"We made the plays when we had to," commented Comet Head Coach Steve Undseth. As players rustled dust out of their pants it was hard not to smile. The Comets moved to 4-2 on the season, doing it as a team with special development from specific players that is proving to be the difference for the Comets.
"Jake, Jordan, Sean, Collin, and Chris each made a standout defensive play," Undseth continued, praising his team for their hard work Monday. The Comets are building momentum as they enter the mid point of the season. Their defense Monday night was good enough to pull out a win, but Undseth sees room for improvement. "Except for the dropped pop-up we played pretty well in the field."
Undseth is drawing a lot from his team. Sophomore Samuel Ihrke is one player who is quickly growing to be a quiet cornerstone for the team. Watching Sam crouch behind the plate is exciting as he works with strike out pitchers like Sean McGuire and popping-up to back-up field play from hurlers Chris Tungseth and Reggie Undseth, who are developing into strong contact pitchers for the Comets. Ihrke is also developing into a well rounded hitter. His single in the 3rd inning opened scoring for the Comets, where Eric Konynenbelt pinch ran his way around the diamond and stole home on a walk by Jordan Foss. Ihrke went 2 for 2 on the night, adding a walk to his stat line that is starting to resemble a smart and consistent hitter.
Next to Ihrke stand a host of underclassmen. Collin Erickson, Austin Pereleberg-Hunt, and Trey Bosek are a trio in the Comet lineup that is finding big innings coming through their bats. Erickson has already earned accolades with the bat, notably a game-winning double last week. Bosek put together an important at bat that scored Junior Sean McGuire when the Comets blew up the bats in the 3rd inning.
The Comets are seeing great production from Junior role players as they enter the mid-point of the season. Jake Steinle came up big in the 4th inning for the Comets, wrapping a single to the grass, taking second on a wild pitch, and scoring when Ihrke placed a single past second base. Junior Sean McGuire sent home 2 RBI's on the night.
With the team gelling thanks to support from role players in the Comet lineup, the mound stands a little taller for Hillcrest. Chris Tungseth was able to go the distance Monday, pitching all six innings in an important game. Tungseth's kicking dirt to complete the frames on Monday night allows the Comets to rest McGuire and Reggie Undseth, who will be called on to meet Pelican Rapids Tuesday and Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Thursday, both games are at the Legion Field in Fergus Falls. If the Comets enter the weekend with a 6-2 record they will hold a top place in the conference as they start the back end of the season.
The Comets put together a strong 3rd inning Monday, scoring 4 runs on a series of base hits. Steinle's hustle on the bases proved the difference for the Comets in the 4th. Their 5-4 win was big for their hopes of earning a top seed for playoffs. Notably, Hillcrest needs to string together a series of big wins this week in order to have the position that will place them on a road to Target Field for the State Championship. If the team can continue to develop in unison, completing some standout plays in succession, they will close May with their eyes set on more baseball in June.