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BRIEFLY

        Jim Clayton 

FORMER P'MAR HEAD COACH CLAYTON GONE AT 84

SAN MARCOS (2-07-2017) -- Jim Clayton, who sent three of his Palomar players into Major League baseball during a career as the Comets' head coach that lasted from 1967-1981, passed away on Jan. 29 at his home in Escondido.

He also was the running backs coach under head football coach Mack Wiebe and, after retiring from coaching and handing the head baseball reigns to California Community College Hall of Fame coach Bob Vetter, remained at Palomar as night dean on the main campus in San Marcos, followed by a stint as dean at the college's Escondido Center.

Clayton, who played football and baseball at the collegiate level, received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Portland State College (now Portland State University), awarded in 1960. He earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Oregon, awarded in 1962.

He was a U.S. Army veteran who served at the demilitarized zone in Korea.

Clayton's Comet players who went on to Major League baseball were George Hinshaw, who went on from Palomar to play for Arizona State and was an infielder for the San Diego Padres; Randy Johnson, who later signed out of San Jose State and was the starting third baseman for the Atlanta Braves; and Jim Scranton, who played in the College World Series for the University of Arizona and was a shortstop for the Kansas City Royals.

Clayton is survived by his wife, Anne, sons David and Jimmie and daughter Joni. Their other daughter, Kirstie, preceded her father in death three months ago.

David Clayton was the starting first baseman for the Comets under Vetter and played at Cal State San Bernardino. Jimmie Clayton played baseball at MiraCosta College where he was a teammate of current Palomar coach Buck Taylor.

Son-in-law Scot Mitchell, a catcher for Clayton at Palomar, was drafted and signed by the Oakland A's and played minor league baseball before an injury ended his career. Jim and Anne Clayton's grandson, Joel Mitchell, played baseball for Taylor at Palomar in 2015 and 2016 and currently is a member of the baseball team at Cal Baptist University.

The Clayton family has set up an on-line memorial.

There were no services, as per Jim Clayton's wishes. Clayton was 84.

LONGTIME ASSISTANT CROUCH PASSES AWAY AT 76

VISTA (8-26-2016) -- Stan Crouch, longtime Palomar assistant head baseball coach for Jim Clayton from 1973-1981 and Bob Vetter from 1982-1997, died on Wednesday after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Crouch, who also was a football assistant coach for the Comets from 1972-74, came to Palomar from Imperial Valley College, where he had been head football coach from 1968-72. He began his coaching career in Sacramento as a high school head baseball and football coach from 1964-68.

He played baseball and football at Coalinga High School and also played both sports at San Francisco State University, where he earned both his B.A. and M.A. degrees.

Crouch was a fulltime instructor in what is now the kinesiology department from 1972 until his retirement from Palomar in 2002.

He's survived by his wife Jeanne, the couple's son Andy, a former University of Arizona quarterback who teaches and formerly coached at Vista High School, and by daughter Amanda who teaches in the San Diego Unified School District.

COACHES

Buck Taylor, Head Coach ctaylor2@palomar.edu        Ben Adams, Associate
Head Coach   badams@palomar.edu


Baseball

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2017 Season ...

Palomar's Conor McKenna beats the throw to the plate after an errant pickoff throw in the third inning in Friday's 14-2 victory over visiting Imperial Valley. McKenna went 2-for-3, tripled, doubled, drove in 4 runs and scored 3 runs. -- Photo by Philip Farry

5 PC pitchers combine on 1-hitter in 14-2 win

SAN MARCOS (3-24-2017) -- Kevin Palm, Jonathan Vizcaino, Steve Rausa, George Chapman and Marc Sauceda combined to pitch a 1-hitter on Friday as Palomar swept its 3-game series with Imperial Valley with a 14-2 victory.

With their sixth straight win, the Comets go to 19-6 and 11-1 to lead the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference going into their conference bye week. Palomar will play a non-conference game at Los Angeles Valley next Friday before returning to PCAC action a week from Tuesday vs. San Diego Mesa at home.

Palm threw the first 4 innings, retiring the last 10 batters he faced, with Vizcaino recording the pitching win by pitching the fifth and sixth. Rausa, Chapman and Sauceda finished up with an inning apiece,

Joey Cooper went 4-for-4 as the state No. 9-ranked Comets banged out 17 hits. Grant Buck (3-for-3 with a solo home run) and Conor McKenna (2-for-2 with a triple, double and 4 RBIs) both remained red hot for coach Buck Taylor's club.

Jared Montoya was 2-for-5 with a double and 2 RBIs. Jordan Gardner had a double and an RBI. Juwan Maxwell and Marco Young each added a double. Gabe Willes and Austen Salcedo had the Comets' other hits.

At the midway point in Palomar's conference schedule, Cooper leads the club with a .408 average, with McKenna at an even .400.

BOX | SEASON

Comets roll up Arabs, move into PCC lead

IMPERIAL (3-23-2017) -- Palomar rolled up Imperial Valley for the second time in three days on Tuesday, winning 19-1 on the road, and moved into first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference along the way.

Conor McKenna (left) went 3-for-4 with a triple and a double and Ryan Semon (right) retired all 11 batters he faced in relief, striking out 8, to up his win-loss record to 6-0. The Comets advanced to 18-6 overall and 10-1 in conference.

Palomar, which hosts IVC on Friday at 2:30 p.m. moved into a tie for first place with Grossmont, which lost 18-7 Thursday at Mt. San Jacinto. San Diego Mesa, which like the G-House was undefeated in conference but had played three less games, lost at San Diego City College 6-2 and dropped into third.

Cameron Haskell slugged his sixth home run, a 2-run shot over the rightfield fence in the first inning, also doubled and wound up going 2-for-4.

Jordan Gardner, who contributed a bases-loaded triple, and Ryan Hartin each drove in 3 runs for Palomar, which has won 5 straight games and 12 of its last 13. Gardner went 1-for-2 and also was hit by a pitch and walked, while Hartin was 2-for-2.

Juwan Maxwell tripled, Grant Buck doubled and Joey Cooper, Carl Schwettmann, Gabe Willes, Jared Montoya and Marco Young all singled as the Comets knocked out 17 hits.

Starter Connor Zelwski, Semon, Andrew White, Davin Castro and Travis Marinshaw combined to pitch a 3-hitter and the Arabs' only run was unearned.

Semon struck out the side in the fourth inning and also retired IVC in order in the fifth and the sixth, in eac cases with 2 strikeouts and a fly ball. Semon lowered his ERA to 0.80, third lowest in Southern California and fourth in the state. His 6 wins tie him for third in the state.

BOX


BASEBALL ALUMNI: Major Leagues

LIST OF EX-COMETS IN THE SHOW COULD GROW SOON AS ANOTHER PALOMAR ALUM CLIMBS HILL TOWARD REGULAR-SEASON ROSTER
   

TOP PHOTO: Former Comet Tim Hill walks off the mound after finishing off the Milwaukee Brewers for his first spring training save Friday on St. Patrick's Day. -- Photo Courtesy of Major League Baseball. ROW 2, LEFT TO RIGHT: Nick Vincent (Seattle Mariners) -- Internet Photo; Tyler Saladino (Chicago White Sox) -- Photo by Hugh Cox; James Hoyt (Houston Astros) -- Internet Photo

Hill looks to join Vincent, Saladino, Hoyt in show

SAN MARCOS (3-20-2017) -- Left-handed pitcher Tim Hill is bidding to join Palomar baseball alums Nick Vincent of the Seattle Mariners, Tyler Saladino of the Chicago White Sox and Jimmy Hoyt of the Houston Astros on a Major League regular-season roster as early as some point in the 2017 season.

Hill, a 6-foot-4 left-hander who pitched for the Comets in 2010 and was 10-2 with a 1.09 ERA on the Bacone College team out of Muskogee, Oklahoma that advanced to the NAIA World Series, pitched in Double-A in the Kansas City Royals farm system last season. He currently is with the Royals' Major League club as a non-roster invitee in spring training. 

Last Friday, he recorded his first Major League spring training save in the Royals' victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Hill won a battle with cancer in the Royals' minor league system two years ago.

VIDEO: HILL EARNS SAVE FOR ROYALS

ABOVE: Marc Sauceda rounds the bases after his grand-slam home run for the Comets in the seventh inning in Tuesday's 24-4 rout of Imperial Valley. -- Photo by Philip Farry. BELOW: Cameron Haskell, who hit for the cycle with a home run, triple, double, single and three RBIs

Haskell hits for the cycle; PC wins 24-4

SAN MARCOS (3-21-2017) -- Cameron Haskell hit for the cycle on Tuesday as Palomar pounded visiting Imperial Valley 24-4 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game.

Haskell, who has signed with the University of Arizona, smashed a 2-run homer run over the rightfield fence at Palomar College Ballpark in the first inning to give the Comets (17-6, 9-1 in the PCAC) a 2-0 lead and never let up the rest of the afternoon.

He rollowed the HR with a triple in the second inning, a single in the fourth, a double in the fifth, a walk in the sixth and a bases loaded walk in the seventh. He finished with a 4-for-4 afternoon, 4 runs scored and 3 RBIs, before moving from designated hitter to third base in the top of the ninth.

Second baseman Gabe Willes also had a big day at the plate as he went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the bottom of the third, a double, 2 walks and an RBI groundball to the right side. For the game, he drove in 3 runs.

And the Comets also got home runs from Marc Sauceda, a grand-slam in the seventh inning, and Joey Cooper, who slugged a solo HR in his second at-bat for his second hit in the Comets' 8-run first inning and was 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs for the game.

Austen Salcedo (2-for-3, double, 4 RBIs), Grant Buck (2-for-2 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a walk) and Marco Young (2-for-3), also had multiple hits as Palomar got to 4 IVC pitchers for 22 hits.

Juwan Maxwell tripled and drove in a run. Christian Colon doubled. Jared Montoya singled and added RBIs on a groundball and a sacrifice fly. Tristan King singled to drive in a run. Carl Schwettmann had a single and an RBI. And Conor McKenna singled and was hit by a pitch.

On the mound, starter Josh Sidney set the tone in the first inning by getting IVC's first 3 batters of the day on a groundout and 2 strikeouts. He finished with 5 strikeouts in 4 innings.

Palomar relievers Tanner Roberts (2-0), who picked up the win, Zach Wallace, Gerorge Chapman, Stephen Rausa and Jonathan Vizcaino were dominating as they each threw a scoreless inning, combining to allow 1 hit over the final 5 innings while striking out 7 to give the Comets' staff 12 K's for the day.

Wallace struck out all 3 batters he faced in the sixth inning, and Vizcaino also struck out 3 Arabs in the ninth.

The teams will play again on Thursday in Imperial at 2 p.m. before returning to Palomar College Ballpark to finish the series on Friday at 2:30 p.m. That game was moved up a day from its originally-scheduled Saturday date.  

Comets sweep series, go to 16-6, 8-1 in PCAC

SAN DIEGO (3-18-2017) -- Palomar got a strong performance from starting pitcher Nate Stilinovich (left) and played one of its best complete games of the season on Saturday as the Comets pounded San Diego City College 9-3 to sweep the teams' three-game series.

The Comets knocked out 14 hits off five City College pitchers and scored in seven of nine innings to go to 16-6 on the season and 8-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Five Palomar players turned in multiple-hit performances -- Gabe Willes (2-for-5 with a double), Conor McKenna (right, 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs), Grant Buck (2-for-3 with an RBI and 2 walks), Joey Cooper (2-for-4 with 2 walks) and Cameron Haskell 2-for-5 with an RBI).

Jared Montoya contributed 2 RBIs and finished with a run-scoring single, a sacrifice fly, a sacrifrice fly and a walk. Marco Young and Tristan King also hit safely.

Cooper got the game started on the right foot with a single to leftfield to lead off the game. He moved up on Jordan Gardner's single through the left side and scored the afternoon's first run on Buck's RBI single to left.

And the Comets never let up, scoring 2 more run sin the third inning, 1 each in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh and the final 2 runs in the top of the eighth.

Stilinovich, a freshman left-hander from 2016 CIF Southern Section open division champion Murrieta Mesa High School, retired the Knights in order in the first and fifth innings and scattered 4 hits through 6 before Jonathan Vizcaino relieved him to begin the top of the seventh. Haskell moved from designated hitter to the mound to begin the bottom of the ninth and set down the Knights in order.

Stilinovich, Vizcaino and Haskell struck out 11 and walked 0.

The Comets will begin a 3-game series with Imperial Valley on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark.

Comets hardly at best, but a win is a win

SAN MARCOS (3-16-2017) -- First, the bad news. Palomar shut it down Thursday after jumping out to a 10-1 lead over visiting San Diego City College in the first two innings of the teams' Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball game.

The good news: The Comets still won, holding on for a 10-5 victory over the Knights at Palomar College Ballpark to advance to 15-6 on the season, 7-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

After scoring 10 runs on 10 hits in the first and second innings, Palomar's offense abruptly shut off. The Comets managed two hits, good for zero runs, over the last seven innings as the Knights' Anthony Pizzo came on in relief to take control of the game.

That, however, was too little, too late for City College (8-8, 3-2) as, after the Knights struck for three runs in the sixth inning to close the Comets' lead to 10-5, Palomar relievers Ryan Semon (left) and Cameron Haskell slammed the door on the visitors the rest of the way.

Semon pitched scoreless ball over the seventh and eighth innings, allowing one hit, striking out two and walking none. Haskell finished with a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning that consisted of a strikeout and two groundballs.

Grant Buck (right) contributed three of the Comets' hits, going 3-for-4 with a triple, two singles and a walk. He had both Palomar's hits over the final seven innings, a single in the sixth and a triple in the eighth. 

The first two innings reatured a double, single and two RBIs by Haskell at designated hitter; two doubles and three RBIs, all in the second inning, by Tristan King, whose second double cleared the bases for three runs; and two singles and an RBI by Marco Young.

Connor Zalewski (3-1) notched the pitching win, striking out five over the the first five-plus innings before the Knights struck for three unearned runs in the top of the sixth.

Palomar and San Diego City will close out their three-game conference series on Saturday at noon at Morley Field in San Diego's Balboa Park.

BOX

Sidney (no-hitter thru 6), Buck, Cooper lead PC

SAN DIEGO (3-14-2017) -- Josh Sidney (left) pitched 6 innings of no-hit ball to advance to 2-0 and his teammates supported him with a 12-hit attack led by Grant Buck (right) and Joey Cooper on Tuesday.

Along gthe way, Palomar returned to the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference victory column by beating San Diego City College 8-3 at Morley Field.

Buck (right) and Cooper pounded out 6 hits between them and the Comets ran their record to 14-6, 6-1 in the PCAC, handing the Knights their first conference loss.

Buck went 3-for-5 with a 2-run home run, 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Cooper also was 3-for-5, contributing 2 doubles, 3 runs scored and a stolen base.

Palomar staked Sidney to an 8-0 lead before Travis Marinshaw relieved him to begin the seventh inning after Sidney hit the 100-pitch count. Coach Buck Taylor made a series of substitutions at the same time, but the Comets' defense could not support Marinshaw, making 2 errors and non-plays in the inning to go along with a passed ball.

City College scored all 3 of its runs on 3 hits in the inning. Kevin Palm then came on to get the Comets out of the inning and finished the game by retiring the Knights' last 7 batters.

Sidney, Marinshaw and Palm combined to throw a 3-hitter.

Also for Palomar, Jordan Gardner, Cameron Haskell and Conor McKenna also doubled. Gabe Willes added a single, an RBI and a stolen base. Tristan King and Juwan Maxwell contributed singles.

The Comets and Knights will resume their 3-game conference series on Thursday at Palomar College Ballpark, beginning at 2 p.m. They'll close out the series back at Morley Field on Saturday at noon.

Palomar's Jared Montoya is tagged out by San Bernardino Valley's Toby Rainwater in a rundown after the batter was unable to make contact on a sixth-inning squeeze attempton Saturday. -- Photo by Philip Farry

Comets blow game with one forgettable inning

SAN MARCOS (3-11-2016) -- Palomar saw what would have been its seventh straight baseball win go down the drain on Saturday when the Comets imploded for one inning and lost to San Bernardino Valley 8-6 in a stunning upset at Palomar College Ballpark.

The Wolverines, who came into the game 1-18 but looked far better than a one-win team when they lost to the Comets on Tuesday and Thursday to fall behind in the teams' three-game Pacific Coast Athletic Conference series, struck for six runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-4 lead.

The Comets, who had taken a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning, battled back to answer with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but that was as close as they would get as they saw their record dip to 13-6.

For Palomar, Carl Schwettman went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, Tristan King went 2-for-2 with an RBI and Grant Buck was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Cameron Haskell doubled to drive in a run, Jordan Gardner cointributed a double and a sacrifice bunt, Marco Young had an RBI single and a sacrifice bunt, Jonathan Vizcaino doubled and Gabe Willes singled.

Young made a spectacular diving catch in centerfield to rob the Wolverines' Adrian Rossell of a hit in the fifth inning.

PC beats SBVC again, is 5-0 in PCAC

SAN BERNARDINO (3-09-2017) -- Palomar is off to a 5-win, 0-loss start in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball after defeating San Bernardino Valley for the second time in three days 8-4 on Thursday.

The Comets (13-5 with a 6-game win streak) led 8-1 going into the bottom of the ninth when the Wolverines scored 3 runs to make the game appear closer than it really was.

Starting pitcher Conner Zalewski, a freshman right-hander from Kelani High School in Honolulu, threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing only 3 hits, before leaving the game with a 2-1 lead. He picked up the victory to run his win-loss record to 2-1.

Andrew White, Tanner Roberts and Kevin Palm had scoreless outings in relief.

Marco Young (2-for-4, double, 3 RBIs) and Jared Montoya (2-for-3, hit by pitch) had multiple-hit games for Palomar. Carl Schwettman was 1-for-2 with an RBI double, a sacrifice bunt and a walk. Tristan King went 1-for 3 with a double and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Gabe Willes went 1-for-2 with an RBI single, a sacrifice bunt and a walk.

Joey Cooper had an RBI single and a walk, Conor McKenna contributed an RBI single and Edgar Morales also singled, rounding out a 11-hit attack against 3 San Bernardino Valley pitchers.

The Comets will return home to Palomar College Ballpark at noon Saturday when the try to sweep their 3-game PCAC series from the Wolverines.

TOP PHOTO: Palomar catcher Tristan King tags out San Bernardino Valley's Toby Rainwater at the plate in the first inning. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Jonathan Vizcaino, who pitched scoreless ball over the final 3 1/3 innings to record his third save, tags out the Wolverines' Anthony Fernandez, who tried to bunt for a base hit to lead off the eighth. The Comets won 11-5. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC breaks game open late, is 4-0 in PCAC

SAN MARCOS (3-07-2017) -- Palomar struggled with visiting San Bernardino Valley on Tuesday over six sloppy innings, then broke the game open late to win 11-5 and advance to 4-0 in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball.

Leading 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh at Palomar College Ballpark, the Comets finally gained some separation over the Wolverines on a perfect two-strike squeeze bunt with one out in the inning by Gabe Willes.

Grant Buck, who had walked, advanced on a wild pitch and gone to third on Conor McKenna's sacrifice bunt, scored on the squeeze play. And when San Bernardino pitcher Isaiah Bernal fielded the ball but couldn't make a play, Willes had a base hit to go with the RBI that put Palojmar up 7-5.

Palomar tacked on 4 runs in the bottom of the eighth to turn the game into a blowout.

All this came on a day Buck went 2-for-4 with a 2-run home run, a double, 2 runs scored and 4 RBIs; Jordan Gardner added a double and a single and gunned down a runner at the plate on a perfect throw from left field; Ryan Semon worked 3 2/3 effective relief innings to run his pitching record to 5-0; and Jonathan Vizcaino threw 1-hit ball over the final 3 1/3 innings to record his third save.

The floodgates opened in the bottom of the eighth after the first 2 Palomar batters struck out. After Marco Young singled and Cameron Haskell drew a walk, Buck drove in 2 runs with a double to right, followed by doubles to right by McKenna and pinch-hitter Marc Sauceda to drive in 1 run each.

McKenna had a most productive day at the plate for the Comets, going 2-for-2 with the double and a single, reaching base as a hit batter and on a walk and adding the sacrifice bunt that preceded Willes' squeeze bunt. Young also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning, and Juwan Maxwell contributed a 2-run single in the second inning.

Palomar, which will visit San Bernardino in the second game of the 3-game PCAC series on Thursday at 2 p.m. and will close the series against the Wolverines back at Palomar College Ballpark at noon Saturday, ran its season record to 12-5. The Comets have a 5-game winning streak.

Palomar third baseman Connor McKenna appears to tag Mt. San Jacinto's Brock Partain with plenty of daylight between Partain and the bag in the fourth inning on Saturday. But the base umpire called Partain safe on the play. -- Photo by Philip Farry

PC wins 11-1 as Haskell and Norton drive in 9

SAN MARCOS (3-04-2017) -- Palomar swept its conference-opening three-game series from Mt. San Jacinto 3 games to 0, winning 11-1 on Saturday as University of Arizona-bound Cameron Haskell and Cody Norton combined to drive in 9 runs.

Haskell went 3-for-4 with a 3-run home run, 2 singles and 5 RBIs and also reached base as a hit batter. Norton was 2-for-3 with a 3-run double, a single, a sacrifice fly and 4 RBIs.

The Comets won the first two games of the series 14-6 and 12-0, both in San Jacinto, and are 11-5 on the season and 3-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

The teams were tied 1-1 with left-handers Nate Stilinovich from Palomar and Kaycee Garcia of Mt. San Jac locked up in a pitchers' duel when the Comets edged in front 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Joey Cooper reached base as a hit batter, advanced on a Jordan Gardner sacrifice bunt and scored when Haskell singled sharply to right.

Palomar knocked Garcia out of the game in the bottom of the seventh, scoring 7 times to take a 9-1 lead in an inning that was highlighted by Norton's 3-run double to leftfield and Haskell's 3-run home run over the rightfield fence at Palomar College Ballpark.

An error, a walk to pinch-hitter Marco Young, Norton's sacrifice fly and another Haskell single to right allowed the Comets to score the game's final 2 runs in the last half of the eighth.

Kevin Palm (1-1) relieved former Murrieta Mesa High teammate Stillinovich to begin the sixth and threw 2 scoreless innings to record the win. Stilinovich, Palm, Jonathan Vizcaino and George Chapman combined to pitch a 6-hitter. Vizcaino and Chapman pitched 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively.

Anthony Garcia hit a solo homer to left to lead off the fourth inning to account for the Eagles' only run. Mt. San Jac fell to 3-14, 0-3 in conference.

Semon goes to 4-0; Comets rock MSJ 12-0

SAN JACINTO (3-02-2017) -- Ryan Semon (left) came on to begin the second inning and threw four scoreless innings in relief on Thursday as Palomar pinned a 12-0 beatdown on host Mt. San Jacinto.

Semon ran his pitching record to 4-0 with an ERA of 0.40 for 23 1/3 innings

Starter Connor Zalewski, Semon, Travis Marinshaw, Andrew White, Kevin Palm and Cameron Haskell combined to pitch a 4-hit shutout as the Comets improved their record to 10-5, 2-0 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Coach Buck Taylor used 23 players and got all 18 of the Comets' position players in the game as Palomar defeated Mt. San Jac for the second time in 2 days by a combined 26 runs to 6.

Conor McKenna (right) paced an 11-hit attack for Palomar by going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and 2 RBIs. Juwan Maxwell went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Joey Cooper singled, walked and drove in 2 runs. Haskell singled, drove in a run, walked and scored 2 runs. Gabe Willis, Christian Colon, Carl Schwettmann, Grant Buck and Edgar Morales also hit safely.

The Comets will try to sweep the teams' conference-opening 3-game series on Saturday when they host the Eagles at Palomar College Ballpark, beginning at noon.

Willes, Sidney, Montoya lift PC in PCAC opener

SAN MARCOS (3-01-2007) -- Visiting Palomar rocked Mt. San Jacinto 14-6 to begin Pacific Coast Athletic Confernce baseball play on Wednesday.

Gabe Willes (left) went 3-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and 3 RBIs to pace a 16-hit attack and starter Josh Sidney (right) pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits to record the win.

Sidney, a redshirt freshman from Torrey Pines and a transfer from Valparaiso University, retired the last 12 batters he faced. The Comets opened up a 10 to lead over the Eagles and coasted in.

Other multiple-hit contributors for Palomar (9-5, 1-0) were Jared Montoya (3-for-6 with a double), Grant Buck (2-for 4 with 2 RBIs and 2 walks), Joey Cooper (2-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a sacrifice bunt) and Jordan Gardner (2-for-5 with a walk).

Jonathan Vizcaino pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Comets and, at the late, was 1-for-2 with a 2-run double. Conor McKenna was 1-for-2 with 2 walks. Cameron Haskell singled, walked and drove in a run with a ground ball to the right side. Tristan King also singled.

The Comets and Eagles will play again on Thursday at 2 p.m., also at Mt. San Jacinto, and will close out their 3-game opening-week series on Saturday with a noon game at Palomar College Ballpark.

Cameron Haskell, shown rounding the bases at Palomar College Ballpark after his third-inning home run in a 6-1 victory over Fullerton on Feb. 25, has accepted a scholarship to the University of Arizona. He took his recruiting visit last week, then signed with the Wildcats. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Haskell signs with Arizona; 3 Comets to D-I so far

SAN MARCOS (2-28-2017) -- Sophomore designated hitter/pitcher Cameron Haskell, who took his recruiting visit to the University of Arizona last week, has signed with the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound sophomore, a product of Chaparral High School in Temecula who transferred to Palomar in the off-season after playing last season for UC Riverside, becomes the third current Comet to sign with a Division I university.

Mike Benson, a Rancho Buena Vista High School product and the Comets' starting catcher last season, previously signed with Arizona. Benson, who is sitting out the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, originally signed with UCLA out of Rancho Buena Vista High School but left the Bruins' program before the 2016 season.

The third Comet to sign a D-I letter of intent, first baseman and Carlsbad High product Grant Buck, will play for Houston Baptist.

Haskell is hitting .345 through 13 games with 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 15 RBIs and a .582 slugging percentage. His best games as a Comet to date came in an 8-7 victory over  2016 CCCAA state runner-up Golden West on Jan. 28 in Palomar's home opener and last Wednesday on the road vs. Orange Coast, the 2014 and 2015 state champion.

Haskell went 4-for-5 with a double, a single, a 2-run walk-off home run and 3 RBIs vs. Golden West. Against Orange Coast, he went 4-for-6 with 2 doubles, a single, a 3-run home run and 6 RBIs in leading Palomar to a 13-4 victory.

On the mound, he has a 2.70 ERA with a 1-1 record and a save.

At UC Riverside last season as a true freshman, Haskell played in 21 games, hitting .288 highlighted by a 3-for-3 performance that led the Highlanders to an 8-3 victory over San Diego State on May 17. He also appeared in 9 games as a relief pitcher.

According to Haskell's 2016 UC Riverside media guide bio, Haskell is a descendent of Davey Crockett and Juan Ponce de Leon.

Haskell and Benson will follow in the footsteps of one of Palomar's all-time great players at Arizona. Shortstop Jim Scranton, who played for the Comets under the late Jim Clayton, played for the Wildcats on a College World Series team and went on from there to play Major League Baseball for the Kansas City Royals.

Benson hit .363 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 29 RBIs for the Comets last season, appearing in 34 games. In 13 games this season, Buck is batting .294 as a sophomore with 6 doubles and 15 RBIs.

Comets pound out 18 hits, send Sac City packing

SAN MARCOS (2-25-2017) -- Led by Cody Norton (left), who went 3-for-3 with a home run, double, two walks, two RBIs and four runs scored, Palomar ruined the last day of Sacramento City College's Southern California trip Saturday, knocking out 18 hits in a 14-4 victory.

The Comets now will conclude a huge week RPI wise on Sunday at 11 a.m., when they go on the road to play a rain make-up against Fullerton, which is 10-4 after rocking San Diego Mesa's world 20-1 with a 20-hit attack and a combined one-hitter on Saturday. It will be Coach Buck Taylor's team's final warm-up for its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener on Tuesday at Mt. San Jacinto.

The Panthers, with back-to-back victories on their trip south, at 2016 state runner-up Golden West on Thursday and at Palomar on Friday, brought a 9-3 record into Saturday's game and led early 1-0.

But the Comets (8-5 vs. one of the state's toughest schedules) anwered back with three runs in the third inning, two in the fourth, six in the bottom of the seventh and two in the eighth inning.

George Chapman (right), a 6-foot-6 freshman from Oceanside High School and the third of five Palomar pitchers on the day, recorded his first college win by retiring five of the six batters he faced, striking out two. Starter Nate Stilnovich allowed three runs over the first 4 2/3 innings before Chapman, Tanner Roberts, Devin Castro and Stephen Rausa combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings the rest of the way.

Along with Norton, six other Comets also had multiple-hit performances. Cameron Haskell went 2-for-3 with a double, a single and two RBIs. He also reached base twice as a hit batter and stole home on a double steal with Jawan Maxwell in the seventh inning.

Ryan Hartin went  2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Austen Salcedo was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Jonathan Vizcaino was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and drew two walks, one with the bases loaded. Jared Montoya went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a sacrifice bunt and was hit by a pitch. Carl Schwettmann was 2-for-4 and drove in a run.

Palomar players with one hit each were Anthony Ignatsu (1-for-2, double, hit by pitch, walk) and Marc Sauceda (RBI single).Palomar stranded 12 runners, but 30 Comets reached as far as second base.

Palomar second baseman Gabe Willes guns down Sac City's Auston Chastain at first base in the top of the fifth inning on Friday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Palomar loses a tight one to Sacramento

SAN MARCOS (2-24-2017) -- Visiting Sacramento City College began its two-game series with Palomar's baseball team by edging the Comets in a 6-5 squeaker at Palomar College Ballpark.

The Comets, trailing by a run, had pulled even in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double to rightfield by freshman second baseman Gabe Willes.

Connor McKenna walked with two outs and Willes drove him in. Willes went to third on the throw to the plate but, after a walk to pinch-hitter Marc Sauceda, Sacramento pitcher Billy Babb got out of the inning by coaxing Tristan King to fly out to right, stranding both Willes and pinch-runner Austen Salcedo.

Willes led the Comets by going 2-for-4 with 2 doubles, a run scored and the RBI. Jordan Gardner went 2-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt. Grant Buck doubled in a pair of run, King contributed a sacrifice fly, Cameron Haskel singled and picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice, and Marco Young had a bunt single.

Connor Zalewski, the Palomar starter, allowed one run over the first 5 innings. Zach Wallace, the fourth of five pitchers utilized by coach Buck Taylor, pitched one inning and retired the Panthers in order.

Left fielder Joey Cooper made a circus catch.

Sacramento, which began its road trip with a win at last year's state runnerup Golden West on Thursday, ran its record to 9-3, while the Comets slipped to 7-5 against what could be the toughest schedule in the state.

The two teams will conclude their series on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Palomar College Ballpark.

Haskell, Semon lead PC to rout of Orange Coast

COSTA MESA (2-21-2017) -- Cameron Haskell (left) went 4-for-6 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs and Ryan Semon (right) pitched seven strong relief innings to advance his win-loss record to 3-0 on Tuesday, lifting visiting Palomar to a 13-4 non-conference baseball victory over Orange Coast.

Facing a team that had steamrolled everyone in its path to start the season 10-1, the Comets stunned the Pirates by scoring eight runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back.

Haskell, who is taking his recruiting trip to the University of Arizona on Tuesday, doubled to drive in a run, then singled in two more runs as Palomar sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the first. He also slugged a three-run home run over the rightfield fence at Wendell Pickens field in the third inning and doubled in the top of the ninth.

Meanwhile, Semon came on in relief with none out and the bases loaded in the second and pitched seven dominant innings.

The red-shirt freshman left-hander from Valley Center High School allowed only an unearned run on a lone infield hit, a seventh-inning chopper to the left side off the bat of Orange Coast's Luke Hussung. Conor McKenna, charging in from shortstop, couldn't find a handle and wisely held onto the ball.

Semon, who has not allowed an earned run all season, retired 15 batters in a row leading up to Hussung's hit.

The Comets jumped right on Orange Coast starter Cameron Jabara, who came in with a 3-0 record, to begin the game.

Joey Cooper (2-for-6 for the day) doubled. Jordan Gardner (1-for-2 while reaching twice as a hit batter) bunted for a single. Haskell doubled, driving in Cooper. With one out, McKenna (2-for-4, hit by pitch, sacrifice fly) singled to drive in Gardner and Haskell. Jonathan Vizcaino (3-for-5) singled. Gabe Willes singled to drive in McKenna. Tristan King singled, scoring Vizcaino. An error on the throw to first on a drag bunt by Marco Young (2-for-5, 2 doubles, RBI) allowed Willes to score.

That brought Palomar back to the top of the order. After Cooper lined out to the shortstop, Gardner was hit by a pitch. And Haskell, batting for the second time in the inning, singled do drive in King and Young.

Grant Buck went 2-for-6 with a double. In all, the Comets banged out 18 hits off three Orange Coast pitchers.

Prior to the regularly-scheduled game, the teams completed their Feb. 10 game, which was suspended because of darkness with Orange Coast coming to bat in the top of the ninth inning and the Comets leading the Pirates 5-4. When the game resumed, Orange Coast tied the game with a run in the ninth and went on to win in 12 innings 8-7. For the game, Buck wound up going 3-for-5 with two RBIs. McKenna was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Cooper went 2-for-4.

Haskell, who had worked the final 2/3 of an inning to get the Comets out of the Orange Coast eighth on Feb. 10, went back to the mound on Tuesday, surrendered the tying run in the ninth but then pitched three additional scoreless innings before coming out of the game.

After playing five straight games on the road, The Comets will return to Palomar College Ballpark at the week to play a two-game series with Sacramento City College at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.

Comets cool off under lights on the road

GLENDALE (2-16-2017) -- Palomar saw its baseball hot streak come to a screeching halt on the road against Glendale College on Thursday at Casey Stengal Field.

Playing for the first time under the lights since a victory over Fresno City College on opening night of the CCCAA State Championship Final Four two years ago in Fresno, the Comets dropped both games of a non-conference doubleheader vs. the Vaqueros, losing 3-2 in the afternoon and 12-2 at night.

Glendale (7-3), ranked No. 3 in Southern California in the pre-season (Palomar was ranked fifth), was bunting and stealing bases vs. coach Buck Taylor's Palomar reserves when the second game was out of reach late. The Comets fell to 6-3 on the season.

 Taylor used 10 pitchers in the night game, four of them making their first appearances of the year, as the Vaqueros turned a 5-2 game in the middle innings into a blowout.

Palomar's most notable performance of the doubleheader came in the bottom of the eighth inning of the nightcap after the final PC pitcher to appear in a 2017 game, 5-foot-7 freshman left-hander Stephen Rausa (left) out of Vista Murrieta High School, likely earned himself more innings by retiring Glendale in order on a strikeout, a pop-up to second baseman Gabe Willes and another strikeout.

The two teams will first finish their Feb. 10 game, which was suspended due to darkness with the host Comets leading 5-4 and the Pirates coming to bat in the top of the ninth. Then they'll play a regularly-scheduled game at 2 p.m.

Comets advance to 6-1 with victory over Tigers

RIVERSIDE (2-15-2017) -- Palomar got another strong relief performance from Ryan Semon on Wednesday as the Comets defeated host Riverside City College 6-1 to record their sixth victory in seven games to begin the 2017 season.

Seamon (left), a redshirt freshman left-hander from Valley Center High School, came on to begin the bottom of the fifth and pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief to go to 2-0 on the season.

Starter Josh Sidney, Semon and Kevin Palm combined to limit the Tigers (7-5) to one run on eight hits, striking out seven. Semon has thrown 10 innings in four appearances, allowing a single unearned run for an ERA of 0.00.

Palomar took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on as Cody Norton (right) singled to drive in the first run, Grant Buck doubled to drive in the second run and Jared Montoya drove in the third run on a squeeze play sacrifice bunt.

Marco Young, Cameron Haskell and Joey Cooper had the Comets' other hits.

Palomar will play a doubleheader on the road on Thursday at Glendale. The Comets were originally scheduled to host Glendale on Thursday at Palomar College Ballpark and visit Glendale on Saturday, but the schedule was readjusted because of the impending rainstorm expected to arrive on Friday and drench Southern California.

Marco Young, who had singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, slides in safely at home on Cameron Haskell's RBI single in the sixth inning of Palomar's 6-1 victory over visiting Fullerton on Thursday. The Comets will put their 5-1 record on the line against Orange Coast (6-0) on Friday at 2 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets win again, to host 6-0 Orange Coast

SAN MARCOS (2-09-2017) -- Coach Buck Taylor's Palomar baseball team kept a good thing going on Thursday, turning back visiting Fullerton 6-1 behind a combined five-hitter thrown by Connor Zalewski, Devin Castro and Kevin Palm.

Leftfielder and leadoff hitter Joey Cooper went 3-for-5 and Cameron Haskell slugged his second home run as the Comets ran their record to 5 wins and 1 loss in the non-conference matchup at Palomar College Ballpark. The Hornets had the same record coming in as the Comets, 5-1.

The win sets up a big early-season match-up with another red-hit team, Orange Coast, which will bring a 6-0 record to town to face the Comets on Friday at 2 p.m. after a 9-1 victory Thursday over a 4-1 Long Beach City College club.

Zalewski, a 6-foot-3 freshman right-hander from Kalani High School in Honolulu, retired the first 11 Fullerton batters and wound up allowing one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. Palm recorded the save with three innings of hitless, scoreless ball.

Palomar went on front 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning when Cooper led off with a drag-bunt single and came around to score on Grant Bunt's single through the right side. From there, the Comets didn't let up, pushing across another run in the second inning and two more third, when Haskell led off the inning with a towering home run over the rightfield fence.

Palomar also added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings as the Comets pounded out 15 hits off three Fulleton pitchers. Haskell (2-for-5, 2 RBIs), and Conor McKenna (also 2-for-5), Jared Montoya (2-for-3) and Marco Young (2-for-4, 1 RBI)  joined Cooper with multiple hits.

Jordan Gardner, Anthony Inatsugu and Tristan King each added a single.

Comets blitz state favorites on 4-hit shutout

PALM DESERT (2-04-2017) -- Joey Cooper (left) went 3-for-4 to pace a 12-hit attack and three Palomar pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout as the Comets blanked state championship favorite Cypress 7-0 on Saturday in the David Buttles Memorial Tournament.

Josh Sydney, Ryan Semon and Jonathan Vizcaino (right) teamed up to throw the shutout to close out the tournament at College of the Desert's Ted Hamilton Field as the Comets advanced to 4-1 and the Chargers suffered their first loss in falling to 4-1.

Semon entered the game with one out in the fourth and pitched the next 1 2/3 innings to record the pitching win, and Vizcaino earned the save with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless, no-hit ball.

Vizcaino struck out six batters and allowed only one baserunner, on a sixth-inning walk. He retired the last 10 Cypress batters in order.

Cooper contributed an RBI double in the top of the sixth among his three hits. Jared Montoya doubled to drive in a run, while Grant Buck contributed an RBI single to go along with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Conor McKenna had a single, sacrifice bunt and also reached base as a hit batter. Marco Young had a single and an RBI fielder's choice.

Cameron Haskell, Edgar Morales, Marc Sauceda and Tristan King had one single each as nine different Comets hit safely.

Lasers upset PC after Comets' 3-0 start

PALM DESERT (2-03-2017) -- Upstart Irvine Valley College cooled off Palomar's baseball team after the Comets' 3-0 start to begin the season on Friday, winning 5-1 after the Comets spent the afternoon missing scoring chances.

The Comets stranded 13 men on base and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning in their first of two games on the weekend in the David Buttles Memorial Tournament at College of the Desert's Ted Hamilton Field.

The Lasers led 2-1 going into the top of the ninth after the Comets outhit them 9-5 over the first eight innings, then were able to push across three runs.

"We have to learn from this," Palomar coach Buck Taylor said. "I thought we came out a little flat and they wanted it more than us. We got great defense all afternoon but we weren't aggressive at all at the plate and couldn't get hits when we needed them with runners in scoring position. We beat ourselves."

The defensive play of the day came from shortstop Jared Montoya, who made a spectacular diving stop of a ball off the bat of Irvine Valley's Ryan Rafferty in the top of the eighth and gunned down Rafferty at first.

"That was a big-league play," Taylor said.

Edgar Morales (above left) went 2-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt for Palomar and drove in the Comets' only run with one out in the third inning, scoring Jordan Gardner, who had singled and stolen second, with a single down the rightfield line. After a walk to Cameron Haskell put runners at first and second, a double play got the Lasers out of the inning.

Gardner (above right) reached base four times for Palomar as he singled twice, was hit by a pitch and walked.

Palomar starter Nate Stillinovich pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one baserunner on a walk, before allowing a run on a throwing error on three hits in the top of the fourth. That was all the offense Irvine Valley could muster until the top of the ninth.

Kevin Palm pitched three scoreless relief innings , allowing only one baserunner on a single with two out in the seventh. He struck out three.

Tanner Roberts, the winner in relief, delivers a pitch in Palomar's come-from-behind 4-3 victory over visiting Riverside City College on Wednesday. Connor Zalewski, Davin Castro, Roberts, Ryan Semon and Cameron Haskell, who notched a save, combined on a four-hitter. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets come back again, top RCC to go 3-0

SAN MARCOS (2-01-2017) -- Palomar put itself in a hole surrendering three unearned runs to fall behind early in the game, then rallied to down visiting Riverside City College 4-3 on Wednesday behind the four-hit pitching of Connor Zalewski, Davin Castro, Tanner Roberts, Ryan Semon and Cameron Haskell.

Coach Buck Taylor's club, trailing 3-0 after two innings, scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Tristan King and Gabe Willes, Carl Schwettmann's double to center which drove in two runs, Jonathan Vizcaino's RBI single to center to tie the game and a two-out double to rightfield by Grant Buck which drove in the winning run.

Roberts recorded the win by coming in with two outs and two on in the sixth inning to get the Tigers' Eduardo Martinez to fly out to centerfield. Semon, in his second strong relief appearance of in five days, followed with three innings of one-hit, scoreless ball to set up Haskell, who came on to throw a scoreless ninth inning to notch the save.

Schwettmann went 2-for-4 with his two-run double and Vizcaino was 2-for-4 with his run-scoring single.

Palomar will return to action this weekend at the David Buttles Memorial Tournament at College of the Desert where the Comets will play two games -- facing Irvine Valley on Friday at 2 p.m. and Cypress on Saturday at the same time.

ABOVE: Freshman Ryan Semon out of Valley Center High School delivers a pitch for Palomar in Saturday's home-opening win over 2016 state runner-up Golden West. Semon and three other relievers pitched seven dominant innings, surrendering only a lone unearned run, after the Comets had fallen behind 6-0. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Cameron Haskell, the winning pitcher, who went 4-for-5 at the plate and won the game with a walk-off 2-run homer

PC, down 6-0, wins on Haskell's walk-off HR

SAN MARCOS (1-28-2017) -- Cameron Haskell, a sophomore out of Chaparral High in Temecula and a transfer from UC Riverside, deposited the last pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning over the rightfield fence for a walk-off two-run home run at Palomar College Ballpark on Saturday.

That gave the Comets, who trailed 6-0 early, an 8-7 come-from-behind victory over visiting Golden West, the 2016 state tournament runner-up, and a sweep of the teams' two-game series.

Haskell who began the game as Palomar's designated hitter before coming on in the top of the ninth to retire the visitors 1-2-3 with the Comets down 7-6, went 4-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and the game-winning HR -- and notched the pitching win.

The Comets cut the Rustlers' early lead to 6-4 with four runs in the bottom of the second, with the rally highlighted by Christian Colon's two-run single.

That's when Palomar relievers Ryan Semon, Tanner Roberts, Connor Zalewski and Haskell started slamming the door on Golden West's hitters, allowing only a lone unearned by pitching seven innings of three-hit ball.

Semon threw three shutout innings, followed by Roberts (one inning, Zalewski (two innings) and Haskell (one inning). Counting the last two outs by Semon in the fifth, the Comet bullpen retired the Rustlers' last 14 batters.

Palomar banged out 12 hits off four Golden West pitcher. Christian Colon (2-for-4, two RBI) joined Haskell with multiple hits. Eric Charles, Joey Cooper, Grant Buck, Carl Schwettmann, Jared Montoya and Gabe Willes each had one hit.

Austin Salcedo, running for Colon in the seventh inning, was the base-running star of the day. Salcedo took off on a wild pick-off attempt, kept going all the way to third and forced a throwing error by Golden West's rightfielder to score on the play.

Comets open by routing state runner-up

HUNTINGTON BEACH (1-27-2017) -- Getting a 3-for-4 hitting performance from Jordan Gardner (left) and a combined 5-hitter from pitchers Nate Silinovich, Kevin Palm and Jonathan Vizcaino, Palomar opened its 2017 baseball season on Friday by shelling 2016 state tournament runner up Golden West 8-1.

The Comets will play their home opener against this same Golden West team on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark.

Grant Buck (right, 2-for-4, 2 doubles) and Conor McKenna (2-for-4, double, walk) also had multiple hits for the Comets, who banged out 14 hits off three Rustler pitchers.

Cody Norton singled to centerfield to drive in McKenna, aboard on a single, to give Palomar a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth and the Comets never looked back in playing nearly-flawless baseball offensively, defensively, running the bases and on the mound.

Palomar added two more runs in the third on an RBI ground ball by Jared Montoya and and a run-scoring single off the bat of Khyle Schwettmann. the Comets then tacked on three more runs in the seventh, one in the eighth and one more in the top of the ninth.

Meanwhile, Silinovich (freshman left-hander from 2016 CIF Southern Section Division I champion Murrieta Mesa), Kevin Palm (freshman right-hander from Murrieta Mesa) and Jonathan Vizcaino (sophomore right-hander form San Diego Francis Parker), dominated the Rustlers in a game that took only 2 hours, 25 minutes. Palm notched the win and Vizcaino threw the final three innings for the save.

Also hitting safely for coach Buck Taylor's club: UC Riverside transfer Cameron Haskell with a single and 2 sacrifice flies, Tristan King with a double and Montoya and San Diego State tansfer Stone Scoppettuolo with singles.

Comets will open with 2016 state runner-up

SAN MARCOS  (1-20-2017) -- Under coach Buck Taylor (left), Palomar won five consecutive Pacific Coast Athletic Conference titles from 2011 through 2015, capped by a third-place finish in the CCCAA State tournament two years ago when the Comets entered the Final Four ranked second in the nation.

After slipping to second place in the conference a year ago, the Comets will attempt to return to their familiar championship ways during the 2017 season, which will begin next week when they visit last year's state runner-up Golden West on Friday at 2 p.m. at GWC's Fred Hoover Field, then will host the Rustlers on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark. Golden West was beaten by Santa Rosa in last season's state championship game.

Once again, the Comets will face one of the toughest community college schedules in both the state and the nation as they'll face teams that have won a combined 30 California state chamionships between them:

 -- Cerritos (state champions in 1966, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1985, 1987 and 1989): Game on Tue., Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at Cerritos' Wally Kincaid Field

-- Riverside City College (state champions in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2007): Games on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark and Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. at Riverside City College Sports Center's Evans Field

-- Cypress (state champions in 1991, 1994, 1997, 2003 and 2013): Game on Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. at College of the Desert's Hamilton Field in the David Buttles Memorial Tournament

-- Orange Coast (state champions in 1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014 and 2015): Games on Feb 7 at 2 p.m. at Palomar College Ballpark and Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at Orange Coast's Wendall Pickens Field

-- Sacramento City College (state champions in 1951, 1953, 1988, 1998 and 1999): Games on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 25 at noon at Palomar College Ballpark

-- Los Angeles Valley (state champions in 1982): Game on March 31 at 2 p.m. at L.A. Valley College Baseball Field

Taylor's teams have won seven conference championships since he was named head coach of the Comets prior to the 2006 season (in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). He also was the associate head coach under California Community Hall of Fame coach Bob Vetter in Vetter's final season in 2005, when the Comets placed second in the CCCAA state tournament, losing to Santa Rosa in the championship game.

Off-Season ...

Ex-Comet Dr. John Parry passes away at 50

ST. PETERSBURG, VA (12-06-2016) -- Former Palomar and San Diego State third baseman Dr. John Parry, a professor and published research scientist at Virginia State University, died Monday evening at age 50 after a sudden illness.

Dr. Parry played alongside older brother Bob Parry both under coach Bob Vetter at Palomar and then at San Diego State. In his freshman season as a Comet, in 1985, John Parry hit .398, at the time the third-best single-season batting average in Palomar history behind Randy Burger's .445 in 1981 and Leon Hartley's .406 in 1955.

After his sophomore season of 1986, he accepted a scholarship to SDSU where he and his  brother Bob Parry, a second-team All-American outfielder for the Aztecs before playing three season in the Oakland A's organization, were teammates in 1987 for coach Jim Deitz.

"J.P. was a great person, and a great baseball player as well," Bob Parry, now head baseball coach at Poway High School, posted on Facebook later Monday night. "He was a great brother and friend. He ran a food science lab at Virginia State for many years. Through his research on cancer, and the journals he published, many people benefited."

Bob Parry posted that his brother was taken to the emergency room last Wednesday and was taken off life support on Friday.

John Parry was born in San Diego on Feb. 16, 1966. He came to Palomar from Mt. Carmel High School, where he played for another ex-Comet baseball player, Sam Blalock, now the head coach at Rancho Bernardo and the winningest high school coach in San Diego County history.

After his college baseball career, John Parry went on to receive his Bachelors degree from San Diego State, his Masters in Nutritional Science from Cal State University Chico and his PhD in Food Science from the University of Maryland in 2006. Later that same year, he joined the Virginia State University faculty as an assistant professor.

According to his biography on the Virginia State University web site, his published research interests included  "Relationships between food and obesity, diabetes and cancer."



Jason McLeod, the Chicago Cubs' Senior Vice President / Player Development and Amateur Scouting, pitched for coach Bob Vetter at Palomar in 1990. He's credited for having a major role in building the Cubs' current team, which Wednesday night won the franchise's first World Series title since 1908. McLeod has been signed by the Cubs to a contract extension through 2021. -- Courtesy photo

World Series ring for ex-Comet McLeod

CLEVELAND, Ohio (11-02-2016) -- California Community College Hall of Fame inductee and retired Palomar baseball coach Bob Vetter isn't a Chicago Cubs fan. But he's a fan of one of his former Palomar pitchers, Jason McLeod. And he said Wednesday afternoon that he wanted the Cubs to win the World Series, because "I'd like to see Jason get a (World Championship) ring."

That's exactly what happened when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings in the seventh game Wednesday night at Progressive Field, winning their first World Series title since 1908. Earlier in the day, the Cubs extended McLeod's contract as Senior Vice President / Player Development and Amateur Scouting, for five years, through 2021.

McLeod, then known by his birth name of "Robert McLeod", pitched for Vetter and the Comets as a freshman right-hander out of Rancho Buena Vista High School during the 1990 season. He was drafted by the Houston Astros out of Palomar as the 13th player taken in the 44th round of the 1991 Amateur Player Draft.

McLeod pitched one season in the Houston organization, going 4-3 with a 1.93 ERA for the Rookie classification Gulf Coast League Astros in 1991.

He made his pro baseball front office debut as an intern with the San Diego Padres in the Baseball Operations Department in 1994, held several positions before spending three seasons as a minor league coach, then returned to the front office as Assistant Director of Scouting and Player Development. He was a Southern California area scout from 2002-2003 before leaving to follow Padres executive Theo Epstein to the Boston Red Sox the following year. McLeod was Boston's Director of Amateur Scouting from 2005 through 2009, returning to the Padres as Vice President / Asstant General Manager.

McLeod, a teammate with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts at Rancho Buena Vista, great grand-nephew of Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell and former son-in-law of ex-Padres owner Moors, accepted his current position with the Cubs in 2011, following Epstein to a new challenge.

2016 list of 4-year transfers reaches 16

SAN MARCOS (8-18-2016): Palomar's list of four-year university baseball scholarship players from its 2016 team reached 16 on Monday when outfielder Shane Olson signed with St. Katherine.

This came one week after Carlsbad High's Effrin Medina, who played multiple positions at Palomar, signed with NCAA Division II University of Texas Permian Basin and Poway High's Thomas Brunansky, a right-handed pitcher, signed with St. Katherine.

Carlsbad High product Olson appeared in 20 games for the 2016 Comets, starting 10 of them.

Medina (Carlsbad High) hit .315 for the 2016 Comets played in 25 games, He batted .394 in 16 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference games. Brunansky (Poway High) , son of former major leaguer player and current Minnesota Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky, had a 1.50 ERA in what was limited action due to an injury.

PALOMAR BASEBALL TRANSFERS FROM 2016 TEAM
Player Pos. 4-Year Program
Taylor Turski LHP   University of Kansas (D-I)
Niko Holm 1B/3B   Santa Clara University (D-I)
Chase Grant OF  University of Nevada (D-I)
Mitch Hayes RHP  University of Nevada (D-I)
Mitch Gallagher 2B   Xavier University (D-I)
John Mackay C   Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo (D-I)
Carter Johnson RHP   U. of Texas Rio Grande Valley (D-I)
Casey Henderson SS   Chico State University (D-II)
Sam Casinelli OF   Rogers State  (D-II)
Joel Mitchell 1B/DH    Cal Baptist University (D-II)
Effrin Medina UT   U. of Texas Permian Basin (D-II)
Nashea Diggs OF   Cal State University San Marcos (D-II)
Troy Lamparello RHP  Cal State University San Marcos (D-II)
Michael Lopez RHP   Tennessee Wesleyan University (NAIA)
Thomas Brunansky RHP   St. Katherine (National Christian College Ath. Assn.)
Shane Olson OF  St. Katherine (National Christian College Ath. Assn.)

PALOMAR'S ALL-TIME MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS
Player Pos.  MLB Team(s)
George Hinshaw 2B   San Diego Padres
Randy Johnson 3B   Atlanta Braves
Jim Scranton SS   Kansas City Royals
Troy Afenir C   Houston Astros, Oakland A's, Cincinnati Reds
Carl Grovom LHP   Cincinnati Reds
Nick Vincent RHP   San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners (current)
Marcus Hatley RHP   St. Louis Cardinals
Tyler Saladino SS/3B/OF   Chicago White Sox (current)
James Hoyt RHP   Houston Astros (current)

EX-COMET PLAYERS CURRENTLY IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
1. Nick Vincent, Seattle Mariners relief pitcher. Will be in his sixth season in MLB in 2017
2. Tyler Saladino, Chicago White Sox starting second baseman who has played every position for the Sox but pitcher and catcher. Will be in his third season in MLB in 2017
3. James Hoyt, Houston Astros relief pitcher. Will be in his second season in MLB in 2017
4. Darren Balsley, San Diego Padres pitching coach since May 17, 2003.
5. Troy Afenir (former Astros, A's and Reds player), New York Yankees Southern California Scout

6. Jason McLeod, Chicago Cubs Senior Vice President/Player Development and Amateur Scouting since 2011

OTHERS WITH PALOMAR CONNECTIONS CURRENTLY IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
1. San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, father of former Palomar pitcher and third baseman Greg Bochy
2. Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria, father of former Palomar outfielder Anthony Renteria

Barnett (Nationals), Cornish (Mets) both sign

SAN MARCOS (6-22-2016): Former Palomar pitchers Jake Barnett and Gary Cornish, both selected in the baseball draft earlier in the month, have signed contracts and will be reporting to minor league camp.

Barnett (left), a left-hander who helped pitch Lewis-Clark State to the 2016 NAIA national championship as a junior, signed with the Washington Nationals, who selected him in the 20th round.

Cornish (right), a senior right-hander out of the University of San Diego, signed with the New York Mets. The Mets drafted him in the 19th round.

Barnett and Cornish were teammates for the Comets' 2014 team, when Barnett was a freshman out of Orange Glen High School and Cornish was a sophomore transfer from St. Mary's College of California.

 

2017 Baseball Schedule and Results

(Home Games in Bold)

DAY DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME / SCORE BOX W-L PCAC
Fri Jan 27 at Golden West Huntington Beach (Hoover Field, Golden West College) WON 8-1 BOX 1-0  -----
Sat Jan 28 Golden West Palomar College Ballpark WON 8-7 BOX 2-0 -----
Web Feb 1 Riverside City College Palomar College Ballpark WON 4-3 BOX 3-0 -----
Fri Feb 3 vs. Irvine Valley (David Buttles Memorial Tournament) Palm Desert (Hamilton Field, College of the Desert) Lost 1-5 BOX 3-1 -----
Sat Feb 4 vs. Cypress (David Buttles Memorial Tournament) Palm Desert (Hamilton Field, College of the Desert) WON 7-0 BOX 4-1 -----
Thu Feb 9 Fullerton Palomar College Ballpark WON 6-1 BOX 5-1 -----
Fri Feb 10 Orange Coast Palomar College Ballpark Lost 7-8 (12 innings) BOX 5-2 -----
Wed Feb 15 at Riverside City College Riverside (Riverside Sports Complex, Evans Field) WON 6-1 BOX 6-2 -----
Thu Feb 16 at Glendale 
(Game 1 of doubleheader)
Glendale (Casey Stengal Field, Glendale College Lost 2-3 BOX 6-3 -----
    at Glendale (Game 2 of doubleheader) Glendale (Casey Stengal Field, Glendale College Lost 2-12 BOX 6-4 -----
Tue Feb 21 at Orange Coast Costa Mesa (Wendall Pickens Field, Orange Coast College) WON 13-4  BOX 7-4 -----
Fri Feb 24 Sacramento City College Palomar College Ballpark Lost 5-6 BOX 7-5 -----
Sat Feb 25 Sacramento City College Palomar College Ballpark WON 14-4 BOX 8-5 -----
Sun Feb 26 at Fullerton Hornet Field (Fullerton College) Postponed ----- ----- -----
Tue Feb 28 at Mt. San Jacinto (PCAC) San Jacinto (Mt. San Jacinto College field, "The Jac") WON 14-6 BOX 9-5 1-0
Thu Mar 2 Mt. San Jacinto (PCAC) San Jacinto (Mt. San Jacinto College field, "The Jac") WON 12-0 BOX 10-5 2-0
Sat Mar 4 vs. Mt. San Jacinto (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark WON 11-1 BOX 11-5 3-0
Tue Mar 7 San Bernardino Valley (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark WON 11-5  BOX 12-5 4-0
Thu Mar 9 at San Bernardino Valley San Bernardino (SBVC Baseball Field) WON 8-4 BOX 13-5 5-0
Sat Mar 11 San Bernardino Valley (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark Lost 6-8 BOX 13-6 5-1
Tue Mar 14 at San Diego City College (PCAC) Balboa Park, San Diego (Morley Field) WON 8-3 BOX 14-6 6-1
Thu Mar 16 San Diego City College (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark WON 10-5 BOX 15-6 7-1
Sat Mar 18 at San Diego City College (PCAC) Balboa Park, San Diego (Morley Field) WON 9-3 BOX 16-6 8-1
Tue Mar 21 Imperial Valley (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark WON 24-4 BOX 17-6 9-1
Thu Mar 23 at Imperial Valley (PCAC) Imperial (IVC Field) WON 19-1 BOX 18-6 10-1
Fri Mar 24 Imperial Valley (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark WON 14-2 BOX 19-6 11-1
Fri Mar 31 at Los Angeles Valley Valley Glen, Los Angeles (L.A. Valley College Field 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Tue Apr 4 San Diego Mesa (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Thu Apr 6 at San Diego Mesa (PCAC) San Diego (SD Mesa Field) 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Sat Apr 8 San Diego Mesa (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark Noon ----- ----- -----
Tue Apr 11 COD (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Thu Apr 13 at COD (PCAC) Palm Desert (Hamilton Field, College of the Desert) 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Sat Apr 15 COD (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark Noon ----- ----- -----
Tue Apr 18 at Grossmont (PCAC) El Cajon (Noel Mickelsen Field, Grossmont College) 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Thu Apr 20 Grossmont (PCAC) Palomar College Ballpark 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Sat Apr 22 at Grossmont (PCAC) El Cajon (Noel Mickelsen Field, Grossmont College) Noon ----- ----- -----
Tue Apr 25 at Southwestern (PCAC) Chula Vista (The Junction, Southwestern College) 2 p.m. ----- ----- -----
Thu Apr 27 Southwestern (PCAC) Palomar College  Ballpark 2 p.m.      
Fri  Apr 28 at Southwestern (PCAC) Chula Vista (The Junction, Southwestern College) 2 p.m.      

2017 Roster

NO. NAME POS. B/T HT. WT. YR. HIGH SCHOOL (CITY) / PREVIOUS COLLEGE
1 Gabe Willes INF B/R 5-10 160 Fr La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad)
2 Joey Cooper OF L/R 5-10 170 So Highland (Bakersfield)
3 Austen Salcedo OF L/L 6-0 160 Fr Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta)
4 Eric Charles OF L/L 6-0 170 So Redwood (Visalia)
7 Edgar Morales INF L/R 5-8 185 So Gahr (Cerritos)
8 Jordan Gardner OF R/R 5-8 170 So Temecula Valley (Temecula)
9 Conor McKenna INF R/R 6-2 200 Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad)
11 Marco Young OF L/L 6-2 160 Fr Del Norte (San Diego)
12 Jared Montoya INF R/R 5-10 180 So Douglas County (Castle Rock, CO) / Central Arizona CC
13 Ryan Semon LHP L/L 6-0 175 Fr Valley Center (Valley Center)
14 Stone Scoppettuolo OF R/R 6-1 180 Fr La Jolla (La Jolla) / San Diego St.
15 Kevin Palm RHP R/R 6-0 185 Fr Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta)
16 Julian McDonald RHP L/R 6-2 175 Fr La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad)
17 Connor Zalewski RHP R/R 6-3 175 Fr Kalani (Honolulu, HI)
18 Davin Castro LHP L/L 5-10 180 Fr Temecula Valley (Temecula)
19 Christian Colon C R/R 5-10 185 So Hamden (Hamden, CT) / Bates
20 Stephen Rausa LHP R/L 5-7 170 Fr Vista Murrieta (Murrieta)
21 Andrew White LHP L/L 5-11 175 Fr Fallbrook (Fallbrook)
22 Ryan Hartin INF R/R 6-0 180 Fr Madison (San Diego)
23 Chase McCann C L/R 6-1 180 Fr Alamo Heights (San Antonio, TX)
24 Carl Schwettmann OF R/R 6-2 185 So Ramona (Ramona)
25 Marc Sauceda LHP/1B L/L 5-11 205 So Chaparral (Temecula)
26 Tanner Roberts RHP R/R 6-0 180 So Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) / L.A. Harbor CC
27 Juwan Maxwell OF L/L 5-11 190 Fr Chaparral (Temecula)
28 Louis Tade OF R/R 6-0 185 Fr Chaparral (Temecula)
29 Anthony Inatsugu 1B R/R 6-2 195 Fr Santa Monica (Santa Monica)
30 Jonathan Vizcaino RHP/INF R/R 6-1 190 So Francis Parker (San Diego) / Susquehanna University
31 Cameron Haskell RHP/UT L/R 6-4 200 So Chaparral (Temecula) / UC Riverside
32 Nate Stilinovich LHP L/L 6-6 180 Fr Murrieta Mesa (Murrieta)
33 Josh Sidney RHP R/R 6-4 200 Fr Torrey Pines (San Diego)
34 Brett Lockwood RHP R/R 6-4 210 Fr Murrieta Valley (Murrieta)
35 Cody Norton OF R/R 6-5 220 So Carlsbad (Carlsbad)
36 Grant Buck 1B L/R 6-5 225 So Carlsbad (Carlsbad)
37 Tristan King C R/R 6-3 225 Fr Timberline (Boise, ID)
38 Zach Wallace RHP R/R 6-3 225 So De La Salle (Concord) / UC San Diego
39 George Chapman RHP R/R 6-6 225 Fr Oceanside (Oceanside)
40 Travis Marinshaw RHP R/R 6-3 215 Fr Ramona (Ramona)
COACHING STAFF
Buck Taylor, Head Coach
Ben Adams, Associate Head Coach; Recruiting Coordinator, Infield Coach
Bob Vetter, Outfield Coach, Bench Coach
Bobby Shore, Pitching Coach
Zach Wilkins, Bullpen Coach
Jason Schmeiser, First Base
Rich Graves, Assistant Coach

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