Hillcrest baseball is quickly becoming known as the team that never dies. The past two games had the Comets walking to the dugout with a 3-2 win despite nip-and-tuck innings where scoring happened with two outs. Tuesday had other heroics to add to the mix.
The Comets are creating a sizable foe from the mound in their three-headed monster that only looks to replicate in the future. Sean McGuire and Chris Tungseth are common names on the filling the pitching postion on the Comet scorecard. With addition of Sophomore Trey Bosek, to go with fellow hurler Reggie Undseth, the Comets have a battalion of gunners that will be necessary as they wrap up their season with 6 games in the final 2 weeks of the season. Tungseth calmed some fears for Head Coach Steve Undseth Tuesday night, casting a bright outlook for the Comets to emerge as the conference's top team.
Senior Chris Tungseth threw to a win, the second for him on the season. His 10 strike-outs and no walks kept the Comets a nose in front of the Owls after a strong third inning scoring streak for Hillcrest. "10 K's and zero walks is a recipe for success almost any time, but it was barely enough tonight," noted Steve Undseth following the game.
The Comets leapt ahead in the 3rd inning after a quick 1-2 out scenario. When Trey Bosek stepped into the plate and tapped a dinger down the third base line it looked like Tungseth would need to tighten his belt at the mound to keep Hillcrest in the game. However, Hancock bumbled the play, one of four errors that ended-up costing the Owls the game.
Dust rose from Bosek's batting glove, slapping hands with Eric Konynenbelt to signify a change of positions. Konynenbelt's pinch running has been key for the Comets in a number of games. The exchange at first base gave Sam Ihrke time to un-clip his catching gear and step into the batters box. With the hit-and-run on, Ihrke and Konynenbelt kept the inning alive.
Konynenbelt stole third base after Jake Steinle stepped-up, putting the go-ahead run 90 feet from home plate, with Ihrke advancing to second thanks to heads-up base running. Steinle lofted a pop-up to the grass, and with two outs both Konynenbelt and Ihrke had their running shoes on, with Ihrke rounding third base as the Owls dropped the easy out and extended the inning. Hillcrest went up 2-0.
Steinle wasn't done with his late inning heroics. Feeding off the energy from his walk-off single winner the previous week, he stole second base without flinching. When Sean McGuire lined a single to the outfield, Steinle hustled around third and put the Comets up 3-0. It was the only inning the Comets could generate any momentum in.
Hancock put together a two-out score of their own the next inning, capitalizing off a few Comet errors. The Owls added another unearned run in the 6th on a dropped-ball strikeout. "We were fortunate that our 5 errors did not cost us more than 2 unearned runs," Coach Undseth noted in recapping the game.
The Comets appear to be in the drivers seat as they look down the road to the Pheasant Conference trophy. They play Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (CGB) at 5pm on Thursday in CGB, and again on Friday at Legion Field in Fergus Falls to make-up for a rain out earlier in the season.