ABOVE: Ex-Palomar All-American pitcher Bobby Shore delivers to the plate in win over Texas A&M.. -- Oklahoma University photo. BELOW LEFT: Tyler Saladino, who went 11-for-16 for Oral Roberts in a four-game sweep of Western Illinois. BELOW RIGHT: Mitch Blackburn, who was 9-for-19 in San Diego State's four-game sweep of Wagner.
Shore tops A&M; Blackburn, Saladino 20-35
COLLEGE STATION, Texas / SAN DIEGO / TULSA, Oklahomar (4-25-10) -- Former Palomar community college All-American selection Bobby Shore advanced to 6-2 for visiting Oklahoma on Sunday, beating Texas A&M 10-2.and giving the Sooners a 2-1 edge in the three-game series.
Shore pitched the first seven innings, allowing two runs.
Ex-Comets Mitch Blackburn and Tyler Saladino went a combined 20-for-35 with 21 RBIs and four home runs over the weekend as San Diego State swept a four-game series from Wagner University and Oral Roberts swept a four-game series from Western Illinois.
At Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego, Blackburn, who plays both shortstop and second base for the Aztecs, went 9-for-19 against Wagner with a home run, two doubles, eight runs and 10 RBIs.
He went 4-for-6 Friday with a homer, a double, four runs scored and five RBIs as SDSU beat Wagner 18-0. He was 1-for-4 as the Aztecs won the first game of a double-header on Saturday 7-2. In game two, a 12-1 SDSU victory, he went 2-for-5 went 2-for-4 with a double, two runsscored and two RBIs.
Then, in a 21-12 win on Sunday, Blackburn went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
At Tulsa, Oklahoma, Saladino was 11-for-16 with nine runs scored, 11 RBIs and his eighth, ninth and 10th home runs as the Golden Eagles swept West Illinois. Saladino was selected as Summit League Player of the Week.
Saladino slugged a game-winning three-run homer as the Eagles scored five runs in the eighth inning to win Game 1 on Friday night. For the game, he went 3-for-3 with the HR, scored two runs and drove in three.
He came back to go 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, two runs scored and three RBIs as the Eagles won the first game of a double-header on Saturday 13-3. In the second game, Saladino was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, two runs scored and two RBIs in Oral Roberts' 9-3 win.
Then, in the final game of the series on Sunday, Sadadino wasthree-for-4 with a two-run homer, scored three runs and had three RBIs as the Egles finished off the sweep with a 14-4 victory.
Stevens beats G-House; Casillas 3-5 with HR
EL CAJON (4-24-10) -- A dominant pitching performance by starter Levi Stevens and another big day at the plate by Alfonso Casillas set the tone Saturday as the Palomar baseball team beat Grossmont for the second time in two days.
The Comets won 6-3 at Mickelsen Field as Stevens (above left), a freshman left-hander from nearby Grossmont High School, returned to his hometown and pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, one run ball. He struck out seven batters and walked two. The Griffins' lone run off Stevens, in the bottom of the first inning was unearned.
Stevens left the game with a 5-1 lead and was followed to the mound by Patrick Smith, Shane Philipps and Ryan Wilkins, who worked the final 2/3 of an inning to record his third save. The four pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
Casillas (above right), who has broken out of a slump with a vengeance, went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run, his seventh of the season, in the third inning, a double and four RBIs.
Jeremy Cline went 3-for-5 for Palomar and drove in a run. Ty Afenir was 1-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice bunt which Grossmont's pitcher threw away for an error and produced a run. Jose Rodriguez and Derrick Brown also doubled. Terrence Buchanan singled and was hit by a pitch, Austin Muehring contributed an RBI single and a stolen base.
Palomar, which won for the 12th time in its last 16 games, advanced to 20-13, 15-8 in conference and clinched second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. The Comets will close the regular season with a home game vs. Imperial Valley on Tuesday and an away game against the Arabs on Thursday, then will await their Southern California playoff seed.
The Comets have an outside shot at tying San Diego College, which leads the conference by two games with two to play. But that would take a PC sweep vs. IVC and a Grossmont sweep of a season-ending two-game series with City College. And, even then, the Knights would be the conference's No. 1 playoff seed because they won their season series with the Comets.
FAST FACTS: Alfonso Casillas raised his batting average, best on the team, to .380 on Saturday. He has 11 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 27 RBIs. Winning pitcher Levi Stevens lowered his earned run average to 2.25 (1.59 in PCAC games). Patrick Smith, the Comets' second pitcher of the afternoon, lowered his ERA to 2.67 on the year (2.05 in conference). Ryan Wilkins, who got the save, has ERAs of 2.83 on the season (2.63 in conference).
ABOVE: Palomar catcher B.K. Santy tags Grossmont's Ben Sarno out at the plate on a third-inning squeeze play. Pitcher Evan Mott charged off the mount to make an alert play and flip the ball to Santy. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Winning pitcher Mott, who threw six shutout innings. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT:
Mott (6 shutout innigs), Cusack (3-4) lead way
SAN MARCOS (4-23-10) -- Winning pitcher Evan Mott threw six shutout innings to stake Palomar to a 9-0 lead and the Comets held on to defeat Grossmont 10-5 in a PCAC baseball rain make-up on Friday at Myers Field.
Adam Cusack paced a 14-hit attack for Palomar (19-13, 14-8) by going 3-for-4 with a double. B.K. Santy hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Ty Afenir went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Alfonso Casillas was 2-for-4 with a walk.
The Comets pulled off the defensive play of the game in the third inning when Mott charged off the mound to field a squeeze bunt by the Griffins' Taylor Eichhorst and used his momentum toward the plate to flip the ball to the catcher, Santy. The University of Washington-bound Santy tagged Ben Sarno, who was sliding in, for the out
Palomar took a 1-0 first-inning lead on Terrence Buchanan's double into the right-field corner, Matt Gabrielson's sacrifice bunt and Casillas' double-play grounder which allowed Buchanan to come home from third.
The Comets made it 4-0 with three fourth-inning runs. Casillas singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Jeremy Cline's single. Santy followed with a two-run HR over the left-field fence.
Afenir's single, Buchanan's sacrifice bunt, Derrick Baum's RBI single, a walk to Casillas, David Ring's RBI double and Jose Rodriguez' run-scoring single advanced Palomar's lead to 7-0 in the fifth. Palomar made it 9-0 with two more runs in the sixth on singles by Cusack and Afenir, an error, Buchanan's sacrifice fly to right and Anthony Meza's RBI single through the right side of the infield.
Grossmont 16-14, 10-12) scored all its runs in the top of the eighth to close Palomar's lead from 9-0 to 9-5. Paul DeFrancisco came in to finally get the Comets out of the inning by getting Eichhurst to hit into a double-play from Afenir at short to Buchanan at second to Rodriguez at first.
Palomar closer Tim Hill then came on in the ninth, gave up a hit to begin the inning, then got three straight outs, the last one n a strikeout. Alex Meza also threw a shutout relief inning.
ABOVE: Palomar shortstop Ty Afenir spears a high bounce and throws the ball to first baseman Jose Rodriguez to get Mesa's Brad Balkan for the third out in the top of the seventh. BELOW: Tim Hill, who retired the last four batters and struck out three of them to record the win, side-arms a pitch to the plate. -- Photos by Deb Hellman.
Comets give Hill win in 9th, near playoffs
SAN MARCOS (4-20-10) -- Palomar, on the strength of another brilliant relief performance by freshman left-hander Tim Hill, some outstanding defense and a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, defeated San Diego Mesa 4-3 on Tuesday at Myers Field.
Along the way, the Comets got half of what they wanted as they made a big step toward a berth Southern California community college playoffs.
Firmly entrenched in second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, the defending champions lead third-place Southwestern by two games with four games to play. But they still trail first-place San Diego City College by two games after the Knights out-slugged the Jaguars on Tuesday in San Diego 17-13.
With Mesa leading 3-2, Hill came on with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning and immediately got the Olympians' Jake Wilt looking at a called third strike.
Palomar tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Alfonso Casillas, a hit batter (Derrick Baum), a fielder's choice and David Ring's pinch-hit single up the middle which drovein pinch-runner Austin Muehring.
Hill (1-0 with three saves) then retired Mesa in order in the top of the ninth on a fly ball, a called strikeout and a swinging strikeout.
And the Comets won it in the bottom of the inning when Afenir led off with a double into the right-field corner, a wild pitch, a walk to Zach Gage and another wild pitch that scored Afenir from third.
Afenir went 2-for-4 with the double and winning run and, with the University of Washington watching him, had a spectacular day at shortstop defensively. Along with Casillas at third, the left side of the infield and Washington-bound catcher B.K. Santy kept the Comets in the game with one outstanding play after another.
Santy gunned down two more runners attempting to steal, and first baseman Jose Rodriguez also contributed a big defensive play to begin a bang-bang first-to-short-to-first double play to get the Comets out of the seventh inning.
Anthony Meza drove in Palomar's first two runs with a grounder to the right side in the fourth inning and an RBI single in the sixth.
Casillas and Jeremy Cline each contributed a triple.
Palomar advanced to 18-13 on the season,13-8 in conference.
FAST FACT: By pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief with three strikeouts, Tim Hill has struck out 25 batters and walked 8 batters in 21 1/3 innings. In conference play, Hill has 15 strikeouts and 3 walks in 13 1/3 innings.
Game is rained out, rescheduled for Friday
SAN MARCOS (4-22-10) -- Palomar's home baseball game with Grossmont College, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed due to rain and wet grounds.
The game now will be played on Friday, April 23, at Myers Field at 2 p.m.
Left-handed relief pitchers Tim Hill (above) and Alex Meza (below) will play key roles as Palomar tries to keep its PCAC championship hopes alive and continues its run toward the playoffs. -- Photos by Jim McCormack
On the air: PC tries to jump-start playoff run
SAN MARCOS (4-19-10) -- Palomar begins its stretch run toward, at best, a possible Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball championship or co-championship or at least a post-season playoff berth when the Comets host San Diego Mesa on Tuesday.
The first pitch at Myers Field is scheduled at 2 p.m.
Tuesday's game, and Thursday's 2 p.m. home game vs. Grossmont, both will be broadcast live on KKSM-1320 AM (also on Cox Cable channel 958 and on the world wide web at:
Palomar (17-13, 12-8 in the PCAC) enters the final two weeks of the regular season in second place, two games in back of conference leader San Diego City College and one game ahead of Southwestern and San Diego Mesa, who are tied for third.
The combination of a Palomar win over Mesa and a Southwestern victory at San Diego City on Tuesday would move the Comets back to within one game of first place with four games to play.
Two teams from the conference, and possibly three, will advance to the Southern California Regionals, the first step toward the CCCAA State Final Four on May 21-23 at Fresno City College.
After the games on Tuesday and Thursday, coach Buck Taylor's Comets will close the regular season with a Saturday game at Grossmont, starting at noon, and games next week vs. Imperial Valley at home next Tuesday, April 27, and at Imperial on Thursday, April 29.
Palomar wastes comeback, loses by one
SAN DIEGO (4-15-10) -- Palomar wasted big days by designated hitter David Ring (left), second baseman Terrence Buchanan (right) and shortstop Ty Afenir on Saturday.
The Comets wasted strong relief performances by pitchers Patrick Smith and Evan Mott.
Worst of all, they wasted a 9-0 comeback from the top of the third inning through the top of the sixth as they dropped a frustrating 10-9 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball decision to host San Diego Mesa.
The loss again drops the Comets (17-13, 12-8) two games back of first-place San Diego City College, which held off Southwestern 8-6. Palomar remains alone in second place, one game ahead of the Jaguars and Mesa with five games remaining.
The Comets fell behind 6-0 in a miserable first inning as the Olympians parlayed five hits including a home run, a triple and a double with a walk and an error to jump out in front.
Then, while Smith came in to get the final out of the inning on a strikeout and then pitched additional more innings of shutout relief, the Comets battled back with a run in the third inning, a run in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and five runs in the top of the sixth and took a 9-6 lead.
But, as Smith tired, the Olympians (12-19, 11-9) won it with four runs in the bottom of the inning -- two unearned run and an earned run off of Smith and an unearned run off Mott. Mott stopped Mesa without a hit and allowed only the one unearned run over 2 2/3 innings. But damage had been done.
For Palomar, Ring went 4-for-4 with a triple, a walk and and a walk.
Buchanan was 3-for-6 with two RBIs, two runs scored, his 12th steal on 12 attempts and some spectacular defensive plays.
Afenir, who also was big in the field, went 2-for-3, doubled, drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, walked and moved a runner from second to third with a ground ball to the right side with none out and the Comets trailing by the final one-run margin in the top of the seventh. But Palomar couldn't get the runner across.
First baseman Alfonso Casillas slugged his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left-center field in the fifth inning. But he was frustrated by being walked three times, twice intentionally. The second intentional walk came with runners at first and second in the top of the ninth, which loaded the bases with two out.
The Comets left the bases loaded when Mesa reliever and winning pitcher Allen Townsend got pinch-hitter Mitch Tybroski to hit a grounder back to the mound. Townsend knocked the ball down and threw it to first for the final out of the game.
Myers, Hill come up big; Comets top leaders
SAN DIEGO (4-15-10) -- Palomar got dominant relief pitching from Scott Myers (left) and Tim Hill (right) on Thursday and knocked off Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball leader San Diego City College 9-5 at Morley Field.
The Comets moved back to within one game of first place with the victory, with six games remaining beginning Saturday at noon at San Diego Mesa. Palomar remains alone in second, one game ahead of third-place Southwestern.
Myers (2-2), who notched the win, and Hill, who recorded his third save, stopped the Knights on an unearned run on three hits over the last six innings. They combined to strike out nine.
Myers threw the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, allowing the unearned run and two hits. He struck out six and walked none.
Hill retired the side in order in the eighth inning on three straight called third strikes, and wound up throwing two innings of shutout, one-hit ball. The 6-foot-4 freshman left-hander struck out three and walked none. He got a double-play ball in the ninth.
The Comets broke a 5-5 tie to score what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the sixth. Ty Afenir led off the inning with a single to short right field, Terrence Buchanan moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt and Derrick Baum and Alfonso Casillas drew back-to-back walks.
Pinch-hitter Victor Martinez then drove in Afenir with a ground ball to right right side with the bases loaded.
Casillas led Palomar at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a double. Buchanan's alert base-running on a bouncer past the second base bag highlighted a three-run ninth inning which broke open a 6-5 game. He alertly went to second for a double, sliding in head first when no one covered the bag. Buchanan's hit drove in the Comets' final run.
David Ring and Zach Gage contributed RBI singles for Palomar. Baum doubled and Jeremy Cline singled for the Comets' other hits.
Palomar advances to 17-12 on the season, 12-7 in conference. City College is 20-10, 13-6 and begins a two-game series Saturday vs. a hot Southwestern team. The Jaguars clubbed Grossmont 16-0 on Thursday.
ABOVE: San Diego City baserunner Gilbert Gourdado comes in high, forcing Palomar shortstop Ty Afenir shortstop Ty Afenir to make a contorted throw to first to try to complete a double play in the fifth inning on Tuesday. The throw went awry and there was no further call by the base umpire after signaling Gourdado out. The Kndights' Corey Vasquez, who avoided the DP in the process, was awarded second. LOWER LEFT: Ryan Wilkins pitches in the first inning for the Comets. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Comets self-destruct early, slip 2 games out
SAN MARCOS (4-13-10) -- Coming of a 3-0 week which saw it battle to within a game of Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball leader San Diego City College, Palomar picked a terrible time to play a bad game on Tuesday.
The Comets self-destructed early and lost 6-2 to the Knights at Myers Field, falling two games behind the Knights with seven to play. Palomar also saw its second-place lead over Southwestern shrink to one game when the Jaguars defeated Grossmont 5-4.
The Comets surrendered a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first inning as the Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Palomar blew a chance to get back in the game early after Anthony Meza singled through the right side to lead off the bottom of the second and Zach Gage doubled to left, putting runners at first and second with none out.
But City College got out of the inning without a run when the following batter bunted the ball to pitcher Hunter Herrera, which surprised coach Buck Taylor, who didn't have a play on, as well as both base runners. Gage started to go to third, got caught in a rundown, and Meza froze on the third-base bag. The result was a double play that virtually took the Comets out of the inning.
The game continued that way throughout the afternoon as the Comets kept making mistakes, which helped Herrera win a pitcher's duel from Palomar starter Ryan Wilkins to advance to 7-2 on the season. Herrera pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits. Wilkins left after the eighth inning trailing 5-2 while giving up only two earned runs.
Palomar got both its runs in the third inning when the Comets temporarily cut City's three-run lead to 3-2 on a walk to Ty Afenir, Alfonso Casillas' single and Victor Martinez' two-run single to right. But Herrera then got found his rhythm, settled down, and the Comets wound up making four actual errors and even more mental miscues.
Trailing 6-2, Palomar loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth on back-to-back singles by pinch-hitters David Ring and Cameron Buford and a walk to Mitch Tybroski. Herrera, however, got the last two outs to end the game.
The Comets (16-12, 11-7) get one more shot at the Knights (20-6, 13-5) on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Morley Field in San Diego.
Comets beat Jags again, are one game out
CHULA VISTA (4-10-10) -- Andrew Larsen (left) and Alex Meza (right) pitched Palomar to a 5-4 victory at Southwestern on Saturday and to within one game of Pacific Coast Athletic Conference-leading San Diego City College.
The Comets, who have won eight of their last 10 games and are now two games up on Southwestern in second place, can move into a tie for first by beating the Knights on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field. The same two teams will play again on Thursday at Morley Field in San Diego.
Larsen (2-2, 2.89 ERA), a sophomore right-hander from Murrieta Valley High School, struck out seven batters over the first eight innings to record the pitching win. Meza, a sophomore left-hander from Great Oak High School in Temecula, came in with a runner on and none out in the bottom of the ninth and picked up s save.
Derek Baum's double in the top of the first scored two runs, the second one when the left fielder bobbled the ball, as the Comets jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Alfonso Casillas and Baum singled as Palomar made it 4-0 in the third inning.
After the Jaguars cut the lead to 4-3 with two runs in the fourth inning and one in the seventh, the Comets added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when pinch-hitter Victor Martinez doubled to left center field and B.K. Santy followed with an RBI double to left. That made it 5-3, the final score.
Santy led Palomar at the plate as he went 2-for-3 with the double and RBI. He also was hit by a pitch. Baum was 2-for-4 with his double and RBI.
The Comets are now 16-11 on the season, 12-6 in conference, while the third-place Jaguars fall to 16-11, 9-8. Palomar went from three games out of first place by going 3-0 during the week, while City College dropped two of three games, including a 9-8 stunner at the hands of last-place Imperial Valley on Friday, when the Arabs put up an eight-spot in the first inning.
Oklahoma's Shore beats Missouri and is 5-1
NORMAN, Oklahoma (4-11-10) -- Palomar transfer Bobby Shore (left) stopped visiting Missouri on two runs over seven innings on Saturday as he pitched No. 11-ranked Oklahoma to a 10-4 Big 12 victory over the Tigers.
Shore surrendered a two-run home run in the first inning, then shut out Mizzou the rest of the way until leaving the game to begin the eighth.
Shore, a community college All-American for the Comets last season when he went 11-1 as a sophomore, advanced to 5-1 on the season for Oklahoma.
He leads the Sooners, who are 26-7, with a 2.27 earned r8n average and has allowed 37 hits over 43 2/3 innings, striking out 42 and walking 10.
ABOVE: B.K. Santy gets down a sacrifice bunt to move Alfonso Casillas, who scored the winning run, from first to second in the 13th inning on Thursday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Anthony Meza, who was 2-for-6 with a triple and RBI and made an unscheduled appearance in left field. BELOW RIGHT: Ty Afenir, who had another big day defensively had shortstop, singled twice, walked and drove in a run on a grounder to short in the bottom of the 12th to send the game to the 13th.
4 hours, 25 minutes later, Comets win in 13
SAN MARCOS (4-8-10) -- Four hours and 25 minutes, 46 players, 13 innings and implausible plays too numerous to count after it all began, Palomar defeated Southwestern 8-7 at Myers Field on Thursday afternoon.
With the marathon win, the Comets (15-11, 10-6) broke a tie with the Jaguars for second place and almost closed to one game of Pacific Coast Athletic Conference leader San Diego City College. The Knights held on to beat Imperial Valley 7-6 Thursday when the Arabs left the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Alfonso Casillas walked to lead off the bottom of the 13th, advanced to second on B.K. Santy's sacrifice bunt and went to third on Austin Muehring's infield single to the second baseman. Casillas, who broke for home on Jose Rodriguez' grounder, scored the winning run when the shortstop, who was charging the ball, booted it for an error.
The run gave freshman right-hander Adam Mott, the Comets' eighth pitcher of the day who came on to throw a hitless, shutout inning in the top of the ninth, his second win in two decisions.
The Comets, trailing 6-4 with two out sand no one on in the bottom of the 10th, tied the game on Anthony Meza's single, a walk to Terrence Buchanan, David Ring's pinch-hit RBI single, a single by Ty Afenir and a walk to Jeremy Cline with the bases loaded which forced in Buchanan.
Then, trailing again 7-6, they tied the game again in the last half of the 12th on back-to-back singles by Buchanan and Hayden Schrimpf and Afenir's RBI grounder to short.
Victor Martinez' two-run single with two outs and an 0-2 count in the seventh inning, had pulled the Comets back from a 3-2 deficit to a 4-3 lead. The Jaguars (16-11, 9-7) tied the game in the top of the ninth when they rallied for two runs after there were two outs and no one on.
Meza went 2-for-6 for Palomar with a triple and an RBI. Martinez was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Afenir and Buchanan each were 2-for-5 with a walk and an RBI.
The Comets also got some strong relief pitching from Tim Hill, who retired the first eight batters he faced, Paul DeFrancesco, Shane Philipps and Alex Meza.
Afenir and Buchanan contributed spectacular plays at shortstop and second base, respectively. Anthony Meza, pressed into duty in the outfield when he went from designated hitter to defense as part of a triple-switch, and Mitch Tybroski made outstanding catches in left and right, respectively. Meza normally is a second baseman.
The two teams will play again at Southwestern on Saturday at noon.
Muehring (10 RBIs) ties mark; PC wins 28-6
IMPERIAL (4-6-10) -- Austin Muehring's career day (5-for-7, two home runs, double, 10 RBIs) led the way Tuesday as Palomar rocked host Imperial Valley 28-6 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball game.
Muehring (left), a freshman outfielder from Rancho Bernardo High School, hammered a grand-slam home run in the fifth inning and a three-run HR in the ninth.
The 10 RBIs tied the Palomar single-game record set by Gera Alvarez in a 26-9 victory at Grossmont on April 10, 1999, during his freshman season. Alvarez, a shortstop who came to Palomar out of Vista High School, went on to break the Big 12 consecutive-game hitting streak record as a two-time first-team all-conference selection at Texas Tech. He played in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system for seven seasons, reaching the Triple-A level.
Muehring had plenty of company in Palomar's hit parade on Tuesday as 13 Comets hit safely. Jeremy Cline went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs. Anthony Meza, who tripled and doubled, Alfonso Casillas, Victor Martinez, David Ring and Ty Afenir also had multiple hits.
The Comets spotted the Arabs a 3-0 lead before recording an out in the bottom of the first inning, but pushed across seven runs in the top of the second as the floodgates opened. Cline's bases-loaded triple tied the game and Casillas put the Comets in front for good with a double to left that drove in Cline. Zach Gage also tripled in the inning, driving in two runs.
Hayden Schrimpf, Derek Baum, B.K. Santy and Terrence Buchanan also hit safely, rounding out a 26-hit attack against six IVC pitchers.
Starter Evan Mott pitched the first five innings to record the win, striking out four batters.
Alex Meza, the Comets' second pitcher, threw two innings of shutout ball, striking out four.
Converted catcher Chip Baumann (above right), their fourth pitcher of the afternoon, threw a no-hit, scoreless ninth inning, striking out two. After an error on what would have been the third out extended the inning, Baumann got the Arabs' Benny Carter looking at a third strike, ending the game.
Palomar advanced to 14-11, 9-6 in the PCAC, and moved to within two games of first place when Grossmont upset San Diego City College 4-2. The defending champion Comets are tied with Southwestern, a 4-1 winner over San Diego Mesa, for the second spot and will open a two-game series with the Jaguars beginning on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field. The teams will also play Saturday at noon at Southwestern.
ABOVE: Palomar alum Bobby Shore pitches for No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Texas on Friday night at Norman, Oklahoma. Shore dropped a 2-0 heartbreaker in a pitchers' duel with the Longhorns' Cole Green for his first Division I loss. -- Oklahoma University photo. BELOW LEFT: San Diego State's Mitch Blackburn, who hit two home runs in an 11-5 loss to No. 11 TCU at Fort Worth, Texas.
Shore and Blackburn both come up big
NORMAN, Oklahoma / FORT WORTH, Texas (4-2-10) -- Former Palomar baseball standouts Bobby Shore and Mitch Blackburn both came up big on Friday night, but both performances came in losing efforts.
Shore pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, striking out seven for nationally No. 9-ranked Oklahoma but lost a pitchers' duel to Texas' Cole Green as the No. 7 Longhorns won 2-0 at Norman, OK.
Shore (4-1) suffered his first Division I loss. Green, who threw 7 2/3 innings of three-hit, shutout ball, improved to 6-0.
Blackburn homered twice for San Diego State but the Aztecs fell 11-11-5 to No. 11 TCU in Fort Worth, TX. Blackburn hit bases-empty HRs in the first and third innings, the first one to lead off the game and put SDSU on top 1-0. Blackburn wound up going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Buchanan (4-for-5), PC rock state champs
COSTA MESA (4-2-10) -- Terrence Buchanan (left), Alfonso Casillas (right) and Jeremy Cline combined for 11 of Palomar's 17 hits on Friday as the Comets rallied to beat defending state baseball champion Orange Coast 11-7 on the road.
Palomar advanced to 5-1 against teams from the Orange Empire Conference, the nation's strongest community college conference, with two more games coming up the next three days vs. OEC teams.
The Comets will play Saturday at noon at state No. 1-ranked and Orange Empire leader Santa Ana, and Monday at 2 p.m. at home vs. Orange Coast again.
Buchanan went 4-for-5 with a double, a sacrifice bunt, two runs scored and four RBIs. On two occasions, his speed down the line caused the Pirates to hurry fielding bunts and throw the ball away. The first went for a single and an error, the second for a sacrifice and an error.
Casillas, who had been in a slump after a torrid start, was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two walks, one of them intentional.
Cline went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Zach Gage was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a walk.
The Comets (13-10) jumped in front early, fell behind 7-4, then erupted for four runs in the eighth inning and three in the ninth as the Pirates threw their three best pitchers against them out of the bullpen.
Victor Martinez delivered a pinch-hit single for the go-ahead run in the eighth.
Matt Garner (1-0) struck out the only batter he faced for the third out in the bottom of the seventh inning to pick up the win. Tim Hill closed the game with two shutout innings to notch his second save.
Derek Baum, Austin Muehring, Mitch Tybroski and Ty Afenir also hit safely for the Comets.
Casillas, playing first base, made the defensive play of the day by passing the mound to field a bunt in the third inning and throw to Gage at third to force the Pirates' Franklin Porter at third. Buchanan, playing second, and Afenir also spectacular plays on defense.
Comets run into roadblock vs. No. 1 Dons
SANTA ANA (4-3-10) -- Palomar, coming off a win on the road against defending state champion Orange Coast on Friday (see article at left) ran into a roadblock at state No. 1-ranked Santa Ana on Saturday.
The Dons, also ranked No.1 on the West Coast and alone atop the powerful Orange Empire Conference by two games, downed the Comets 8-1 in a non-conference game as freshman right-hander Ben Burke threw a three-hitter.
Palomar (13-11) got its run in the ninth inning when Austin Cusack (left) was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a double to left by pinch-hitter Derek Baum.
Anthony Meza and B.K. Santy had the Comets' other hits. Matt Gabrielson nearly homered to left-center field to lead off the ninth but the ball was hauled in near the fence by Dons center fielder Dominick Solley.
Santa Ana advanced to 19-6 by defeating the Comets, who will play a re-match vs. Orange Coast at Myers Field at 2 p.m. Monday.
ABOVE: Palomar first baseman Alfonso Casillas hauls in a throw from catcher B.K. Santy, who slid to field a bunt by IVC's Giovanni and somehow threw a strike from his knees to Casillas to get Giovanni in the bottom of the fourth. -- Photo by Deb Hellman. LOWER LEFT: Anthony Meza, who went 3-for-5 for the Comets with a double and two RBIs. LOWER RIGHT: Winning pitcher Shane Philipps.
Philipps (5 shutout relief innings) tops IVC
SAN MARCOS (3-31-10) -- Shane Philipps threw five shutout relief innings to record the pitching win on Wednesday at Myers Field and Palomar came from behind to notch a "must-win" 9-5 baseball victory over visiting Imperial Valley.
Philipps (1-0), the third Palomar pitcher of the afternoon, came into the game to begin the fifth inning with the Comets trailing 5-4. He proceeded to shut out the Arabs on three hits the rest of the way, striking out four and walking none.
The sophomore left-hander out of Temecula Valley High School faced 17 batters, two over the minimum and allowed only three balls to be hit out of the infield. He lowered his earned run average to 1.23 for 14 2/3 innings (season) and 1.00 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (for 9.0 innings).
And he helped keep the Comets alive in the PCAC race with 11 conference games remaining.
Palomar took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a walk to B.K. Santy, Anthony Meza's bunt single, a fielder's choice, Mitch Tybroski's RBI single to tie the game and Jeremy Cline's single to center which drove in the winning run.
The Comets added an insurance run in the sixth on Meza's RBI double and two more runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Meza and Ty Afenir.
David Ring and Santy had driven in runs in the first inning for Palomar with a single and a bases-loaded walk, respectively. Derek Baum contributed a two-run single in the second inning.
Meza and Cline each went 3-for-5 to pace a 14-hit attack for Palomar (12-19, 8-6).
Santy, playing catcher, turned in the defensive play of the game for the Comets in the fourth inning when he slid to field a bunt in front of the plate by the Arabs' Giovanni Rosales and somehow threw out Rosales at first from his knees.
Palomar will visit defending state champion Orange Coast on Friday and Santa Ana on Saturday, then will host Orange Coast on Monday before returning to PCAC action on Tuesday at IVC.
Alumni report: Saladino, ORU win at Texas
AUSTIN, Texas / LINCOLN, Nebraska / SAN DIEGO (3-31-10) -- Palomar alumnus Tyler Saladino, the starting shortstop and second-leading hitter for Oral Roberts University, helped the Golden Eagles knock off No. 7-ranked Texas 3-2 on Tuesday evening at Austin, TX.
Saladino contributed an RBI single for one of the Eagles' three runs vs. the Longhorns.
At Lincoln, NE, Oklahoma pitcher Bobby Shore ran his win-loss to 4-0 on Saturday evening as he defeated Nebraska 4-1 in a Big 12 Conference game. Shore, who is the Sooners' Saturday starter, allowed one run in five innings. The former Comet has a 2.12 earned run average and 29 strikeouts and eight walks over 29.2 innings for Oklahoma (22-3), which is ranked No. 9 in the nation.
At Tony Gwynn Stadium in San Diego, Palomar alum Mitch Blackburn went 4-for-6 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs on Wednesday evening but his San Diego State team lost to Stony Brook 18-14 in 14 innings.
Seventh-inning meltdown costly to Comets
EL CAJON (3-30-10) -- Palomar, leading 2-0 through six shutout innings thrown by Ryan Wilkins, suffered a pitching meltdown in the bottom of the seventh on Tuesday as host Grossmont put up a seven spot in the inning to win a PCAC game 7-3.
Wilkins (left), who struck out 11, tired early in the inning and the Comets sent four relievers to the mound before Levi Stevens finally got the third out. By that time Palomar had walked five batters, three with the bases loaded and also helped Grossmont along with a hit batter and a balk.
Jose Rodriguez and Terrence Buchanan singled in the top of the ninth, and Mitch Tybroski (above right) drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly. But it was too little, too late as the Comets fell to 11-10, 7-6 in conference.
The Imperial Valley at Palomar game, originally scheduled for Thursday, will now be played on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field to beat an anticipated rainstorm.
ABOVE: Palomar's Trevor Bayless delivers a pitch in 18-1 rout of Grossmont on Saturday. The Temecula Great Oak High product allowed an unearned run on one hit over 6 1/3 innings. LOWER LEFT: Unidentified Temecula Valley Youth Baseball player goes through his duties as a bat boy for the Comets. -- Photos by Deb. Hellman. LOWER RIGHT: Jose Rodriguez, who went 2-for-4 and clubbed a two-run homer.
3 pitchers halt G-House 18-1 on three-hitter
SAN MARCOS (3-27-10) -- A busload of players from Temecula Valley Youth Baseball arrived at Myers Field on Saturday to watch Palomar starter Trevor Bayless, a Great Oak High School alumnus, and two relievers shut down visiting Grossmont 18-1.
Bayless allowed an unearned run on one hit over the first 6 1/3 innings in a game that took only 2 hours, 34 minutes. Levi Stevens came in to strike out the final two batters in the seventh inning and wound up throwing 1 2/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless ball. Shane Philipps finished the game and pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
The Comets supported them with a 16-hit attack, led by Jeremy Cline, who went 4-for-5 with a double, a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs, and Derek Baum and Jose Rodriguez, who both homered.
The Griffins scored an unearned run in the top of the first. The Comets answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning and that was all the offense they needed to conclude a 3-0 week and move into a tie for second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.
But they got plenty more offense anyway in back of Bayless, Grossmont High product Stevens and Philipps, like Bayless a Temecula product (he's out of Temecula Valley High).
Baum, like Stevens a Grossmont High alum, topped off a three-home run, 7-for-11 week as he went 2-for-2 with a solo HR to lead off the bottom of the third, a sacrifice fly, a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Rodriguez went 2-for-4, slugged a two-run homer in the fifth inning, scored two runs and drove in two runs. Terrance Buchanan was 2-for-5 with a sacrifice bunt and three runs scored.
Alfonso Casillas, Mitch Tybroski, Victor Martinez and Cameron Buford also hit safely for the Comets (11-9, 7-5), who are now tied with Southwestern and San Diego Mesa for second. Those three teams are two games back of San Diego City College, a 9-6 winner over Mesa.
Zach Gage drove in three runs with a safety squeeze, a ground out and a bases-loaded walk. Casillas, Martinez, Tybroski and Matt Gabrielson also contributed RBIs, the latter in jarring manner when he was hit in the head by a pitch to force in a run in the bottom of the eighth. Gabrielson was not injured.
Bayless had a no-hitter going through the first out in the sixth. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and finished with six strikeouts and one walk.
Comets get 2 'Baums', 21 hits, rout Mesa
SAN MARCOS (3-25-10) -- Host Palomar put a hurt on second-place San Diego Mesa on Thursday, winning 16-4 with a 21-hit attack to sweep the teams' two-game PCAC baseball series.
Catcher Derek Baum (left), a red-shirt freshman from Grossmont High School and a transfer from the University of the Pacific, ignited the victory with solo home runs in the first and third innings, the second one a towering shot over the scoreboard in left field at Myers Field.
Baum went 3-for-4 with the two homers, two runs scored and two RBIs. Alfonso Casillas added a bases-empty HR of his own in the sixth inning, and wound up going 2-for-6.
And sophomore right-hander Andrew Larsen, a transfer from Chaffey College, pitched a strong 5 1/3 innings to record the pitching win.
The win advanced Palomar to within one game of Mesa and Southwestern, who are tied for second and two games of first-place San Diego City College, which was beaten 6-2 by Southwestern.
Terrence Buchanan (above right), who has moved from second base to shortstop with Ty Afenir sidelined by a strained hamstring, had a big day for the Comets (10-9, 6-5) by going 2-for 4 with four RBIs and a squeeze bunt.
Jose Rodriguez, Mitch Tybroski, Jeremy Cline, Zach Gage, David Ring and Anthony Meza also had multiple-hit games for Palomar.
Rodriguez went 2-for-3, doubled, scored two runs, drove in a run, was hit by a pitch and walked. Tybroski was 2-for-5 with a double, one run scored and two RBIs. Cline went 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs. Gage went 2-for-6 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Ring came off the bench to go 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs..And Meza was 2for-4 and scored two runs.
Victor Martinez and Cameron Buford also hit safely for Palomar. Buford's eighth-inning pinch-hit single, which helped spark an eight-run outburst by the Comets, was his first community college hit after he was activated two weeks ago from the injured list.
Patrick Smith came on to relieve Larsen during a three-run sixth for Mesa, which took advantage of two Palomar errors, the Comets' only defensive breakdown of the afternoon. He cut off the Olympians' mini-rally at the knees and pitched two innings of no-hit, scoreless ball, striking out two.
Tim Hill returned the favor in the eighth when he came in with runners at first and third and two out and got the final out on a grounder he fielded himself.
Comets slug 2 HRs, knock Mesa out 1st
SAN DIEGO (3-23-10) -- Victor Martinez and Mitch Tybroski slugged home runs on Tuesday as pitcher Ryan Wilkins and Palomar pounded host San Diego Mesa 6-1.
The loss dropped the Olympians out of a tie for first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with San Diego City College. The Comets (9-9, 5-5) moved into a third-place tie with Southwestern, which dropped a 6-3 decision to the Knights.
Wilkins (above left) (4-0) allowed one run while scattering eight hits over the first seven innings, striking out five and walking one. Tim Hill (right) finished the game by pitching two innings of one-hit, shutout ball, striking out two and walking none.
Martinez' home run, a two-run shot, cleared the right-field fence in the seventh inning and extended a 1-0 Palomar lead to 3-0. After Mesa closed the gap to 3-1 in the seventh, Tybroski's three-run HR over the left-field fence in the top of the eighth broke the game open.
Martinez went 3-for-5 for the Palomar with two RBIs. Jose Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a fourth-inning triple that gave the Comets a 1-0 lead. Derek Baum was 2-for-4.
The Comets can move to within one game of second place by beating Mesa again on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field. That game will be broadcast live on KKSM (1320-AM, Cox Cable channel 958 and internet at:
PC can't get untracked vs. 1st-place Knights
SAN MARCOS (3-20-10) -- Palomar didn't get untracked until the bottom of the ninth inning against first-place San Diego City College in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball game on Saturday at Myers Field.
By then the horses had long since left the barn and disappeared down Mission Road.
A run-scoring single by Derek Baum and an RBI double by Mitch Tybroski came way too late to help Palomar in a sloppy 16-2 loss. The defending champion Comets made seven errors and fell three games back in the conference race nine games into the 25-game PCAC season.
Tybroski (above left) wound up going 2-for-3 with two doubles. Baum (above right) went 2-for 5. And B.K. Santy was 2-for-3.
The Comets are 8-9 overall and 4-5 in conference. The Knights are 14-3, 7-2.
Comets' 4-game win streak comes to end
SAN DIEGO (3-18-10) -- Palomar suffered its worst loss of the season on Thursday, dropping an 11-4 decision to San Diego City College at Morley Field in San Diego. The Comets' previous biggest loss had been by four runs.
Zach Gage (left) went 2-for-4 for Palomar with a two-run double, which closed an early SDCC lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth. Palomar gave two runs back in the bottom of the inning and didn't threaten again.
Victor Martinez (right) hit a solo homer over the leftfield fence in the fourth inning.
Palomar fell to 8-8, 4-4 in the PCAC. City advanced to 13-3, 6-2 by breaking the Comets' four-game win streak.
Palomar gets another shot at City, which leads the PCAC by a half-game, on Saturday at noon at Myers Field. The Comets can move back to within a game of the Knights in the 25-game conference season with a victory.
ABOVE: Winning pitcher Ryan Wilkins, who advanced to 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA, fires to the plate. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW LEFT: Ty Afenir, who got the Comets' five-run sixth started with a single and also made a big defensive play. BELOW RIGHT: Zach Gage, who drove in a run with a single in the inning.
PC scores 5 in sixth, gives Wilkins 5-1 win
SAN MARCOS (3-16-10) -- Palomar sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run sixth inning on Tuesday as the Comets downed Southwestern 5-1 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball game at Myers Field.
Ryan Wilkins and the Jaguars' Matt Milke were hooked up in a scoreless pitchers' duel when the Comets put up the five spot, enabling Wilkins to up his record to 3-0 by throwing 7 1/3 innings of one-run, six-hit ball. Scott Myers came on to notch his second save by pitching 1 2/3 innings of no-hit, shutout ball, striking out three. He has yet to allow an earned run on the season.
Ty Afenir got the sixth rolling for the Comets when he led off the bottom of the inning with an opposite-field single to right. With one out, Alfonso Casillas singled, and Jeremy Cline drove in the game's first run with a ground ball the second baseman muffed for an error.
David Ring singled to center, driving in two runs and, after a pickoff play, Victor Martinez followed with a run-scoring double to right that made it 4-0. Zach Gage drove in the fifth run of the inning with an opposite-field single to right.
Martinez also had an infield single as he went 2-for-3 with the double, two RBIs and a circus catch in left when he fell against the fence while catching a long fly. He some way held onto the ball as he tumbled to the ground for the first out in the top of the seventh.
Casillas, playing first, made a difficult play to get Southwestern leadoff hitter Eduardo Arroyo to lead off the sixth inning. Shortstop Afenir's quick reaction and rushed throw to third baseman Gage resulted in the third out in the seventh, getting Willie Helen, who had doubled with two down. Sammy Montalvan hit a shot off Gage's glove and the ball ricocheted to Afenir.
Cline had the Comets' other hit, a single.
Palomar advanced to 8-7, 4-3 in the PCAC with its fourth straight win. Southwestern fell to 11-7, 4-3.
Smith, Hill give Comets relief on road
CHULA VISTA (3-11-10) -- Patrick Smith (left) and Tim Hill (right) supplied Palomar with six innings of two-hit relief pitching on Thursday as the Comets knocked off host Southwestern 5-3.
Smith (2-1) came on with a runner on and none out in the fourth inning and wound up throwing 4 2/3 innings of one-hit ball to record the victory. Hill shut out the Jaguars over the last 1 1/3 innings, striking out two, to notch the save.
Coupled with Grossmont's 4-1 victory over San Diego Mesa, the win moves the Comets to within a game of first place six games into the 25-game conference season.
Zach Gage (2-for 4, RBI) broke a 3-3 tie with an opposite-field single to right in the sixth inning to drive in Victor Martinez, who had doubled to center.
Pinch-hitter Austin Muehring gave the Comets an insurance run in the seventh when he singled up the middle to drive in Derek Baum.
Baum went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
Baum, playing catcher, also gunned down a runner trying to steal and the Comets also got big defensive plays from shortstop Ty Afenir, second baseman Terrence Buchanan and center fielder Jeremy Cline.
Palomar (7-7, 3-3 in conference) turned two double plays. Southwestern, which remains in a first-place tie despite the loss, is 11-5, 4-2.
PC rolls behind Wilkins (7 IP, 2 hits, 10 K's)
SAN MARCOS (3-9-10) -- Palomar made it two straight impressive PCAC wins on Tuesday, pounding out 15 hits in support of winning pitcher Ryan Wilkins and beating Imperial Valley 10-0 at Myers Field.
Wilkins (left) (2-0) threw seven innings of two-hit, scoreless ball, striking out 10 and walking none. Evan Mott and Alex Meza each added an inning of shutout relief as they combined with Wilkins on a four-hitter. Second baseman Matt Gabrielson put exclamation point on the victory by making a spectacular diving stop and difficult throw to first for the final out.
Derek Baum (above right) paced the offensive onslaught, going 4-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI. Austin Muerhing went 3-for-4, homered and drove in three runs. Ty Afenir was 3-for-3 with a double, a steal and an RBI. Zach Gage went 2-or-4 and drove in a run.
Dominant Myers wins; Comets roll G-House
EL CAJON (3-5-10) -- Defending champion Palomar, off to a frustrating start to begin the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball season, was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more.
The Comets took out their frustrations on a stunned Grossmont team on Friday at Noel Mickelsen Field, pounding out 12 hits including two home runs to bash the Griffins 9-3.
Right-hander Scott Myers (above left), dominated the Griffins over 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two scratch singles and striking out four, after relieving starter Trevor Bayless when he began to tire in the fifth.
The University of Oklahoma-bound Myers, who has an ERA of 0.00 for 8 1/3 innings on the season, picked up the win with help from another left hander, Tim Hill, who retired Grossmont 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning and struck out one.
At the plate, four players had two hits each for Palomar (5-7, 1-3), led by Derek Baum (above right) and David Ring, who had two hits apiece.
Baum, a Grossmont High School product returning to the East County, went 2-for-5 with a first-inning home run that set the tone for the game and two RBIs. Ring was 2-for-4 with a third-inning homer and two RBIs. Ring also stole a base and reached base as a hit batter.
Jeremy Cline was 2-for-5 with a single and two RBIs. Alfonso Casillas also was 2-for-5. Mitch Tybroski doubled and walked. Terrence Buchanan, B.K. Santy and Zach Gage added singles. Gage also was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run, and Tybroski walked to force in a run.
Santy had to leave the game after a collision in the top of the ninth. He sustained an undetermined knee injury.
Grossmont is 7-5, 1-3.
Six of Palomar's 10 current pro baseball players were at Myers on Thursday to work out prior to reporting for spring training. TOP ROW, FROM LEFT: Nick Vincent (Padres organization), Brenden Webb (Orioles organization). BOTTOM ROW, FROM LEFT: Jeff Ibarra (Padres organization), Andrew Esquibel (Mariners organization), Kurt Wideman (Padres organization) and Jeff Tezak (White Sox organization). -- Courtesy photo
Pro former Comets return to Myers Field
SAN MARCOS (2-25-10) -- Six of Palomar's 10 pro baseball players returned to Myers Field on Thursday, joining other North County pro players, to pitch and take batting practice prior to reporting for spring training.
The players were: Pitcher Nick Vincent (Padres organization), who played at Long Beach State after Palomar; outfielder Brenden Webb (Orioles), who signed out of Palomar; pitcher Jeff Ibarra (Padres), who played at Lee University; pitcher Andrew Esquibel (Mariners), who played at the University of Kansas; catcher Kurt Wideman (Padres), who played at the University of the Pacific; and infielder Jeff Tezak (White Sox), who played at the University of Nebraska.
Casillas, Smith stand out in loss to Mesa
SAN MARCOS (3-4-10) -- Alfonso Casillas (left) pounded out three more hits on Thursday, going 3-for-3 and walking twice, but Palomar dropped a 6-2 PCAC baseball decision to San Diego Mesa at Myers Field.
The Comets left 11 runners on base, eight in scoring position.
Patrick Smith (right) pitched 4 1/3 strong relief innings for the Comets, giving up a lone unearned run and striking out five. Smith struck out the side in the fifth inning.
Terrence Buchanan and B.K. Santy each had a pair of hits. Jeremy slugged a two-run home run.
It was the worst loss of what has been a frustrating early season for Palomar (4-7). The Comets' previous six losses were by a total of 10 runs.
ABOVE: Palomar's Jeremy Cline doubles in the first inning. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Trevor Bayless, who struck out three batters in a one-inning relief stint. BELOW RIGHT: Evan Mott, the final pitcher of the day for the Comets in the five-hitter.
Comets waste 5-hitter, fall on unearned runs
SAN MARCOS (3-3-10) -- Palomar continued to lose close baseball games on Wednesday, getting a combined five-hitter from five pitchers but losing 5-3 at home to Southwestern by allowing four unearned runs.
Jeremy Cline went 3-for-5 for the Comets with two doubles and an RBI. Andrew Larsen, Shane Phillips, Trevor Bayless, Alex Meza and Evan Mott teamed up on the five-hitter. Bayless struck out the side while allowing a scratch single in the seventh inning.
The Comets' other hits came on a double by Alfonso Casillas, who also walked twice and singles by B.K. Santy, Anthony Meza, Mitch Tybroski and Ty Afenir. Derek Baum contributed a sacrifice fly.
Casillas 4-for-5 but two 9th-inning errors fatal
SAN DIEGO (3-2-10) -- Palomar's Alfonso Casillas (left) went 4-for-5 with a home run, double and three RBIs on Tuesday, but two errors in the bottom of the ninth inning gave San Diego City College a 5-4 baseball win.
The Comets, who host Southwestern on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in a rain make-up from Saturday, also got doubles from B.K. Santy and Ty Afenir and 1 1/3 perfect relief innings from Tim Hill (right), who retired all four batters he faced.
Casillas ran his streak of consecutive plate appearances with base hits, walks or being hit by pitches to 14 before making an out in the top of the ninth inning.
Palomar has traditionally had trouble winning conference openers, and the defending PCAC champions fell to 0-1 in the conference with the loss.
TOP PHOTO: Comets' Jeremy Cline successfully steals second in the seventh inning Friday. The ball got away from Pirates second baseman Derek Ring. Cline advanced to third on the play and scored on Alfonso Casillas' double. LOWER LEFT: Reliever Tim Hill delivers pitch. LOWER RIGHT: Alfonso Casillas on ninth-inning home run. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.
Casillas still on fire but PC drops strange one
SAN MARCOS (2-26-10) -- Alfonso Casillas stayed red-hot, going 2-for 2 with his third home run, two RBIs and three walks on Friday at Myers Field, but his performance wasn't enough to beat visiting Ventura in a non-conference game.
The Pirates held on to win 6-5 as a strange top of the ninth and almost-as-strange bottom of the ninth ruined the Comets' chances for their third win of the week.
In the top of the ninth, with Scott Myers on the mound in relief, Palomar appeared to get out of the inning when Myers struck out Ryan Jones for out No. 3.
Jones swung at a breaking ball which hit the dirt. Catcher Derek Baum blocked the ball routinely -- but the bat hit Baum in the head on the backswing..
A dazed Baum managed to throw to first, which would have gotten Jones and ended the inning. The ball, however, hit Jones in the back. Joseph Luna came home from third on the play, stretching a one-run Pirates lead to two runs.
Palomar still battled back in the bottom of the ninth, but another strange play did in the Comets, who fell a run short.
Jeremy Cline walked to lead off the inning. Pinch-hitter Jose Rodriguez then hit a frozen rope line-drive which first baseman Dewey Grattin somehow managed to catch and he tagged first to double off Cline.
The next batter, Casillas, homered over the left field fence. But instead of a three-run HR that would have won the game, it was a solo shot and the Comets trailed 7-6. David Ring and Austin Muerhing followed with back-to-back singles but the next batter, pinch-hitting for Baum who had to leave the game, flied out to right for the final out..
Casillas has now gone 10 straight plate appearances either reaching base or homering.
Ring went 2-for-5 with a two-run double. Baum was 2-for-4.
Ventura, which clubbed San Diego Mesa 20-7 the previous afternoon, is 5-4. Palomar is 4-4, with its four wins all over teams from the powerful Orange Empire Conference.
Palomar is scheduled to open defense of its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship on Saturday at noon at Myers Field vs. Southwestern, the champion two years ago when the Jaguars lost in the championship game of the state tournament. But the forecast calls for rain, which would postpone the game until Wednesday.
Wilkins, Ring, Casillas pace rout of Cypress
CYPRESS (2-23-10) -- Pitcher Ryan Wilkins (left) allowed one earned run over seven-plus innings in a dominating performance on Tuesday as Palomar beat Cypress 7-3 in a game that was more one-sided than the score would indicate.
David Ring (right) and Alfonso Casillas went 6-for-7 between them with a home run, three doubles and four RBIs.
It was Palomar's second win in two days over two Orange Empire Conference teams (the Comets won 4-1 at Saddleback on Monday) with a combined record of 13-2 vs. everyone else. The Chargers came into Tuesday's game fresh from a lop-sided weekend win over NJCAA (non-California and Pacific Northwest teams) Division I nationally No. 1-ranked College of Southern Nevada.
But Wilkins, a sophomore right-hander from Cathedral Catholic High School by way of College of Southern Idaho, struck out six and walked one over the first seven innings as the Comets methodically dismantled the Chargers to take a 7-0 lead. Wilkins tired to begin the eighth and Tim Hill came on to get the Comets out of the inning. Scott Myers entered ended the game in the ninth and pitched to one batter, getting a game-ending double play for the save.
Ring set the tone for the afternoon in the top of the first with a two-run home run over the left-field fence, scoring Casillas ahead of him to put Palomar immediately on top 2-0. Casillas, in a rare lead-off appearance, had walked and advanced to second on the first of two sacrifice bunts by Mitch Tybroski.
The Comets made it 4-0 in the fourth, 6-0 in the seventh and 7-0 in the top of the eighth. Ring wound up going 3-for-4 with the home run, a double and two RBIs. Casillas was 3-for-3, doubled twice, drove in two runs, walked and was hit by a pitch.
Ty Afenir went 2-for-4. Derek Baum contributed a double and a sacrifice fly to drive in Palomar's fifth run. Tybroski went 1-for-2 with the two sacrifices and an RBI ground ball to the right side. Zach Gage and Jeremy Cline also hit safely.
Palomar turned three double plays, from shortstop Ty Afenir to second baseman Matt Gabrielson to first baseman Casillas in the first inning, from Gabrielson to Afenir to Casillas in the fifth and from Casillas, by then at third, to second baseman Anthony Meza to first baseman Hayden Schrimpf to close out the game in the ninth. Gage, playing third, made a spectacular defensive play to field the ball and throw to first for the third out in the bottom of the third.
The Comets have a 4-3 record but are 4-0 on the road and are 3-1 vs. teams from the powerful Orange Empire, considered the nation's toughest conference. The Chargers fell to 7-3.
Larsen, Stevens pitch Comets over S'back
MISSION VIEJO (2-22-10) -- Saddleback is 6-0 vs. the rest of its baseball opponents but 0-2 against Palomar.
This, after Andrew Larsen (left) and Levi Stevens (right) pitched the Comets to a 4-1 win over the Gauchos in a rain make-up on Monday.
Chaffey College transfer Larsen threw the first five innings to record the win. Stevens, a freshman left-hander from Grossmont High School, was lights-out in a four-inning relief appearance to pick up his first community college save.
"That's what happens when you throw breaking pitches for strikes and pitch ahead," Palomar coach Buck Taylor said.
Stevens has an ERA of 0.00 for seven innings pitched on the season.
The Comets had only six hits but made them count. Terrence Buchanan went 3-for-3, walked, drove in a run and scored two of Palomar's four runs.
Alfonso Castillo hit a laser, line-drive, two-run home run over the right-field fence in the eighth inning. It was his second homer of the season.
B.K. Santy went 2-for-4.
Palomar handed Saddleback its only previous loss 3-1 back on Feb. 3, also at Saddleback. Monday's game originally was scheduled for Saturday at Myers Field, was rained out and re-scheduled for Monday at Palomar. It was switched to Saddleback due to weather.
The Comets (3-3) will visit Cypress (7-2), a 12-7 winner over NJCAA (non-California and Pacific Northwest teams) Division I No. 1-ranked College of Southern Nevada over the weekend, on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Shore pitches Oklahoma past San Diego St.
SAN DIEGO (2-21-2010) -- Junior right-hander Bobby Shore, who was 11-1 for Palomar last season as a sophomore, made his Division I debut a memorable one on Sunday as he pitched 22nd-ranked Oklahoma to a 5-2 win over San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Shore surrendered one run on five hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking one, to record the victory and give the Sooners a 4-0 season-opening series sweep of the Aztecs.
Two ex-Comets played for SDSU. Sean Sanford pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief. Second baseman and leadoff hitter Mitch Blackburn walked against Oklahoma reliever Drew Verhagen and scored a run.
ABOVE: Palomar's Ty Afnier steals second base in sixth inning of Monday's first game. He also stole third. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt. BELOW LEFT: Anthony Meza, who homered for the Comets in the second game.
Comets take pair of heartbreaking losses
SAN MARCOS (2-15-10) -- Palomar dropped a pair of tough non-conference baseball losses to College of the Desert on Monday at Myers Field, despite a 5-for-9, six-RBI performance by Alfonso Casillas...
The Comets lost the first game 9-8. Casillas was 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, a walk and four RBIs. The HR actually had come six days earlier when the teams' originally-scheduled game at COD was suspended by rain with Palomar ahead 2-0 in the top of the first.
The Comets extended the lead to 5-0 after a half-inning when the game resumed Monday at Myers Field. But they couldn't hold on in the first of two mistake-filled contests..
Mitch Tybroski (2-for-3, double, RBI, walk), B.K. Santy (2-for-4, double, 2 RBIs, hit by pitch) and Terrence Buchanan (2-for-4) also had multiple hits for PC in Game 1.
Two errors resulted in COD runs in the second game and the Roadrunners won it on a two-run homer that followed the second error in the top of the 10th. David Ring (3-for-3), Casillas (2-for-5, two RBIs) and Anthony Meza (home run) paced 12-hit attack for Palomar.
Buchanan's drive to left field which would have won the game in the bottom of the ninth hit the top of the fence inches below the scoreboard and bounced back onto the field for a double, and the Comets didn't score in the inning. That set the stage for COD's game-winning HR in the 10th.
Freshman left-hander Alex Meza retired all four batters he faced in relief in the second game, three by strikeouts.
Martinez' 3 hits, Afenir's defense lifts PC
FULLERTON (2-12-10) -- Palomar pounded out 15 hits, led by Victor Martinez (right, 3-for-5, double), and freshman shortstop Ty Afenir (left) had a huge day defensively in an 8-6 baseball win at Fullerton on Saturday.
Jeremy Cline (triple single, two RBIs), Anthony Meza (two singles, walk, two RBIs), Terrence Buchanan (two singles, RBI, steal) and Hayden Schrimpf (two singles) also had multiple hits.
Afenir, the fifth member of his family to start regularly for the Comets, robbed Fullerton players of hits with spectacular plays in the eighth and ninth inning. He also contributed a double in the eighth for his first community college hit and walked twice.
Adam Mott, the second PC pitcher of the day, picked up the win. Starter Levi Stevens threw three one-hit, shutout innings and Alex Meza pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Tim Hill struck out four in 1 2/3 innings. Ryan Wilkins pitched the last 1 1/3 innings, when the Hornets scored two unearned runs the make the game appear closer than it was. Palomar led through seven innings 8-2.
Alfonso Casillas, Derek Braum, B.K. Santy, Austin Muerhing and Jose Rodriguez also hit safely.
Ex-Comet, Braves MLB player joins Padres
SAN DIEGO (2-12-10) -- The migration of former Palomar baseball players to the San Diego Padres continued on Thursday when one-time Comet and ex-Atlanta Braves third baseman Randy Johnson was named as the organization's minor league field coordinator.
He joins fellow ex-Comets Robert "Jason" McLeod (assistant general manager), Nick Vincent (minor league pitcher), Jeff Ibarra (minor league pitcher) and Kurt Wideman (minor league catcher) in the Padres organization.
And, in the process, he gets to do something he couldn't while serving as assistant to the general manager of the Oakland A's -- work with players on the field.
Johnson starred for the Comets in baseball (under then-coach Jim Clayton) and as a football place-kicker (under Mack Wiebe). He then starred in both baseball and football at San Jose State.
Johnson, who now lives in Valley Center, played Major League Baseball for the Braves from 1982-84 prior to two seasons in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp..He was the Braves' starting third baseman for most of the 1984 season, batting a career-high .279, when All-Star third baseman Bob Horner was injured.
Johnson returns to the Padres, where he was a minor league scout, cross-checker and Major League advance scout from 1990-92 and 1994-95. He's been a special assistant to Oakland A's general manager Billy Bean and an advance scout and foreign scout for the A's for the past seven seasons. Johnson also was Western scouting director for the Colorado Rockies, and served a stint with the Detroit Tigers, where he was assistant to the general manager, held various scouting positions and spent a season as roving minor league hitting instructor.
At Palomar, Johnson was a two-year starter in baseball and, in football, kicked field goals of 53, 52, 50 and 49 yards for the Comets. His 53-yarder vs. Riverside City College in 1974 is still Palomar's record for longest field goal. The record was tied by Matt George vs. Los Angeles Pierce in 1993. George went on to kick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While the Comets produced Tom Dempsey, who set the NFL record for longest field goal with a game-winning 63-yarder for the New Orleans Saints to beat the Detroit Lions on Nov. 8, 1970, Johnson is considered the most consistent kicker in Palomar history. He was expected to be an NFL kicker coming out of San Jose State but chose baseball instead.
At San Jose State, Johnson was an Academic All-American in baseball. His brother, Don Johnson, was a standout pitcher for the Comets and pitched in the Angels organization. Don Johnson is now an assistant Palomar softball coach.
As field coordinator, Johnson will coordinate spring training and then work the organization's farm teams.
One bad inning costs Comets in home debut
SAN MARCOS (2-12-10) -- In eight of nine innings, Palomar shut out Fullerton on Friday in the Comets' home baseball opener.
But an ill-timed error did in the Comets, who surrendered five runs in the top of the sixth and dropped a 5-2 non-conference decision to Fullerton at Myers Field to fall to 1-1 on what has been a rain-plagued season.
Four of the Hornets' runs were unearned.
Palomar wasted strong pitching performances by starter Andrew Larson, Scott Myers, Shane Phillips (above left), who retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, and Evan Mott.
Alfonso Casillas went 2-for-5 for the Comets, driving in both their runs with singles in the first and fifth innings.
Palomar loaded the bases with none out in the bottom of the ninth when Mitch Tybroski drew a walk, Anthony Meza was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Rich Montanez singled to left field in his first community college at-bat.
But the Comets were unable to score as the Hornets held on for the win.
Catcher B.K. Santy (above right) gunned down both Fullerton runners who tried to steal on throws to shortstop Ty Afenir, who had a big day defensively for the Comets.
Smith out-duels U of A transfer in 3-1 win
MISSION VIEJO (2-3-10) -- Sophomore right-hander Patrick Smith won a pitching duel from University of Arizona transfer Cody Lewis and Victor Martinez went 3-for-3 on Wednesday as Palomar downed host Saddleback 3-1 in its 2010 baseball opener.
Smith (left), who signed early with the University of San Diego, worked his way out of a first-inning jam and wound up stopping the Gauchos on two hits over five innings.
The Comets also got outstanding relief pitching from Adam Mott, Tim Hill and Ryan Wilkins, who struck out three batters in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the save. The Palomar pitchers scattered six hits.
Martinez (right) doubled twice, singled to drive in two runs to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning and reached base at a hit batter. B.K. Santy singled in a run to tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning.
Jeremy Cline, Terrence Buchanan, Derek Baum and Zach Gage added singles as the Comets got to Lewis, who pitched for Arizona last season as a true freshman, for six hits over five innings. Palomar finished with eight hits off five Saddleback pitchers.
Palomar benefited by being able to execute -- Buchanan with a bunt single and Ty Afenir and Gage contributing successful sacrifice bunts.
Along with shutout innings by Mott and Wilkens, Hill allowed back--to-back baserunners to open both the seventh and eighth innings, then worked his way out of trouble both times. He used a variety of effective pitches to strike out three batters.
For Saddleback, Lewis struck out eight batters in the first 3 1/3 innings before the Comets started to get to him.
Palomar is slated to play Allan Hancock on Friday at 10 a.m. at Santa Ana College in a game that has been moved up a day from Saturday to attempt to beat an expected storm. Weather permitting, Palomar also will play Santa Ana at 2 p.m. in another game that originally was scheduled for Saturday.
Coach Buck Taylor (10) has one of the nation's best community college baseball programs. The nationally-ranked Comets open the season Wednesday at Saddleback. -- Photo by Hugh Gerhardt
Nationally-ranked Comets open at Gauchos
MISSION VIEJO / CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (2-2-10) -- Palomar, which previously was ranked No. 4 in Southern California and No. 9 on the West Coast in the pre-season, will enter Wednesday's 2 p.m. season opener at Saddleback ranked No.30 in the nation.
PG Crosschecker.com of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has positioned the Comets as the fourth-ranked California team in its national rankings entering the season.
Southern Nevada and San Jacinto (Texas) are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation, respectively. The top-ranked California team is No. 6 Cypress. A year ago, Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champion Palomar was ranked No. 5 in the nation at the conclusion of the regular season and No. 11 after the post-season.
Four Comets signed early with Division I teams, including right-handed pitcher Patrick Smith, who is expected to start today's game, with the University of San Diego. Left-handed pitcher Scott Myers signed early with the University of Oklahoma, third baseman Alfonso Casillas with UOP and catcher B.K. Santy with the University of Washington.
Palomar No. 4 in SoCal, No. 9 on West Coast
SAN MARCOS (12-20-09) -- Palomar will open the 2010 season on Feb. 1 at Saddleback ranked No. 4 in Southern California by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association and No. 9 on the West Coast by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The Comets play the three teams ranked ahead of them in the SoCal poll (No. 1 and defending state champion Orange Coast, co-No. 2 Cypress twice and co-No. 2 Santa Ana), plus No. 6 Southwestern five times, No. 13 Saddleback twice, No. 16 Grossmont five times and No. 17 Allan Hancock,
The Top 10 teams in the ABCA Pacific Divisions poll are No. 1 Orange Coast, No. 2 San Joaquin Delta, co-No. 3 Lower Columbia (Washington), co-No. 3 Mt. Hood (Oregon), No. 5 Cypress, No. 6 Fresno City College, No. 7 Santa Ana, No. 8 Columbia Basin, the No.9 Comets and No. 10 Feather River.
Ex-Comet McLeod new Padres Assistant GM
SAN DIEGO (12-3-09) -- Former Palomar pitcher Robert "Jason" McLeod is leaving the Boston Red Sox, where he has been Director of Amateur Scouting since 2004, to become the new Assistant General Manager of the San Diego Padres.
After his career at Rancho Buena Vista High School and Palomar, McLeod pitched professionally in the Houston Astros organization. He's a former Padres scout. Another ex-Comet and former minor league pitcher, Darren Balsley, is the Padres' pitching coach.
Smith 4th 2010 Comet to commit to D-I, to USD
SAN MARCOS (11-9-09) -- Right-handed pitcher Patrick Smith (left) has become the fourth 2010 Palomar College baseball player to commit early to a Division I program. Smith has selected the University of San Diego, where ex-Palomar pitching coach Tyler Kincaid is the pitching coach.
All four (the list also includes right-handed pitcher Scott Myers to Oklahoma, first baseman Alfonso Casillas to UOP and catcher B.K. Santy to Washington) are all expected to sign during the one-week early period that begins Wednesday.
Smith (above), a sophomore from Paloma Valley High School in Menifee, had a 2.00 ERA for the Comets as a freshman last spring. He had a big summer for the Wenatchee (Washington) Applesox in wood-bat ball and also was recruited, among others, by UC Irvine and Gonzaga.
Santy commits to University of Washington
SAN MARCOS (11-2-09) -- Returning starting catcher B.K. Santy has become the third baseball player from Palomar's 2010 team to make an early commitment to a Division I school.
Santy (left), heading home after a home run against Mt. SAC, selected the University of Washington.
Santy (Rancho Bernardo High) batted .291 with nine doubles, a home run and 22 RBIs last spring as a true freshman as the Comets won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship and made it to the finals of one of two Southern California Super Regional tournaments.
That Palomar team was ranked No. 11 in the nation (No. 6 in the nation after the regular seaso) and No. 1 in Southern California and in California / Oregon / Washington.
Earlier, pitcher Scott Myers committed to the University of Oklahoma, first baseman Alfonso Casillas to the University of the Pacific.
ABOVE PHOTOS: First baseman Alfonso Casillas will move on to the University of the Pacific after the 2010 season. -- Photos by Hugh Gearhardt. BELOW LEFT: Scott Myers, a transfer who will pitch for the Comets this spring, will then transfer to the University of Oklahoma.
Myers commits to Oklahoma, Casillas to UOP
SAN MARCOS (10-19-09) -- Palomar baseball players Alfonso Casillas and Scott Myers have made early commitments to the University of the Pacific and the University of Oklahoma, respectively, for the 2011 season.
Casillas, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound sophomore first baseman from Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, led Palomar with a .442 average during the 2009 season, when the 36-13-1 Comets won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship, advanced to the Super Regional finals and were ranked No. 11 in the nation.
Casillas finished with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs as a freshman and was a first-team all-conference selection, a first-team CCCAA all-state pick, and a first-team community college All-American.
Myers, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound right-handed pitcher, is a transfer from Saddleback College where he was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings as a freshman last season. He was an All-CIF Southern Section Division III selection two years ago at Beckman High School in Irvine, where he was 7-3 with six complete games, a 1.51 ERA and 82 strikeouts as a senior.
Myers transferred to Beckman High at the semester of his senior year from New Jersey when his father was transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Also, right-handed pitcher Aaron Edwards (1-0 with two saves and a 3.04 ERA for the Comets last spring) has accepted a scholarship to NAIA power Culver-Stockton College and will transfer there in January.
All-time Comet great added to Palomar staff
SAN MARCOS (9-21-09) -- Troy Afenir, who came out of Palomar to play catcher in the Major Leagues with the Houston Astros, Oakland A's and Cincinnati Reds, has joined coach Buck Taylor's Palomar coaching staff as bullpen coach.
Afenir broke into MLB on Sept. 21, 1987 with the Astros and played his final Major League game for the Reds on July 10, 1992. An outstanding defensive catcher, he made only one error in 192 chances in limited action in the Major Leagues and had a .992 career fielding percentage.
He was one of four brothers who played baseball for the Comets and then went on to play either NCAA Division I baseball, professional baseball or both.
Older brother Steve Afenir, an outfielder for the Comets and now head coach at Escondido High School, was Troy Afenir's teammate on Palomar's 1992 team and went on to play for the University of Wyoming.
Younger brother Ricky Afenir, father of current Palomar freshman infielder Tye Afenir, played third base for the Comets and for BYU.
Younger brother Tom Afenir caught for both Palomar and for the University of Mississippi and later played in the Cleveland Indians farm system.
Troy Afenir was the second player taken in the nation in the old Winter draft (by the Astros) in January, 1982, prior to his freshman season at Palomar. He later was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and then for a second time by the Astros, in the first round of the June 1983 draft following his sophomore season. He turned down a scholarship from Oklahoma State, his No. 1 four-year college choice, to sign a professional contract.
Afenir was a California Community College all-state selection and a community college All-American under coach Bob Vetter for the Comets as a sophomore in 1983. He still ranks fourth in home runs on Palomar's all-time single-season list (13 in 1983), is tied for first on the Palomar list for home runs in conference games (10, also in 1983) and is fifth on Palomar's career home run list (16, in an injury-shortened freshman season in 1982, and his sophomore season of 1983).
Afenir is married to the former Kim Carter, who played softball at Palomar under coach Mark Eldridge. Their son, Austin, is a junior catcher at Escondido High. Afenir's nephew Buck Afenir, the son of older brother Steve, caught for the University of Kansas and is currently playing in the New York Yankees farm system.
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