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Comets baseball looks to soar to #1 spot

Palomar stopped a two-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over Mt. San Jacinto College at Myers Field on Mar 18, 2014. Starting Pitcher Jake Barnett gave up only one run in 7 innings of pitching while Shortstop Dennis Morton led The Comets with 3 RBI’s. (Stephen Davis/The Telescope)

Palomar’s baseball team will hit its 36-game regular season off on the road to face off against Orange Coast, the divisional rivals who are ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Thirteen out of regular-season games will be played against teams ranked in Southern California’s top 20: These reputable rivals include Orange Coast, Santa Ana and Southwestern.

Head Coach Buck Taylor said that the focus is always on the next game, and they’re always striving to play well and continue to get better.

“(The) ultimate goal is not to win championships. I would rather transfer every kid than win championships,” he said, adding that part of his success includes a “good culture in the locker room.”

It will be the Comets final season in the notable but archaic Myers Field. Taylor said the team will be relieved to finally play in a state-of-the-art baseball facility that will be located on the northern end of the campus near Borden Road. Myers Field will be converted into a parking lot.

The Palomar Comets started off the 2014 season going 0-4 against some tough opponents. Midway through the season, they strung eight wins together with some big victories. Late in the season the Comets caught fire with 15 consecutive wins, and then won another in the first round of the regionals against the Hancock Bulldogs that resulted in the state’s longest, active winning streak.

The season abruptly ended though when they lost two in a row to the Bulldogs in the regionals. Coming off a fourth consecutive Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Championship, the Comets finished the 2014 season ranked No. 19 in the nation with a 28-9 record. The Palomar Comets are ranked No 2. in Southern California by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association, right behind the Orange Coast Pirates to start the 2015 season.

The Comets have some big holes to fill in the roster this year with the loss of big hitters such as All-State First Team shortstop Dennis Morton, and PCAC Player of the Year, Dillan Smith. Catcher Francis “Frank” Christy should see a more important role this season as he finished with two home runs, 19 RBIs and had the third most at bats on the team as a freshman.

The team will be missing ace pitcher Zach Wilkins this season. Returning left handed pitcher, Jake Barnett, will have to fill that role. Barnett is more than capable as he finished with a 2.51 era, an 8-2 record, and pitched 72 innings last season as a freshman.

The 6 foot 3 inch, 220-pound Christy said the team does not rely on one or two big hitters like himself, but the lineup is “stacked with speed and power.” He added that the team is is “feeling great” and “more prepared” this season.

He said that part of the success of the team is how tight-knit they are.

“We’re all good friends,” he pointed out.

Barnett, a starting, left-handed pitcher, also likes to divert most of the attention off himself and toward his teammates.

“I feel really confident in how we work as a team,” Barnett said. The “coaching staff knows the game really well, always making the right calls.”

He added that there is not a lot of pressure on the mound for him.

“I like it and I trust my defense,” Barnett said. “They do most of the work, and I have confidence in Big Frank (Christy) behind the plate.”

Article by staff writer Zachary Watson

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Comets baseball looks to soar to #1 spot