeting of their three-game series.

It was a long game that featured a total of 29 hits (15 by Palomar and 14 by City). On a 90-degree day, it was the hottest day ever recorded on March 14, breaking a record set in 1951 for San Diego, and just about anything that could happen in a game of baseball did happen.

There were the common triples and a homer in this contest and then there were balks, questionable or should-have-been called balks, three batters hit by pitches, and there were squeeze plays, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes and everything on it. Not boring at all.

All of the action got started right away too. Three up, three score. Palomar’s Alec Salcedo started the game with a lead-off single in the top of the first. Coming up to the plate next was Jordan Gardner who tripled down the right field line, scoring Salcedo to make it a quick one-nothing game.

Their third batter didn’t leave Gardner on base very long either as the Comets’ catcher Frank Christy, stepped in the box and homered to left field, making it 3-0, Palomar.

“The leadoff triple set the tempo. We stuck through it and continued to play how we play,” Gardner said.

In the top of the second, Christy tried to come up big again with two on, going to deep center, but Knights pitcher Kyle Peeler was saved by the Santa Ana winds that helped drift the ball, making it a fly out.

Both teams got busy in the fifth as six more runs would come across the plate. In the top half of the inning for Palomar, Niko Holm singled, followed by a single by Chase Grant. Chris Stratton would dribble out on a short hopper to first advancing the runners to second and third. When Salcedo got his turn he tripled to left center bringing in Holm and Grant.

Down 5-0, the Knights bats would get hot in the bottom of the fifth. Pinch hitter Scott Martinez got things going with a single but later got caught trying to steal second.

After a Kyle Golden walk and a single by Kiki Leyva, Ray Jones would single to load the bases for City. Cory Russell hit a shot down the left field line for a two-run single, scoring Leyva and Golden, putting Jones at third.

With Gabriel Santana up to bat, Russell advanced to second on a bad pitch in the ground by Jake Barnett, who was maybe hot and tired at this point. Then Santana lined to right for a single, bringing in Jones and sending Russell to third resulting in a pitching mound meeting and a new pitcher for Palomar.

Christian Broussard cleaned up with a single off new pitcher Rusty Heber, scoring Russell, amounting to a four-run total for the Knights in the fifth, making it a 5-4 Palomar lead.

Things got hot again for both teams in the seventh, starting in the top with Palomar’s DH Sam Casinelli who got on board with a single and advanced to third on a rare double-steal. Later Casinelli would score after a bunt-single by Stratton with no one covering first and loading the bases, advancing Brien Grant and Holm, who would both advance again to third and home after a balk by new pitcher Jacob Vasquez. Salcedo got a two-RBI single, making it 10-4 Comets.

Singles by Russell and Santana and a Broussard walk in the bottom of the seventh loaded the bases for City. Joe Lavin flied out deep to left, getting the RBI after Russell tagged up and scored.

The bases would be full again as Ricky Kliebenstein chopped one to left field with runners on the corners. The next batter would be hit by the first pitch and awarded first base, scoring Santana, resulting in the final score of 10-6.

“I did good going three for three off the bench,” Santana said. “But they are a really good team.”

Palomar improved their overall record to 17-4 to stay atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference; City fell to 8-10.

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