Comet Baseball has moved steadily up the standings over the past few weeks. As the weather turned brutally cold Hillcrest started heating up, with good pitching and timely hitting earning the team a 2 game win streak. They came back from a 2-0 deficit vs. Brandon-Evansville for a decisive win Friday that has the Comets rolling towards their conference showdown vs. Ortonville on Monday.
The Comets fell down early in the top of the first inning Friday. A pair of run scoring hits had Brandon-Evansville on top of the Comets with Trey Bosek on the mound. When Bosek entered the dugout his team rallied, scoring a pair of runs that quickly reset the game for the second inning.
Jordan Foss was the first Comet on base in the first inning. His keen eye for good pitches earned him a walk, where he stole second, and scored on the first of Reggie Undseth's 3 hits of the game. Undseth advanced to second after the Chargers muffed a pick-off attempt, and scored from second base after getting a great jump on a ground ball by Chris Tungseth.
Bosek struggled in the top of the third as the weather turned from bad to worse. The biting wind made it hard to grip the ball with any confidence from the mound. However, good defensive play kept Brandon-Evansville from posting a handful of runs, and as they took the field following the third out Hillcrest was only down one run.
The dugout grew more lively during the third. Undseth earned a trip to first base again, sneaking to the bag on a nice single. He owned the base path for the second time, stealing second and third base with ease.
With Undseth drawing attention from home plate, the Chargers struggled to throw strikes. Undseth represented the neutralizing run and he was 90 feet from resetting the game for the second time. Sean McGuire capitalized off the distraction, watching four balls sail outside the strike zone, granting him passage to first base.
With Undseth capped at first, McGuire took off for second, hoping to start a double steal. But the Chargers granted McGuire the free base, looking to retain their lead. For the second time on the day Chris Tungseth stepped in and tapped a dinger, looking to earn an RBI but Undseth was called out at home on a tag. Sam Ihrke stepped in, knocking a sacrifice hit to first base that scored McGuire and pulled Tungseth to third, who scored on the next at bat. The Comets ended the inning up 5-3.
The Chargers rallied for 3 runs in the sixth, after Hillcrest went up 6-3 in fifth. The 6-6 tie didn't sit well with the Comets, who struggled after a few costly mistakes in the field. After picking up two outs, Hillcrest sent Tungseth to the plate in the bottom of the 7th. A tapper in the infield grass promised to end the inning, but Tungseth turned his motor on and beat the throw, extending the inning.
Bosek tapped another grounder, that should've sent the Comets back into the field, but a throwing error gave new life to the Comet bench that now had runners on second and third with 2 outs. Sam Ihrke unbuckled his catching gear and quickly picked up his bat before stepping into the box. The Comets have made him do that a lot this year as they continually extend innings and win games off two out hits. With Ihrke peering under his batting helmet visor he watched a pitch sail away from the Charger pitcher into a sweet spot in the strike zone. Ihrke connected for a base hit to left-center that scored Tungseth and set-off another walk-off win for the Comets at home.
Bosek pitched well considering the conditions. He went the distance for the Comets, giving up a meager 5 hits and walking none. It was Bosek's pitching, and a sturdy defense behind him, that proved the difference as the Comets capitalized on Charger mistakes and proved to be tough outs again for opponents.
Hillcrest is 7-3 in the Pheasant Conference, taking on Ortonville who is 8-2 and is coming off a shutout loss to Brandon-Evansville last Thursday. The winner has a chance to run the table of the conference, and Hillcrest is looking forward to playing at home where they've lost 2 games all year.