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Athletic Director:
Scott Cathcart




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Saladino 3rd-best prospect in White Sox system

CHICAGO (1-10-2012) -- Former Palomar shortstop Tyler Saladino will head to Major League spring training with the Chicago White Sox for the second straight season ranked as one of the top prospects in the Sox' organization.

Two web sites, Baseball and Bullpen, both rank the former Comet and 2010 Summit League Player of the Year at Oral Roberts University as the third-best prospect at all positions in the White Sox organization.

Saladino sustained a fractured hand in a Major League spring training game for the White Sox a year ago and missed more than a month to begin the season before slugging 16 home runs with 26 doubles, nine triples and a .501 slugging percentage at Double-A Winston-Salem.

He'll report to White Sox Major League spring training camp at Glendale, AZ for the second year in a row as a non-roster player. The other ex-Comet reporting to Major League spring training, pitcher Nick Vincent, is on the San Diego Padres' 40-man roster.

Saladino dominated for the Comets during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, then also dominated Division I pitching during his junior season at Oral Roberts in 2010 before being drafted by the White Sox in the seventh round.

He'd been a 36th-round selection of the Houston Astros coming out of University City High School in 2007.

Saladino credits his two seasons with the Comets so much for his development as a baseball player that he lists "Palomar" instead of "Oral Roberts" as his college on all of his Major League and Minor League bios.

On the fast track to making the Sox' Major League roster, Saladino was one of three ex-Comets who spent the past off-season in the prestigious Arizona Instructional League.

Padres elevate Vincent to their 40-man roster

SAN DIEGO  (11-19-11) -- Right-hander Nick Vincent, who made a quantum jump in his baseball career while pitching at Palomar, was elevated by the San Diego Padres to their 40-man Major League roster on Friday.

Vincent, 25, a Ramona High School product, came into his own as a Comet with 20 career victories, second-best in Palomar history.

After an outstanding junior season at Long Beach State, he was drafted and signed by the Padres in 2008.

Vincent was a finalist for Outstanding Double-A Reliever in Minor League Baseball in 2011, when he was 8-2 with 3 saves, a 2.27 ERA and 54 hits, 89 strikeouts, and 20 walks in 79 1/3 innings in helping lead San Antonio to the Texas League championship and the best record of any minor league team on any level..

The Padres' pitching coach is another former Comet, Darren Balsley.

Nick Vincent is shown pitching for Palomar and in the San Diego Padres' farm system. Vincen, who helped the San Antonio Spurs to  the 2011 Texas League championship and the best record of any team in Minor League Baseball, is one of six finalists for the Minor League Double A Reliever of the Year Award.

 Vincent 3rd so far in vote for AA Reliever of Year

DURHAM, North Carolina  (10-10-11) -- Palomar alum Nick Vincent, who helped lead the San Diego Padres' San Antonio Missions farm club to the Texas League championship and the best record in Minor League Baseball in 2011, is a finalist for the Double-A reliever of the Year 2011, is a finalist for the Double-A Reliever of the Year award.

Vincet (8-2, 3 saves, 2.27 ERA, 54 hits, 89 strikeouts, 20 walks in 79 1/3 innings) is currently third in the 6-man voting behind leader Cory Burns (Akron, Eastern League) and Justin Miller (Frisco, Texas League). Trailing are Shawn Tolleson (Chatttanooga), Brad Brach (San Antonio) and Jeff Beliveau (Tennessee).

One can vote for Nick Vincent for the Baseball America Minor League Double A Reliever of the Year award up to 25 times on each computer or smart phone by clicking on the following link:t:

Saladino 18-for-28 last 6 games, slugs 16th HR

FREDERICK, Maryland / SALEM, Virginia (8-23-11) -- Former Palomar shortstop Tyler Saladino, the Summit League Player of the Year as an Oral Roberts University junior in 2010 before being drafted in the seventh round by the Chicago White Sox, is red hot in minor league baseball.

Beginning slowly coming of the disabled list after breaking his hand in a White Sox major league spring training game this past March, Saladino is on fire for the Winston-Salem, North Carolina Dash in the Advanced A Carolina League.

In his last six games, the ex-Comet and current Winston-Salem shortstop has gone 18-for-28 in those six games for a .642 average, going 3-for-5, 4-for-5, 3-for-4, 2-for-4, 4-for-6 and 2-for-4. Saladino is hitting an even .500 (21-for-42) in his last 10 games.

Saladino was 4-for-6 with two runs scored, three RBIs, two triples and his 16th home run since coming off the DL on Sunday in Frederick, Maryland in a game against the Potomac Nationals.

On Monday, he tripled again while gong 2-for-4 against the Salem Red Sox at Salem, Virginia.

Saladio is batting .268 for the season with 20 doubles, 6 triples, the 16 home runs and 49 RBIs. The University City High School product has a .507 slugging percentage.


Hatley has 4-1 record,11 saves in Cubs' system

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (8-27-11) -- Former Palomr baseball pitcher Marcus Hatley is now 4-1 with 11 saves and a 3.02 ERA for the 2011 season as he continues up the ladder in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Hatley, a Mission Hills High product, began 2011 in Class A, moved up to advanced A and is currently pitching for the Cubs' Tennessee Smokies farm club in the Class AA Southern League.

Hatley struck out two batters in 1 2/3 relief innings against the Jacksonville Suns on Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander is 2-0 with four saves since being promoted to Double-A



Player Pos. Organization / Team
Nick Vincent RHP Padres / San Antonio (AA)
Marcus Hatley RHP Cubs / Tennessee (AA)
Mitch Blackburn INF Angels / Arkansas (AA) - x
Jeff Ibarra LHP Padres / Elsinore (Advanced A)
Tyler Saladino INF White Sox / Winston-Salem (Advanced A)
Brenden Webb OF Orioles / Delmarva (A)
Travis Strong RHP Orioles / Delmarva (A)
Bobby Shore RHP Mariners / Pulaski (R)
Casey Edelbrock RHP Royals / Arizona (R)
Joe Ramos INF Independent / Lincoln
Jeff Nettles INF Independent / Somerset
Andres Esquibel RHP Independent / Lake Erie
Cameron Aspass RHP Independent / Evansville
Zane Chavez C Independent / Grand Prarie
Scott Clement C Independent / Gary South Shore
Jeff Tezak INF Austrian Baseball League / Vienna

x -- announced voluntary retirement on July 17

4-Year College Teams for Players in Pro Baseball -- Nick Vincent, Long Beach State / Mitch Blackburn, San Diego State; Tyler Saladino, Oral Roberts / Jeff Ibarra, Lee University / Bobby Shore, Oklahoma / Casey Edelbrock, Lewis-Clark State / Joe Ramos, Chico State / Andres Esquibel, Kansas / Cameron Aspass, Abilene Christian / Zane Chavez, Indiana State / Scott Clement, UC San Diego / Jeff Tezak, Nebraska

Vincent: 79 strikeouts 14 walks in 68 innings

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (8-16-11) -- Nick Vincent, dominant for both Palomar and Long Beach State, has also been dominant on every level in the minor leagues since signing with the San Diego Padres.

Vincent remained hot on Monday evening, throwing a 1-2-3 relief innings, striking out two and walking none, as the Class Double-A San Antonio Missions continued to do the same thing -- dominate -- in the Texas League.

The Missions beat the Arkansas Travelers 8-6 before 3,817 fans at Little Rock's Dickey Stephens Park to advanced to 80-40, becoming the first Texas League team to reach 80 wins this season.

The Missions, who clinched the South Division first-half title with a victory over Corpus Christi back on June 14 in San Antonio as Vincent picked up the win in relief, now lead the second-half standings by 3 games over second-place Midland.

Vincent is 7-1 with 3 saves and a 2.12 ERA for San Antonio. He's given up only 44 hits in 68 innings, striking out 79 batters and walking 14.

Opposing batters are hitting an even .100 against Vincent as the Missions prepare to open a home series against the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday evening. The league playoffs will get underway on Sept. 7.

Afenir goes 2-for-4 to finish tournament at .438

WICHITA, Kansas (8-12-11) -- The San Diego Waves, with were eliminated from the 77th National Baseball Congress World Series on Thursday evening 9-2 by the Kenei (Alaska) Oilers.

But not before Audie Afenir (right), one of three Palomar players on the Waves roster, went 2-for-4 to conclude the tournament with a .438 batting average (7-for-16) while playing in five of the team's six games.

Afenir was the Waves' designated hitter in Thursday's game while also playing first base and catcher in the tournament. The Waves finished sixth.

Palomar's other players on the Waves team were second baseman Christian Johnson and pitcher Clayton Voechting. players Audie Kenei (Alaska) OilersAfenir, Christian Johnson and Clayton Voechting.

The Waves, who dropped a 7-0 decision in Wednesday's winners' bracket finals to the Santa Barbara Foresters, the defending tournament champions who have advanced to Saturday's finals.

The Waves had reached the winners' bracket final by downing the Valley City (Kansas) Diamond Dogs 5-4 on Tuesday.

Comets' Afenir remains on a roll in Wichita

WICHITA, Kansas (8-4-11) -- Audie Afenir, Palomar's All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team first baseman during the 2011 season as a true freshman, stayed on a roll Thursday evening in the 77th National Baseball Congress World Series

Afenir singled to drive in a run to get the Waves untracked in the fourth inning as the San Diego Waves reached the winners' bracket quarterfinals in the double-elimination tournament at Lawrence Dumont Stadium.

Afenir's two out-single tied the game at 1-1 and the Waves went on to beat the Park City (Kansas) Rangers 4-3 in 10 innings. Through the Waves' first two games in the tournament, Afenir leads the waves with a .500 batting average, going 4-for-8 with three RBIs.

On Monday, Afenir (above) went 3-for-4, scored a run and drove in two runs as he led the Waves to an 11-3 win over the Katy (Texas) Collegians. The game began at 12:17 a.m. Central Time and ended at 2:26 a.m.

Palomar teammate Clayton Voechting pitched a scoreless ninth inning in relief against the Collegians.

Afenir, Voechting and the Waves will play the Arvada (Colorado) Colts in the winners' bracket quarterfinals on Saturday. Arvada has beaten the Clarinda (Iowa) A's and gthe Haysville (IKansas) Heat in their first two games in the tournament.

Afenir is the son of former Palomar all-state selection and ex-Major League catcher Troy Afenir, now an assistant coach for the Comets.


Vincent ups mark to 7-1 with 2.03 ERA in AA

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (8-4-11) -- Palomar alum Nick Vincent ran his win-loss record to 7-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.03 for the San Diego Padres' San Antonio Missions' farm club in the Class AA Texas League on Thursday night.

Vincent picked up the win in relief, pitching a hitless, scoreless relief inning, striking out one and walking none, as the Missions defeated the Corpus Christi Hooks 6-1.

The former Ramona High School, Palomar and Long Beach State standout has now gone 12 straight relief appearances without giving up a run. He's allowed only 40 hits in 62 innings while striking out 72 batters and walking 14.

Royals sign Edelbrock; Vincent's ERA at 2.17

KANSAS CITY, Missouri / SAN ANTONIO, Texas / LAKE ELSINORE / PULASKI, Virginia (7-29-11) -- The Kansas City Royals have signed 6-foot-3, 203-pound right-handed pitcher Casey Edelbrock, Palomar's all-time saves leader, to a free-agent contract.

Edelbrock has yet to be assigned. He's coming off his senior season for NAIA national power Lewis-Clark State College of Lewiston, ID, where he went 4-4 with one save and a 2.54 earned run average, the second-best ERA for a team that made it through four games in the NAIA World Series.

The former Poway High School pitcher broke Palomar's single-season  saves record with 10 as a sophomore in 2009, when he helped pitched Palomar to the Pacific Coast Athletic Association championship, the top seed in the Southern California community college regionals and rankings of No. 6 nationally (at the conclusion of the regular season) and final No. 11 national ranking.

Edelbrock (file photo by Hugh Cox) was a California Community College first-team all-state selection and a community college All-American. He was the closer on the all-conference first team.

Edelbrock pitched his junior season for Chico State in 2010 before transferring to Lewis-Clark State.


Nick Vincent.(left) has lowered his ERA to 2.17 in 47 relief appearances for the San Diego Padres' San Antonio farm club in the Double-A Texas League.

He's 6-1 with three saves and has struck out 65 and walked 14 in 58 innings pitched. Vincent has allowed only 39 hits.

The former Long Beach State standout has made eight straight shutout relief appearances. In his last 10 appearances, Vincent has an ERA of 1.64.


Jeff Ibarra, who pitched for NAIA national power Lee University after two seasons at Palomar, is 2-0 since being called up from Class A ball to the Lake Elsinore Storm in the Class A-Advanced California League.


Bobby Shore, a former Palomar All-American who pitched Oklahoma to the 2010 College World Series and just pitched his senior season for the Sooners, has a 1.93 ERA in his first three appearances for the Seattle Mariners' Pulaski farm club in the Rookie Classification Appalachian League.

Shore, who just made his pro debut on July 12, has struck out nine batters in his first 9 2/3 innings.


Mitch Tybroski, getting congratulated after inside-the-park home run in 7-4, come-from-behind win over Grossmont on March 11, has accepted a scholarship to West Texas A&M. -- Photo by Deb Hellman

Tybroski lands scholarship to West Texas A&M

CANYON, Texas (7-18-11) -- Outfielder Mitch Tybroski has become the 16th Palomar player to commit to the four-year college level for the 2012 season, accepting a scholarship to NCAA Division II West Texas A&M.

Tybroski hit .273 in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play as a sophomore as the Comets won the PCAC championship in 2010. He was an All-PCAC honorable mention selection.

Tybroski, a second-generation Comet, is a La Costa Canyon High School product.




4-Year College

Nick Carmichael RHP University of Hawaii
Tyler Bernard SS Virginia Tech
Ryan Wilkins RHP North Carolina State
Danny Bethea C St. John's University
Julian Esquibel RHP San Jose State
Casey Husband C / 1B Santa Clara
Jonathan Davis 3B Kansas State
Derek Baum C Northern Colorado
Mitch Tybroski OF West Texas A&M
Jeremy Cline OF Lewis-Clark State
Jose Rodriguez 3B / 1B Bethany (KS)
Charlie Gorzo OF Northwest Nazarene
Alex Meza - x LHP Cal State San Marcos
Scott Myers - x RHP Cal State San Marcos
Jarrod Castrejon RHP Cal State San Marcos
Charlie Gorzo OF Northwest Nazarene
x - Meza and Myers pitched for Palomar's 2010 team; Myers is transferring from Oklahoma to San Marcos

17th-round pick Carmichael commits to Hawaii

SAN MARCOS (7-11-11) -- Palomar closer Nick Carmichael, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round last month, has committed to the University of Hawaii. He's the 15th Palomar player to commit to a four-year school and the ninth to Division I.

Carmichael, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound red-shirt freshman right-hander from Rancho Bernardo High School and the closer on the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference team, was 4-1 with four saves and a 2.51 ERA for the Comets during the 2011 season.

He allowed only 18 hits in 32 1/3 innings. He still has until Aug. 15, the last day a draft pick can sign, to sign with the Orioles.

Carmichael also was one of 67 Palomar athletes (including 12 baseball players) to be named to the Academic All-PCAC team for the spring semester. He compiled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average for the spring semester.

(Above Photo by Hugh Cox)

FROM LEFT: The Chicago Cubs have promoted Marcus Hatley, who had a 1.76 ERA for Advanced Class A Daytona, to Class AA Tennessee. SECOND FROM LEFT: Nick Vincent, who recorded his second save Monday and is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA for the Padres: Class AA San Antonio farm club. THIRD FROM LEFT: Tyler Saladino is batting ,333 for his last nine game for the White Sox' Advanced A Winston-Salem team. RIGHT: Jeff Ibarra, who is is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last 10 appearances for the Padres' Class A Fort Wayne farm club.

Hatley takes 1.76 advanced 'A' ERA to Double-A

SEVIERVILLE, TN / SAN ANTONIO, TX / WINSTON-SALEM, NC (7-5-11) -- Marcus Hatley, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of Palomar in 2006, continues up the ladder in minor league baseball.

Hatley, who began the 2011 season with Low A Peoria, and was promoted to High A Daytona Beach in May, has been promoted again over the weekend and now is with the Class AA Tennessee Smoikies of the Southern League.

This, after Hatley was 2-1 with 3 saves and a 2.35 with Peoria and notched four saves with a 1.75 ERA for Daytona Beach. He made his debut for the Smokies on Monday and for his three 2011 teams has struck out 40 and walked 19 in 32 1/3 innings. Hatley allowed only 22 hits.

Nick Vincent, Padres, Class AA San Antonio -- The ex-Comet, who pitched a hitless, scoreless inning the 75th Texas League All-Star Game on June 29, has not allowed a run in his last 10 appearances for the Missions.

Vincent recorded his second save by shutting out Tulsa in the ninth inning as the Missions won 6-5 on the Fourth of July in Tulsa, OK.

Vincent is 5-1 with the two saves, a 2.30 ERA and 55 strikeouts and 11 walks for San Antonio during the 2011 season. He's appeared in 37 games, allowing 22 hits over 47 innings.

Tyler Saladino, White Sox, Advanced A Winston-Salem -- Saladino, coming off a broken hand suffered in a Major League preseason game for the White Sox, continued his comeback on July b4. He went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a walk against Salem in a Carolina League game at Winston-Salem.

Saladino is hitting .333 for his last nine games for the Dash, with five home runs and sixth RBIs during that span. He's playing shortstop for Winston-Salem.

Jeff Ibarra, Padres, Class A Fort Wayne -- The left-handed Ibarra is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in his last 10 appearances for the TinCaps. He has 16 strikeouts and 5 walks over 13 1/3 innings for the Midwest League club during that span.

On the season, the 6-foot-5 Ibarra is 3-3 with a 3.24 ERA, allowing only 15 hits in 29 2/3 relief innings. He's struck out 34 and walked 11.

No hits, no runs for Vincent in All-Star inning

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (6-29-11) -- Palomar baseball alum Nick Vincent of the host San Antonio Missions, the San Diego Padres' Class AA team, threw a hitless, scoreless eighth inning as his South Division team beat the North 3-2 Wednesday in the 75th Texas League All-Star Game at Wolff Stadium.

Vincent, who is 5-1 for the Missions with one save, a 2.45 ERA and 50 strikeouts and nine walks in 44 innings, got Salvador Perez to lead off the inning with a grounder to the third baseman, who made an error on the play.

Vincent then served up a double-play ground ball to Jeff Bianchi and got Wil Myers to fly out to center for the third out of the inning..

Sepulveda 4th 2011 Palomar catcher to D-I

OXFORD, Mississippi (6-24-11) -- Kody Sepulveda has become the fourth 2011 Palomar baseball catcher to move on to the NCAA Division I level -- to the University of Mississippi.

Sepulveda will be the second Palomar catcher to play at Ole Miss, following in the footsteps of Tom Afenir, who played for the Rebels before spending three seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization.

Sepulveda is a sophomore who transferred to Palomar from Cal Baptist after the 2010 season. He's a product of Paloma Valley High School in Menifee.

Sepulveda played in 22 games during the 2011 season.

The other 2011 Palomar catchers who have signed with Division I schools are Danny Bethea with the University of Connecticut, Casey Husband with Santa Clara and Derek Baum with Northern Colorado.

Palomar had three former catchers on four-year college rosters during the 2011 season, including B.K. Santy, a junior who was the starting catcher for the University of Washington.

Hatley stays on fire after promotion to high A

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (6-21-11) -- Former Palomar pitcher Marcus Hatley was on fire for Peoria Chiefs in the Class A Midwest League before the Chicago Cubs promoted him to Daytona in the Advanced A Florida State League late last month.

Since then, Hatley has remained on fire.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-handed closer, who was drafted by the Cubs in the 39th round after his freshman season for the Comets in 2006, was 2-1 with Peoria with three saves, allowing 9 hits in 15 1/3 innings and striking out 21 and walking 8 in 15 1/3 innings.

Since being promoted to the Daytona Cubs, Hatley has appeared in eight games, compiling a 2.00 ERA with three more saves. He's struck out 13 batters in 9 innings.

For the 2011 season, Hatley has a combined 2-1 record with 6 saves with a 2.22 ERA  for 24 1.3 innings pitched. He's allowed 15 hits while striking out 34.

Photo: Hatley delivers a pitch for the Peoria Chiefs earlier in the season.

Mariners sign ex-Palomar, Oklahoma star Shore

Bobby ShorePULASKI, MD (6-15-11) -- The Seattle Mariners have signed ex-Palomar and Oklahoma University pitching standout Bobby Shore, their 41st-round selection in last week's draft, and assigned him to the Pulaski Mariners of the Advanced Rookie Classification Appalachian League.

Shore, a member of Oceanside American's 2001 Little League World Series team and an Oceanside High School product, was 15-3 for Palomar in 2008 and 2009. Shore went 10-5 for Oklahoma in 2010, when he pitched the Sooners into the College World Series by winning the championship game in both the Regionals and Super Regionals. He was injured during much of his senior season in 2011, when he went 3-2, but has been diagnosed as fully recovered.

Two 2011 Comets, pitcher Nick Carmichael (drafted in the 17th round by the Baltimore Orioles) and shortstop Tyler Bernard (49th round by the Colorado Rockies) are unsigned.

Mitch Blackburn slides in safely at second on a successful stolen base for San Diego State during the 2010 season. He was an All-Mountain West Conference first-team selection and had the fourth-longest hitting streak in Aztec history prior to signing with the Angels as a free agent. -- San Diego State University photo

Blackburn announces retirement from baseball

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (6-16-11) -- Former Palomar and San Diego State star second baseman Mitch Blackburn, who had been playing in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization, announced his retirement from baseball on Friday..

Blackburn went 2-for-4 in his final pro game on June 14 for the Angels' Class AA Arkansas Travelers farm club.  

Prior to signing with the Angels, he was a four-year starter in college baseball, for the Comets in 2007 and 2008, and for San Diego State in 2009 and 2010.

Blackburn, who came to Palomar out of Chaparral High School in Temecula, was an All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team selection for the Comets and an All-Mountain West Conference first-team choice for the Aztecs.

Myers transfers from Oklahoma to San Marcos

SAN MARCOS (6-18-11) -- Scott Myers, who went 2-2 with 21 strikeouts and eight walks in 18 1/3 innings for Palomar in 2010, said Saturday he is transferring from Oklahoma University to Cal State San Marcos.

Myers (left, file photo by Hugh Cox) began the 2011 season on the Sooners' roster but wound up red-shirting.

Alex Meza (right), who had a 3.24 ERA for the 2010 Comets and sat out the 2011 season, said he also is headed to Cal State San Marcos.

Myers is a product of Beckman High School in Irvine who began his high school pitching career in New Jersey. Meza is from Great Oak High in Temecula.

ABOVE: Former Comet Nick Vincent deals to the plate as the Padres' San Antonio farm club clinches the first-half championship in the Double-A Texas League by beating Corpus Christi on Sunday. Vincent was the winning pitcher. -- San Antonio photo. BELOW: Mitch Blackburn, who has been promoted back to Double-A with the Angels' Arkansas Travelers farm club, also in the Texas League

Vincent pitches title clincher; Blackburn to AA

SAN ANTONIO, TX / LITTLE ROCK, AK  (6-14-11) -- Former Palomar pitching standout Nick Vincent picked up the victory in relief on Sunday as the San Diego Padres' San Antonio Missions farm club clinched the first-half championship in the Class AA Texas League.

The Missions beat Corpus Christi 6-4 as Vincent came on to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in relief. Vincent also was the winner on Saturday evening as San Antonio beat Frisco.

Vincent is now 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 27 appearances, allowing 30 hits in 36 innings, striking out 43 batters and walking 9.

Meanwhile, ex-Comet second baseman Mitch Blackburn in back in Class AA, being promoted to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Arkansas Travelers affiliate, also in the Texas League.

The promotion came after Blackburn went .273 in his last 10 games, .364 in his last seven games (8-for-22) and .357 in his last three games (5-for-14) for the Angeles' Inland Empire 66ers farm club in the Advanced A California League.

The Padres signed Vincent in the 18th round of the 2007 draft out of Long Beach State, after his junior season. Blackburn signed with the Angels as a free agent on July 9, 2010, following his senior season at San Diego State.

Orioles select PC's Carmichael in 17th round

SAN MARCOS (6-7-11) -- The Baltimore Orioles selected Palomar pitcher Nick Carmichael in the 17th round in the First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday.

Carmichael (photo at left by Hugh Cox), a red-shirt freshman right-hander from Rancho Bernardo High School, was an All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection as the Comets won the conference championship during the recently-completed season. He compiled a 4-1 record with four saves and a 2.51 ERA.

The draft got underway on Monday with the first round and supplemental first round and was slated to conclude a three-day run on Wednesday.

ABOVE: Palomar alum Bobby Shore delivers or Oklahoma during the 2010 season as a junior, when he pitched the Sooners into the College World Series. Shore was drafted by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. -- Oklahoma University photo. BELOW: 2011 Comnt shortstop Tyler Bernard, who was drafted later ijn the day  by the Colorado Rockies.

Mariners draft OU's Shore; Bernard to Rockies

SAN MARCOS (6-8-11) -- Former Palomar pitcher Bobby Shore of Oklahoma University was selected by the Seattle Mariners and 2011 Comet shortstop Tyler Bernard went to the Colorado Rockies on the third day of the First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

Shore, a senior right-hander who pitched the Sooners into the 2010 College World Series as a junior, was selected by the Mariners in the 41st round;. Bernard, a red-shirt freshman, was drafted by the Rockies in the 49th round.

Bernard, who signed early with Virginia Tech in the Fall but is expected to sign with the Rockies, is a Valley Center High School product who spent a red-shirt season at Arizona State in 2010.

Shore is an Oceanside High School product. Coming off injuries during the 2011 season, he was recovered and slated to return to the OU rotation in the NCAA regionals. But, this time, Oklahoma was knocked out before he had an opportunity to pitch.

Shire was a first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection, an all-state pick and a community college All-American after his sophomore season at Palomar in 2009. Bernard was a first-team All-PCAC selection this season.

Palomar freshman right-handed pitcher Nick Carmichael went to the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round on the second day of the draft on Tuesday. Like Shore and Bernard, he is expected to sign.

Rodriguez, Gorzo 9th, 10th Comets to sign

LINDSBORG, KS / NAMPA. ID (6-13-11) -- Corner infielder Jose Rodriguez and outfielder Charlie Gorzo have become the ninth and 10th player from Palomar's 2011 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champion baseball team, to sign with four-year colleges.

Rodriguez (left), a sophomore from Rancho Buena Vista High School, signed with the NAIA's Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Outfielder Charlie Gorzo (right), a red-shirt freshman outfielder from Vista Murrieta High School, signed with Northeast Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

Rodriguez batted .433 for 30 at-bats playing in 21 games coming off the bench at both third base and first base. He joins another former Comet at Bethany. Matt Gabrielson will return as the Swedes' starting second baseman.

Comets' Esquibel signs with San Jose State

SAN MARCOS (6-1-11) / 6-7-11 -- Palomar red-shirt freshman right-handed pitcher Julian Esquibel, an All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and All-Southern California selection, has signed with San Jose Stte University.

Esquibel, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder  out of Vista High School, was 7-4 for the PCAC champion Comets with a 1.74 ERA. He allowed 63 hits in 83 1/3 innings, stri8king out 53 and walking 22. He's the brother of former Palomar, and University of Kansas right-hande Andres Esquibel, who pitched in the Seattle Mariners farm system.

Two of Palomar's all-time best baseball players went on to play for San Jose State -- third baseman Randy Johnson, who played in the major leagues for the Atlanta Braves for three seasons, and right-handed pitcher Mark Ringkamp. Ringkamp, the Comets' winningest pitcher ever with 23 victories in two seasons, pitched in the Texas Rangers farm system.

Esquibel becomes the eighth 2011 Comet to accepted a scholarship to a four-year school (and seventh to an NCAA Division I university).

Munoz is All-State; Esquibel All-Southern Cal

BAKERSFIELD (5-19-11) -- Palomar left fielder Casey Munoz (left) as been selected first-team All-State by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association. Julian Esquibel (rifht) was named All-Southern California.

Munoz, who also received All-American Community College recognition, was a red-shirt freshman. The Cathedral Catholic High School product transferred from Oklahoma State prior to the 2011 season, when he hit .349 with 11 douvbles, two triples, two home runs and 28 RBIs.

Esquibel, a red-shirt freshman right-handed pitcher from Vista Higth School, was 7-4 with a 1.7e ERA. He struck out 53 batters and walked 22, allowing 63 hits in 83 1/3 innings.

Munoz and Esquibel were both first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selections after helping Palomar to a 28-13 record and an undisputed conference championship by three games over runner-up San Diego Mesa.

Smith (6-0, 7 saves) wins; Alums boost Huskies

B.K. SantyRIVERSIDE / SEATTLE (5-20-11) -- Palomar transfer Patrick Smith came up big again for Cal Baptist in an NAIA National Tournament Opening Round Bracket game in Riverside last weekend.

Smith (above left), normally Cal Baptist's closer, threw a complete-game victory as the Lancers eliminated Cal State San Marcos 4-2. He threw 139 pitches,  striking out nine and walking one, to finish his junior season 6-0 with seven saves, a 2.08 ERA, with 40 strikeouts and 14 walks in 47 2/3 innings.

Cal Baptist missed qualifying for the NAIA World Series that gets underway next Friday at Lewiston, Idaho when the Lancers dropped the championship game to Concordia of Irvine.

But four ex-Comets will be playing in the NAIA World Series.

Alfonso Casillas leads host team Lewis-Clark State with a .441 batting average. He has 14 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs and 43 RBIs. Pitcher Casey Edelbrock is 4-3 for the Warriors with a 2.52 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

Terrance Buchanan (.372, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 23 RBIs, 17-for-19 in stolen bases) and Reece Alnas (.291, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 35 RBIs and 12-for-15 in steals) have helped lead Oklahoma Baptist into the NAIA World Series.

On the Division I level, both starting catcher B.K. Santy, the No. 5 batter in the lineup, and starting shortstop Ty Afenir, turned in solid performances for the University of Washington, which won one of three games vs. nationally No. 2-ranked Oregon State at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Santy threw out four of five Oregon State runners attempting to steal in the series and also contributed a solo home run and a two-run double. Afenir went 4-for-11 in the series with a double.

Bobby Shore has a 2-2 win-loss record for Oklahoma, and Matt Carvutto is hitting .342 with 18 doubles, a triple and 31 RBIs for the University of the Pacific. Trevor Bayless was 1-0 for the University of San Diego, beating NAIA San Diego Christian. Sam Jew is 1-2 with a 3.95 ERA for Arkanbsas State.

Catcher Kellen Lee, a returning third-team All-American catcher for UC San Diego, and Matt Hubbard will help lead the Tritons into the NCAA Division II regionals they're hosting this weekend. Also in D-II, Shane Philipps led Cal Poly Pomona pitchers with a 2.00 ERA. Michael Cruz had a 2.18 ERA for Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Back in NAIA, Anthony Renteria hit .336 with 8 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs and 30 RBIs for Cal State San Marcos, Ryle Parks batted .305. Mitch Ferguson hit .286 and also had a 2-0 pitching record. Andrew Larsen was 2-1 pitching.

Matt Gabrielson played second base for Bethany College of Kansas in 50 of 51 games, with multiple-hit performances in 10 games, including a 7-for-9 stretch in the first three games of a series against Ottawa university. Victor Martinez hit .318 with 7 doubles and 17 RBIs for San Diego Christian College.

David Ring hit.325 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 25 RBI for the University of Texas-Tyler, which advanced to the NCAA Division III West Regional.


Player Pos. College
Bobby Shore RHP Oklahoma
B.K. Santy C Washington
Ty Afenir SS Washington
Matt Carvutto OF University of the Pacific
Sam Jew RHP Arkansas State
Scott Myers (RS) RHP Oklahoma
Austin Haynal RHP San Diego State
Kellen Lee C UC San Diego
Matt Hubbard INF UC San Diego
Shane Philipps LHP Cal Poly Pomona
Michael Cruz RHP Cal State Dominguez Hills
Patrick Smith RHP Cal Baptist
Alfonso Casillas 1B Lewis-Clark State
Casey Edelbrock RHP Lewis-Clark State
Reece Alnas OF Oklahoma Baptist
Terrence Buchanan SS Oklahoma Baptist
Matt Gabrielson 2B Bethany (KS)
Mitch Ferguson RHP/INF Cal State San Marcos
Anthony Renteria OF Cal State San Marcos
Ryle Parks C Cal State San Marcos
Andrew Larsen RHP Cal State San Marcos
Victor Martinez OF San Diego Christian
David Ring OF Texas-Tyler



4-Year College

Nick Carmichael RHP University of Hawaii
Tyler Bernard SS Virginia Tech
Ryan Wilkins RHP North Carolina State
Danny Bethea C St. John's University
Julian Esquibel RHP San Jose State
Casey Husband C / 1B Santa Clara
Jonathan Davis 3B Kansas State
Derek Baum C Northern Colorado
Mitch Tybroski OF West Texas A&M
Jeremy Cline OF Lewis-Clark State
Jose Rodriguez 3B / 1B Bethany (KS)
Alex Meza - x LHP Cal State San Marcos
Scott Myers - x RHP Cal State San Marcos
Jarrod Castrejon RHP Cal State San Marcos
Charlie Gorzo OF Northwest Nazarene
x - Meza and Myers pitched for Palomar's 2010 team; Myers is transferring from Oklahoma to San Marcos

ABOVE: Jonathan Davis, pictured sliding in safely against College of the Desert earlier in a 3-0 early-season win over College of the Desert, has accepted a scholarhip to Kansas State of the Big Twelve. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Catcher Derek Baum, who has signed with Northern Colorado

Davis to Kansas State; Baum to No. Colorado

MANHATTAN, Kansas / Greeley, Colorado (5-16-11) -- Third baseman Jonathan Davis and catcher Derek Baum have become the last Palomar baseball players to accept scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.

Davis, a sophomore from Vista High School, will sign with Kansas State University. Baum, a sophomore from Grossmont High, has signed with Northern Colorado University.

Davis hit. 331 with seven doubles and 15 RBIs for the 2011 Comets, who went 28-13 and won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. Baum hit .333 with three doubles and a home run. Previously,

Previously, shortstop Tyler Bernard signed with Virginia Tech, right-handed pitcher Ryan Wilkins with North Carolina State, catcher Danny Bethea with St. John's and first baseman / catcher Casey Husband with Santa Clara. Outfielder Jeremy Cline signed with NAIA power Lewis-Clark State..

Comets exit with a pair of forgettable losses

WHITTIER / GLENDORA (5-13-11 / 5-14-11) -- After a strong season which saw Palomar win the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference title by three games, then win a best-of-3 regional series from East Los Angeles, things came apart for the Comets in the Rio Hondo Super Regional.

Palomar fell to Glendale 9-2 in its first game on Friday at Rio Hondo College. The Comets and Vaqueros were tied 2-2 entering the sixth inning, when Glendale pushed across three runs and then continued on to the win.

Audie Afenir (above left) went 3-for-4 for the Comets. Jeremy Cline, Jonathan Davis, Casey Munoz, John Sabourin and Mitch Tybroski also hit safely.

In Saturday's elimination game at Citrus College in Ventura, Palomar was bounced by Southwestern 16-6. Palomar led 5-4 entering the top of the fifth, when the Jaguars pushed across 10 runs.

Anthony Meza (above riight) went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Davis went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Derek Baum was 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

Afenir had a single and two RBIs. Cline, Sabourin, Tyler Bernard, and Jose Rodriguez also hit safely.

Palomar ended its season 28-13.


Anthony Meza, shown getting down a bunt in deciding game against East Los Angeles in the weekend's regional series, is expected to play a key role for Palomar in the Rio Hondo Regional that begins on Friday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets open with Glendale at 11 a.m. Friday

WHITTIER (5-9-11) -- Coach Buck Taylor's Palomar baseball team (28-11) will begin the Rio Hondo Super Regional at 11 a.m. Friday against Glendale College (25-14) at Rio Hondo's field..

If the Comets beat the Vaqueros, they'll play the winner of a 3 p.m. Friday match-up between Southwestern (24-16) and No. 1-seeded Rio Hondo (36-3) on Saturday at 11 a.m..

The four-team, ,double-elimination tournament will run through Sunday with the champion advancing to the CCCAA State Final Four on May 20-22 at Bakersfield College, featuring two Southern Cal and two Northern Cal Super Regional winners.

Friday's losers will play an elimination game at Citrus College at 10 a.m. Saturday. The remainder of the tournament will be played back at Rio Hondo.

The winner of the 10 a.m. game will play the loser of the 11 a.m. game in the afternoon. Game time will be 3 p.m.

The championship game will be played on Sunday at Rio Hondo at 11 a.m. If an additional game is necessary in the double-elimination format, it will follow that game.

FAST FACTS: Rio Hondo College is located at 3600 Workman Mill Road in Whittier, just south of Freeway 60 and just west of I-605 on Workman Mill Road. ... Single-day Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students, senior citizens and children under 12. An all-tournament pass costs $15. ... The baseball complex is actually on Workman Mill Road just south of the main entrance to the college. There is limited parking on Workman Mill Road in front of the baseball complex and spaces will fill up quickly. Most people will have to tner the main college entrance at the stop light with the large Rio Hondo signs on Workman Mill. From there take your first or second immediate lefts to park on the lower level.

Vincent is Pitcher of Month; Saladino returns

SAN ANTONIO, Texas / WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (5-12-11) -- After being named Pitcher of the Month for April for the San Diego Padres' San Antonio Missions farm club in the Class AA Texas League, Palomar baseball alumnus Nick Vincent (left) is still hot in May.

With back-to-back two-inning shutout performances for the Missions against Corpus Christi on May 8 and May 10, Vincent is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA for the Missions over 19 1/3 innings, striking out 25 and walking five. In his last 10 appearances, he's 2-1 with a 1.20 ERA, with 20 strikeouts and three walks in 15 innings.

Shortstop Tyler Saladino (rivght), who made multiple appearances for the Chicago White Sox in Major League spring training before injuring his hand, finally made his 2011 debut for Winston-Salem in the Class A Advanced Carolina League on Wednesday.

And infielder Mitch Blackburn, who is playing for the Angels' Inland Empire 66ers farm club in the Class A Advanced California League, is coming off back-to-back 2-for-5 and 1-for-3 outings.

Wilkins PCAC Athlete of the Week for all sports

SAN DIEGO (5-11-11) -- Palomar's Ryan Wilkins (left) have been named the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports for the week that ended Sunday.

Wilkins (4-1), a sophomore right-handed baseball pitcher from Cathedral Catholic High School, helped the Comets to a 2-1 series win over East Los Angeles in another Best-of-3 Southern Cal Round 1 regional series.

He pitched a complete-game six-hitter, sriiking out six and walking none, in Game 2, a 9-2 Palomar victory.

Wilkins signed early with North Carolina State.

ABOVE: Comets' Jonathan Davis slides in head-first safely at the plate to score on Josh Sabourin's sixth-inning single in Saturday's second game. Davis had to leave the game after his head stuck East Los Angeles catcher Frank Martinez' shin guard. BELOW LEFT: First-game winner Ryan Wilkins deals on the way to his six-hit complete game. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. LOWER LEFT: Anthony Meza, who drove in five runs on Saturday. LOWER RIGHT: Audie Afenir, who also had a big day at the plate.

Comets bury ELA 9-2, 11-2; Super Regional next

SAN MARCOS (5-7-11) -- Palomar knocked out 35 hits, got back-to-back complete game pitching performances from Ryan Wilkins and Clayton Voechting and routed East Los Angeles twice on Saturday at Myers Field, 9-2 and 11-2.

In the process, the Comets rebounded from an 8-4 loss to the Huskies on Friday, won their first-round best-of-3 playoff series from the Huskies two games to one and advanced to one of two Southern California Super Regional four-team brackets next Friday through Sunday.

Palomar (28-11) will play in the Rio Hondo Super Regional in Whittier, facing Glendale, which came back to sweep Cypress on Saturday. The other match-up in the four-team, double-elimination bracket will match up Southwestern, which eliminated No. 2 seed Chaffey on Saturday, and No. 1 seed Rio Hondo. Times will be determined.

The winner advances to the CCCAA State Final Four the following weekend in Bakersfield along with the winner of the other Southern Cal Super Regional at Santa Ana and the two Northern California Super Regionals at Solano College and San Joaquin Delta College.

Palomar's biggest hitters on Saturday on a day in which everyone seemed to hit were:

--  Anthony Meza (5-for-8 in the two games with 3 doubles and 5 RBIs)

-- Audie Afenir (5-for-9, triple, 3 RBIs)

-- Josh Sabourin (5 for-8, double, 3 RBIs)

-- Jonathan Davis (4-for-7, 2 doubles, RBI, 4 runs scored)

-- Travis Bernard (4-for-9, RBI)

-- Jeremy Cline (4-for-9, RBI)

That comes out to 27 of the Comets' 35 hits for the day between the above six players.

Palomar 9, East Los Angeles 2

Wilkins pitched a six-hitter, striking out six and walking two, as he advanced to 4-1 on the season.

The Comets, the visiting team for the second game of the series and first game of the day, broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth inning when they put together four consecutive singles by Mitch Tybroski, Cline, Davis and Casey Munoz, the latter to drive in a run, and a sacrifice fly by Sabourin to get the second run home.

Palomar added three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth, banging out 17 hits for the game.

For the game, Davis went 3-for-4 with a double, Meza went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs, Munoz went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs and Afenir was 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. Cline and Tybroski also had two hits each.


Palomar 11, East Los Angeles 2

Voechting advanced to 5-2 by going the distance and scattering 10 hits. One run off him was earned.

Sabourin went 4-for-5. Meza was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Afenir went 3-fo0r-5 with three RBIs and Bernard went 3-for-4.

Cline contributed two hits and the Comets banged out 18 hits for the game.


East L.A. leads series 1-0; Comets need 2 wins

SAN MARCOS (5-6-11) -- Palomar got a couple of big performances on Friday as the No. 5-seeded Comets opened the Southern California Community College Playoffs against No. 12-seeded East Los Angeles at Myers Field to begin a two-day, best-of-3 Round 1 series.

Designated hitter Jeremy Cline went 3-for-5 with a solo home run in the sixth inning and two RBIs. And lex Willeford delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single in the seventh inning.

But the Comets couldn't overtime some untimely defensive mistakes, an inability to hit early in the game or execute at the plate -- and spotting the Huskies a 6-0 lead entering the bottom of the fifth.

When Palomar tried to rally it turned out to be a matter of too-little, too-late as East L.A. did all the things the Comets were unable to do to take an 8-4 victory and a 1-0 lead in the series.

The inability to execute -- zero successful sacrifices on multiple attempts compared to the Huskies' four sacrifice bunts and one sacrifice fly -- was likely the difference in the game.

The two teams will meet again in Game 2 on Saturday at 10 a.m., with a third game, if necessary, to follow. Palomar (26-11) has to win twice to take the series and advance to next week's Super Regional round.

Starting pitcher Julian Esquibel, who took the loss to fall to 7-3, and Callan Dawson, the Comets' third pitcher of the day, both had their moments. But Esquibel exited after 4 1/3 innings with the Comets trailing 2-0 on a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. And Dawson, who had thrown three strong innings, appeared to tire in the ninth.

Along with Willeford, Audie Afenir, Casey Munoz, Josh Sabourin, Danny Bethea and Anthony Meza each contributed a single for Palomar.

East L.A. advanced to 23-13.


8 Comets 1st team; Taylor is Coach of Year

SAN DIEGO (5-4-11) -- Eight Palomar baseball players were named to the All-Pacific Coast Conference baseball first team on Wednesday evening in voting by PCAC coaches. The Comets' Buck Taylor was named Coach of the Year.

Selected to the 21-player first team were shortstop Tyler Bernard (left), catcher Danny Bethea (right), pitcher Julian Esquibel, relief pitcher Nick Carmichael, third baseman Jonathan Davis, first baseman Audie Afenir and outfielders Casey Munoz and Josh Sabourin.

Palomar's honorable mention picks were Jeremy Cline, Mitch Tybroski, Derek Baum, Ryan Wilkins, Anthony Meza, Jarrod Castrejon, Clayton Voechting and Christian Johnson.

Comets to host East Los Angeles in Round 1

SAN MARCOS (5-1-11) -- Palomar is seeded No. 5 out of 18 teams in the Southern California Community College baseball playoffs and will host 12th-seeded East Los Angeles in a best-of-3 first-round series this upcoming Friday and Saturday, May 6-7.

The Comets (25-10), which won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship, will host the Huskies (22-13), runners-up in the South Coast Conference, in the first game of the series on Friday at 2 p.m. The second game will tentatively be played at 10 a.m. Saturday, with an additional game to follow, if necessary. The winner advances to the Super Regional round. 


Comets get forfeit vs. Fullerton and are now 26-10

SAN MARCOS (5-5-11) -- Palomar's baseball team, which begins its best-of-3 first-round Southern Cal playoff series vs. East Los Angeles on Friday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field, has been awarded a forfeit win over Fullerton.

The Hornets forfeited 13 games for using an ineligible player, including an 8-2 win over the Comets in the second game of a doubleheader split on Feb. 18 at Fullerton.

Palomar thus advances to 26-10 on the season.

ABOVE:  Casey Husband doubles to the right-center field fence at Morley Field. BELOW LEFT:  Justin Bellez fires to the plate. Bellez, considered a Major League pitching prospect, appeared fully recovered from an injury with a lights-out performance in the eighth and ninth-innings. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.  BELOW RIGHT: Spencer Hardy, who threw a perfect relief inning

Comets start 7 new faces in notching 25th win

SAN DIEGO (4-28-11) -- With an undisputed Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship already in hand, Palomar coach Buck Taylor had seven new faces in the starting lineup Thursday for the Comets' regular-season baseball finale at San Diego City College.

The new starters, and the handful of regulars who saw action, came through in style as the Comets won 10-5 at Morley Field to close the regular season with records of 25-11 (overall) and 19-6 (conference). Coupled with second-place San Diego Mesa's 5-3 loss to Grossmont, Palomar finished three games ahead of the Olympians in the PCAC standings.

The Comets sent seven pitchers to the mound and Julian Esquibel, winner Cody Wlllingham (1-0), Spencer Hardy, Jarrod Castrejon, R.J. Shanks, Justin Bellez and Nick Carmichael combined to throw a six-hitter. Only three of the City College runs were earned as Palomar fielders dropped two fly balls.

Bellez, who drew dozens of Major League scouts when he pitched in the Comets' second game of the season in a tournament in Palm Springs but has seen only limited action due to an injury, was the story of the game.

The freshman right-hander from Mira Mesa High school faced four batters in the eighth and ninth innings but was lights out. He displayed his big-time stuff and struck out three batters while allowing only a scratch infield hit. That set the stage for Nick Carmichael, who came in to get the last out of the game on a lazy fly ball to center.

Willingham threw two innings in relief of Esquibel, the Comets' ace pitcher who started and went three innings in what amounted to basically a bullpen for him with the Southern California regionals' first round coming up at the end of next week.

Palomar also got one perfect relief inning each from Hardy and Castrejon.

At the plate, the Comets banged out 13 hits and got two RBIs each from two regular starters, Tyler Bernard (on a first-inning ground ball and fifth-inning single) and Danny Bethea (who came on to pinch hit in the ninth and drove in two runners with a double over the left fielder's head).

Anthony Meza went 2-for-4 with a triple to lead-off the game and an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Jose Rodriguez' two-run single highlighted a five-run fifth inning when the Comets took the lead. Charlie Gorzo went 2-for-5 and Derek Baum was 2-for-2.

Casey Husband contributed a double. Kody Sepulveda drove in a run with a single that a City College outfielder misplayed into three bases. In a call that could have gone as either a triple or single, the official scorer ruled it a single and two-base-error.

Audie Afenir, coming back from a foot injury, had a pinch-hit single. Christian Johnson got two sacrifice bunts down and drove in a run with a ground ball to the right side.


ABOVE LEFT: Josh Sabourin gets lifted into the air by Mitch Tybroski after Sabourin's walk-off home run that won Tuesday's title-winning game in the 11th. ABOVE RIGHT: Coach Buck Taylor dodges Ryan Wilkins' first attempt at the celebratory ice water bath. But Wilkins came back and got Taylor with a fresh bucket moments later (not pictured). From left: Assistant coach Rich Graves, Taylor, Wilkins and pitching coach Sean Rees. BELOW LEFT: Side-armer Callan Dawson, who dominated in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings to record the pitching win. BELOW RIGHT: Tyler Bernard's three-run double brings the Comets back in the bottom of the ninth. -- Photo by Kristen Campbell

Sabourin's 11th-inning HR gives Comets title

SAN MARCOS (4-26-11) -- On a long afternoon that saw Palomar trailing visiting San Diego City College 6-2 with two outs and none on in the bottom of the ninth inning, lightning struck for the Comets on Tuesday.

Actually, lightning struck twice, one in the bottom of the ninth and again in the 11th inning, the latter on a two-run, walk-off home run by Josh Sabourin that lifted the Comets to an improbable 8-6 come-from-behind victory. It's Palomar's eighth Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship in the last 14 years.

Coach Buck Taylor's squad clinched the title outright when Grossmont upended second-place San Diego Mesa 8-2.

Palomar had stumbled into the 6-2 deficit with a lack of being able to deliver with runners in scoring position, base-running mishaps and sloppy defensive play behind starting pitcher Clayton Voechting and reliever Nick Carmichael.

Then the Comets saw their first two batters go down quickly in the lat of the ninth and it appeared Palomar would "only" be able to clinch a tie for the championship going into the final regular-season game.

But pinch-hitter Derek Baum singled with two out, Casey Munoz walked and Sabourin singled to center, loading the bases for Bernard.

Bernard's double cleared the bases, cut City College's lead to 6-5, and set the stage for Danny Bethea, who had delivered a sacrifice fly for Palomar's second run the previous inning. Bethea singled to the left side Taylor held Bernard at third but a throwing error allowed the Bernard to score the tying run.

In the 11th, Munoz doubled and Sabourin deposited a full-count delivery by David Johnson, the Knights' fifth pitcher of the afternoon, over the left field fence for his second home run of the season, scoring Munoz ahead of him and ending the game.

It was a fastball high and in," said Sabourin, who was able to pull the ball out of Myers Field. "It felt great."

Added Sabourin in a post-game interview with the North County Times' John Maffei:

"My first walk-off since Little League. With two strikes, I was just looking to shorten up, hit a ball to the right side and move (Munoz) over. But I got (the) fastball up, and I wasn't going to get beat on that pitch."

Callan Dawson came on to throw the ninth, 10th and 11th innings for the Comets, limiting the Knights to an unearned run on two hits, to record the pitching win.

Voechting, who was the victim of most of the sloppy play over most of the game, Carmichael and Dawson combined ojn an eight hitter. San Diego managed only one earned run.

Munoz paced a16-hit attack for the Comets by going 4-for-5 with a walk and three runs scored. Sabourin was 2-for-5 with the homer, a walk and three RBIs. Bernard went 2-for-5 wioth the double, the sacrifice fly and three RBIs.

The Palomar's other multiple hitters were Jonathan Davis (3-for-4 with a walk) and Bethea (2-for-4, with the sacrifice fly and an RBI). Jeremy Cline and Mitch Tybroski also hit safely.

The Comets (24-11, 18-6 in conference) will close the regular season with a rematch vs. the Knights on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Morley Field in San Diego with the championship already in hand..

Then they'll await the Southern California community college pairings and will open the post-season with a best-of-3 series against an undetermined opponent the following weekend at home.


Comets storm back in ninth inning to win conference title -- (North County Times - April 27, 2011)

First-place Comets' Esquibel is Athlete of Week

SAN DIEGO (4-25-11) -- Palomar pitcher Julian Esquibel (right) have been selected as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports.

Esquibel, a freshman right-hander from Vista High School, beat San Diego Mesa 4-1 with a seven-hitter.

Esquibel advanced to 7-2 on the season with a 1.65 ERA.

The Comets swept two games from the Olympians to take a one-game lead in the conference race with two games remaining.

Cline, Munoz hit HRs as Comets alone in 1st

SAN DIEGO (4-22-11) -- Jeremy Cline (left) and Casey Munoz (right) slugged home runs Friday to power a four-run fifth inning that lifted Palomar to a 5-4 baseball victory over host San Diego Mesa.

The victory gave the Comets a sweep of the clubs' Thursday / Friday series, a three games-to-two win in their season series and a one-game lead over the second-place Olympians in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference race with two games to play..

Palomar (23-11, 17-6 in conference) will finish the regular season with games against San Diego City College on Tuesday at Myers Field and Thursday at Morley Field in San Diego. Mesa (20-13, 16-7) closes out with back-to-games vs. Grossmont.

The season series tie-breaker means the Comets need either one win in their two games against City, or one loss by Mesa vs. Grossmont, to  clinch no worse than a tie for the PCAC championship and guarantee themselves the No. 1 seed among conference teams in the Southern California playoffs.

Palomar's magic number to win the conference outright (combination of Comet wins and / or Mesa losses) is two.

The Comets won't feel fulfilled with anything less than an undisputed championship. "We're not celebrating anything," coach Buck Taylor said. "There are still two games left

Ryan Wilkins (3-2) started on the mound for Palomar and threw the first six innings to record the pitching win. Jarrod Castrejon came on to work the last three innings and notch the save.

Mesa took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third on Friday. Danny Bethea got Palomar on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with a two-out single to right that drove in Josh Sabourin, who had worked Kyle Ginter, the Olympians' starter, for a walk.

Thus the Comets trailed 2-1 going into the top of the fifth, when Alex Willeford, playing first base in place of the injured Audie Afenir, was hit by a Ginter pitch to lead off the inning.

Christian Johnson moved Willeford to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Cline hit a long shot over the right-field fence for a two-run home run that put Palomar in the lead 3-2.

Mitch Tybroski then singled to left, and Munoz deposited another home run over the left field fence to make it 5-2.

Mesa scored two runs in the eighth inning to close to within a run, but Jarrod Castrejon struck out Darrell Erese looking to get the save.

Cline (2-for-5 with the home run and two RBIs), Tybroski (2-for-5 with the double) and Bethea (2-for-4 with his RBI) had multiple hits for Palomar. Munoz and Josh Sabourin each had one hit.

Bethea, who also threw out Erese trying to steal in the eighth, has hit safely in nine of his last 14 at-bats.



Bethea signs with Big East's St. John's University

QUEENS, N.Y. (4-22-11) -- Palomar catcher Danny Bethea has signed an NCAA Division I letter of intent with St. John's University of the Big East Conference.

Bethea, who has hit safely in nine of his last 14 at-bats for the Comets and had two hits and an RBI in Friday's victory over San Diego Mesa, is batting .421 for the Comets (.442 in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference games). He's thrown out  18-of-25 runners trying to steal (15-of-20 in conference games).

He becomes the fourth member of this year's Comet baseball team to sign so far and the third with a Division I team. Previously, shortstop Tyler Bernard signed with Virginia Tech, right-handed pitcher Rich Wilkins with North Carolina State, first baseman / catcher Casey Husband with Santa Clara and outfielder Jeremy Cline with NAIA power Lewis-Clark State.

Bethea is the son of former Palomar catcher Pete Bethea, who was an All-American on an NAIA World Series championship team at Grand Canyon University.

His mom, the former Colleen Connors, was an outfielder for legendary Palomar softball coach Mark Eldridge.

Bethea's brother Mike Bethea was a J.C. Grid-Wire All-American football linebacker for the Comets, started for the University of Nevada, signed with the New Orleans Saints and is currently a graduate assistant at Nevada.

ABOVE: Palomar second baseman Christian Johnson's bases-loaded squeeze bunt scores Tyler Bernard in the eighth inning.. BELOW LEFT: Winner Julian Esquibel delivers pitch. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT: Casey Munoz, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI

Esquibel, Comets top Mesa, are tied for 1st

SAN MARCOS (4-21-11) -- With a big boost from second baseman Christian Johnson, freshman right-hander Julian Esquibel pitched Palomar back into a tie for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball lead on Thursday.

Esquibel threw a complete-game seven-hitter, moving to 7-2 on the season, as Palomar downed visiting San Diego Mesa 4-1. The Comets (22-11, 16-6 in conference) and Olympians (20-12, 16-6) are deadlocked going into a rematch on Friday at 2 p.m. at Mesa.

The winner will take over first place by itself with two games remaining in the season -- and will capture the teams' season series three games to two.

Why that is of high importance: if the Comets and Olympians were to tie for the conference championship, the winner of the season series gets the higher seed entering the Southern California regionals.

Johnson gave coach Buck Taylor's Comets a huge lift by driving in two of Palomar's four runs and with his play in the field, where he handled six chances.

His first RBI came on a second-inning double down the left-field line that drove in Danny Bethea, who had reached base on a single. Bethea's run broke a 1-1 tie.

Johnson's second RBI came on a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth. He drove in shortstop Tyler Bernard, who had doubled to left on the first pitch of the inning and advanced to third on Jonathan Davis' infield single.

Johnson started a bang-bang third-inning double play that he turned with Bernard in the top of the eighth. He also leaped high in the air to rob Mesa's Brett Balkin of a what would have been a line-drive hit to right field.

The latter play returned the favor after Balkin, playing shortstop for the Olympians, did the same thing two innings earlier to stab Johnson's liner that was headed toward left field.

In pitching a complete-game win for the second straight Tuesday, Esquibel was helped by multiple-hit performances by Munoz, Bethea and Davis, who all went 2-for-4.

Trailing 1-0, the Comets tied the game in the bottom of the first on an error, a sacrifice bunt by Mitch Tybroski and Munoz' double to left field.

Palomar scored its two second-inning runs after Mesa left fielder Anthony Herrera made a diving catch to snow-cone what would have been a base hit to lead off the inning by Audie Afenir.

Bethea got the inning rolling with one out when he singled behind the third-base bag for his seventh hit in his last 10 plate appearances. Davis singled to right-center, Johnson drove in Bethea with his double and Jeremy Cline scored Davis with a ground ball to the right side.

Bethea , with a nice effort on the receiving end from his third baseman, Davis, gunned down Mesa's Lance McFeely attempting to steal third in the third inning. Bethea has thrown out 10 -of-15 runners trying to steal on the season -- including 9-of-12 in conference games.

Esquibel also threw to third in the first inning to get the Olympians' Myles Dempsey on what went into the book as an unsuccessful steal attempt.

With none out and two runners on, Victor Rasor-Thompson  thought he was hit by Esquibel's first pitch to him and jogged down the line to first.. When both runners headed toward the next base, Esquibel relayed Betheas's throw to Davis at third.

Josh Sabourin had the Comets' other hit, a single.


ABOVE: Palomar catcher Danny Bethea waits to tag out Southwestern's Matt Martinez, who was easily out at the plate on a fourth-inning double play, which went from third baseman Jonathan Davis to first baseman Audie Afenir to Bethea. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Afenir, who had two hits. BELOW RIGHT: R.J. Shanks, who pitched five innings of four-hit relief without giving up an earned run

Bethea is 4-for-5 but Comets fall as runner trips

SAN MARCOS (4-19-11) -- On a day that three second-generation Palomar players contributed eight of their team's 10 hits, the Comets dropped a stranger-than-fiction 3-2 decision to Southwestern on Tuesday at Myers Field.

It was one of the most bizarre finishes of this or any other year, dating back to Palomar's first baseball season 65 years ago. And the loss prevented the Comets from moving back into a tie for first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with San Diego Mesa, which was upset 6-2 by San Diego City College.

With the Comets down by a run and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Audie Afenir singled sharply to center field. Charlie Gorzo, one of the fastest players on the team, ran for Afenir and was a few feet away from scoring the tying run on Danny Bethea's booming double to right for his fourth hit of the afternoon.

With the Comets down by a run and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Audie Afenir singled sharply to center field. Charlie Gorzo, one of the fastest players on the team, ran for Afenir and was two-thirds of the way between third and home away from scoring the tying run on Danny Bethea's booming double to right for his fourth hit of the afternoon.

Mesa's upset loss means the Comets' fate in the PCAC race remains in their own hands, despite getting swept by the Jaguars in their two-game series.

If Palomar were to run the table by winning their last four games, beginning on Thursday at 2 p.m. at home against Mesa, the Comets would win the conference outright.

Bethea, whose dad Pete caught for the Comets and was an All-American on an NAIA World Series championship team at Grand Canyon University, went 4-for-5 for the game.

Bethea also singled to short in the second inning. He doubled to right center in the fourth. He hit a screaming line drive right at the shortstop with runners at second and third and two out in the fifth, when Palomar scored both its runs. And he singled to left in the seventh.

For good measure, Bethea threw out the only Southwestern player who attempted to steal, Bryan Burkhead, for the third out in the top of the eighth.

Afenir, son of Comet assistant coach Troy Afenir, a former all-state Palomar player and ex-Major League (Astros, A's and Reds) catcher, went 2-for-5.

And Mitch Tybroski, son of former Comet outfielder Mitch Tybroski, was 2-for-4, walked, stole a base and scored Palomar's first run in the fifth inning. He also made a running catch of a line drive for the second out in the seventh inning.

The Comets' other two hits came from Josh Sabourin, who singled to drive in a run in the fifth, and Tyler Bernard, who singled sharply to right field in the seventh. Bernard also hit two hard line drives to Burkhead in left and flied out to the base of the bank in right field to lead off the ninth.

Last but hardly least, the Comets got seven strong relief innings from R.J. Shanks, Nick Carmichael and Kallan Dawson, who allowed only four hits between them.

Shanks threw five innings of three-hit ball. He did give up a pair of runs in the fourth, but they were both unearned after an error and a passed ball.

Carmichael pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Callan Dawson worked a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, getting two quick ground outs, then striking out the third Southwestern batter.

Palomar left 15 runners on base.

The third-place Jaguars advanced to 18-14 on the season, 11-10 in conference. The Comets, who won the season series between the two teams three games to two, are 21-11, 15-6.


Comets lose 8-3 lead and game, fall into 2nd

CHULA VISTA (4-16-11) -- Palomar couldn't maintain an 8-3 lead aftr 5 1/2 innings and dropped a 9-8 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference decision to host Southwestern on Saturday.

The loss dropped the Comets out of a first-place tie with San Diego Mesa, which beat San Diego City College and leads the Comets by one game with five to play.

Ryan Wilkins (above left), who started for Palomar, dominated early, striking out nine batters and walking one as he threw two-hit ball over five innings.

Wilkins retired the first 12 batters he faced and struck out the side in both the third and fourth innings. Two errors in the bottom of the fifth opened the gates for Southwestern to score three runs.

The Comets came back in three runs in its half of the sixth and Wilkins came out of the game with an 8-3 lead. But things went downhill from there as as Southwestern reliever Patrick McGrath pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout ballto pick up the win.

Palomar (21-10, 15-5 in conference) out-hit Southwestern 16-9 but left 13 runners on base. The Comets also were hurt by seven walks and four hit batters.

Casey Munoz (above right) went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a sacrifice bunt for the Comets and made a spectacular catch going back toward the fence for the third in the eighth inning to rob Nathan Saquilon of an extra-base hit and save two runs from scoring on the play.

Jonathan Davis went 2-for-5, doubled, walked and drove in two runs. Josh Sabourin was 2-for-6 with two RBIs and a steal. Tyler Bernard was 2-for-5 and drove in a run with a perfect suicide squeeze bunt. Jeremy Cline went 2-for-6 with an RBI. And Christian Johnson was 2-for-6 with an RBI.

Audie Afenir and Anthony Meza contributed RBI singles. Kody Sepulveda and Danny Bethea also hit safely.

The Comets and Jaguars will play again on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at Myers Field. Then comes a two-game series with Mesa, on Thursday at home and Friday in San Diego, that could determine the PCAC championship.


ABOVE: Palomar's Julian Esquibel throws the final pitch of the game in Thursday's victory over Imperial Valley. Imperial Valley's Fernando Cordova grounded out, second baseman Christian Johnson to first baseball Audie Afenir, for the last out.. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Casey Munoz, who was 3-for-4 for the Comets. BELOW RIGHT: Josh Sabourin, who went 2-for-3. Munoz is hitting .365 on the year, Sabourin .354.

Esquibel (5-hitter, 10 strikeouts) beats IVC 5-2

SAN MARCOS (4-14-11) -- Red-shirt freshman Julian Esquibel stopped Imperial Valley 5-2 by pitching a complete-game five-hitter on Thursday at Myers Field.  striking out 10 and walking two.

Esquibel moved to 6-2 on the season and alowered his earned run average to 1.74 (1:63 in conference). He retired the first 10 IVC batters, gave up an unearned run in the fourth inning, then gave up a lone earned run in the seventh.

Casey Munoz went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to lead the way offensively for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference co-leaders. He beat out two infield hits on the afternoon, to third base in the third inning and to shortstop in the seventh.

Josh Sabourin went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt, a run scored and a stolen base.

Tyler Bernard, who raised his batting average in conference games to .411, was 1-for-2, drove in Palomar's second run with a sacrifice fly, reached base as a hit batter and contributed a steal.

Jeremy Cline, Audie Afenir and Anthony Meza also hit safely.

Third baseman Jonathan Davis, center fielder Meza, second baseman Christian Johnson and Afenir at first base made the big plays defensively.

Palomar took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Davis, leading off for the Comets, got things rolling by walking and stealing second. Cline singled, Munoz singled to right to drive in Davis, Sabourin got a sacrifice bunt and Bernard drove in Cline with a squeeze bunt.

The Comets led the whole way, adding two runs in the third inning and another run in the seventh.

With the win, the Comets remain tied for first place with San Diego Mesa, which beat Southwestern on Thursday, with six games remaining.

Palomar's will play back-to-back, home-and-home series with Southwestern (Saturday on the road, next Tuesday at home), Mesa next Thursday and Friday, and San Diego City College on April 26 and 28.

Palomar is 21-9, 15-4 in conference.


Comets back in tie for first 7 games left to play

IMPERIAL (4-12-11) -- It took a matter of days for Palomar to move back into a tie for first place in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball.

The Comets traveled to the desert and pounded Imperial Valley 11-4 on Tuesday which, along with Southwestern's 5-4 win over San Diego Mesa in 10 innings, allowed them to re-take a share of the conference lead.

Coach Buck Taylor's squad advanced to 20-9 on the season (14-4 in conference) and are tied for first with Mesa, which will host Southwestern on Thursday while the Comets face IVC again, this time at 2 p.m. at Myers Field.

Palomar knocked out 16 hits against five Imperial Valley pitchers, led by shortstop Tyler Bernard (3-for-5, 2 runs scored), Jeremy Cline (2-for-4, double, 2 RBIs), Jonathan Davis (2-for-4, double, run scored, RBI), Anthony Meza (2-for-4, 2 runs scored, RBI) and Kody Sepulveda (2-for-4, double, 2 runs scored, RBI).

Winning pitcher Jarrod Castrejon (5-1) threw six innings of two-hit ball, allowing one run. R.J. Shanks followed with two innings of one-hit, shutout ball and the Comets led 11-1 after eight innings.

Bernard handled nine chances at shortstop while left fielder Casey Munoz made a spectacular sit-down catch in foul territory down the leftfield line and second baseman Christian Johnson made a difficult catch sprinting toward the right-field line. All this, in support of Castrejon, Shanks and Spencer Hardy.

Josh Sabourin, Audie Afenir and Christian Johnson also hit safely.

Palomar, leading 2-1, broke the game open with seven runs in the top of the sixth inning.


Griffs survive 11 PC hits, Bethea's 3-for-3 day

SAN MARCOS (4-6-11) -- Palomar managed only one run on 11 hits and was beaten by fifth-place Grossmont for the second time this week on Thursday, this time 4-1 at Myers Field.

The Comets fell out of a tie for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference lead when San Diego Mesa downed Imperial Valley 6-2 and took over first place by one game.

All this, despite a big performance by sophomore catcher Danny Bethea (above left), who was being looked at seriously by St. John's University of the Big East Conference at the game and went 3-for-3 with a walk.

Shortstop Tyler Bernard, who already has signed with Virginia Tech, went 2-for-4 and also hit the ball hard on his two outs, a line out to right field and a long fly ball that Grossmont's Aaron Waddington caught running toward the center field fence.

It was the second time in three days that Waddington robbed Bernard on long balls hit over his head. He did the same thing when the G-House upset the Comets on Tuesday in El Cajon.

The Griffins (9-16, 5-11 in conference) made big defensive plays all afternoon, highlighted by a series of running catches that also included an earlier one by Waddington to steal and extra base hit from Casey Munoz and save a run in the third inning.

Right fielder Jerial Waller, who was 3-for-4 at the plate, also made multiple running catches to rob the Comets of hits. And Grossmont turned two key inning-ending double plays in back of winning pitcher Anthony Vigil, a left-hander who gave up one run on 10 hits and benefited from all the defensive heroics.

The Griffins' second double play got Vigil out of a big jam in the sixth inning, after Bernard, Audie Afenir and Bethea knocked out consecutive singles with one out. It was 2-0 at the time, and Palomar appeared poised for a big inning.

"This time I can't complain about the way we played," said Palomar coach Buck Taylor, who had been less than happy with the way the Comets performed on Tuesday. "We got good enough pitching (from Julian Esquibel and Clayton Voechting) to win, we executed, we played defense and we hit the ball well, often hard right at them. And they ran some balls down."

Like Grossmont, Palomar had an outstanding day defensively, particularly Bernard at shortstop.

The Griffins did not test Bethea's arm, and Bethea was busy blocking pitches in the dirt to save bases and possibly some more Grossmont  runs.

The Comets, trailing 4-0, finally scored in the ninth. Bethea led off the inning by banging his third hit of the afternoon, a single to left. Grossmont brought in Kyle Shaver, who recorded his second save in three days, but Derek Baum greeted him by singling through the left side to advance the runners to second and third.

With one out, Mitch Tybroski drove in Kyle Hansen, who was running for Bethea, with a ground ball back to Shaver, the pitcher.

Rounding out the Comets' 11-hit attack, Josh Sabourin doubled and Jonathan Davis singled.

The conference has a bye day on Saturday, and the Comets will try to get well when they play back-to-back games vs. last-place Imperial Valley on Tuesday in Imperial and Thursday at home, then visit Southwestern next Saturday.

It's the first time Palomar (19-9, 13-4) has been out of first place all season. The Comets have eight games remaining.


Munoz is PCAC Athlete of Week for all sports

SAN DIEGO (4-5-11) -- Palomar baseball player Casey Munoz has been named Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports.

Munoz, the Comets' freshman left fielder from Cathedral Catholic High School and a bounce-back from Oklahoma State where he received a baseball scholarship, leads the first-place Comets with a .375 batting average.

Last week, he had a double and RBI in a 4-1 win over second-place San Diego Mesa. He was 2-for-5, tripled, and  had two runs scored, two RBIs and two steals in a 5-1 victory over defending PCAC champion San Diego City. And he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs as the Comets defeated the Knights again 16-5.

Sloppy performance proves deadly at G-House

EL CAJON (4-5-11) -- Palomar played a sloppy, listless game on Tuesday afternoon at Noel Mickelsen Field and a hungry Grossmont team made the Comets pay a steep price.

On a day the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference leaders out-hit the G-House 9-4, Grossmont took advantage of four Palomar errors and the Comets' inability to execute in key situations.

Grossmont (8-16 season, 4-11 in conference) tallied a 3-2 upset win, snapping a four-game losing streak. Along the way, the Griffins dropped the Comets (19-8, 13-3) into a tie for first place with San Diego Mesa with nine games remaining.

Mesa, which entering Tuesday's games trailed Palomar by a game, won at Imperial Valley 15-3.

Josh Sabourin (above left, 2-for-4, double, run scored), Derek Baum (above right, 2-for-4, double, RBI) and Tyler Bernard (2-for-4, run scored) all had multiple-hit afternoons to pace Palomar's nine-hit attack.

Audie Afenir contributed an RBI single and made a series of outstanding defensive plays at first base. Jonathan Davis and Casey Munoz also hit safely.

Afenir's sharp single to left with one out in the seventh inning drove in Palomar's first run and tied the game 1-1. Sabourin and Bernard had started the inning with back-to-back singles but the Comets couldn't get down a sacrifice bunt and were forced to settle instead for a called third strike.

After Afenir's hit, winning pitcher Zach Pettiford (4-3) got his second strikeout of the inning to escape further damage.

Then, with Grossmont on top 3-1, Sabourin led off the Palomar ninth by banging a double into the left field corner. Bernard followed with a long drive which G-House center fielder Aaron Waddington somehow hauled in running straight toward the fence. Sabourin advanced to third and scored when Baum, the next batter, doubled to center to chase Pettiford.

Reliever Kyle Shaver, who normally starts for the Griffins, came on to get the final two outs on a strikeout and fly ball to center to record the save.

Jarrod Castrejon, the Comets' starter, pitched six effective innings, scattering three hits and allowing a lone unearned run. Nick Carmichael, the second of three Palomar pitchers, was tagged with his first loss of the season as he fell to 4-1. Callan Dawson came in to get the Comets out of the eighth inning.

The three combined on a four-hitter.

Palomar and Grossmont will play a rematch on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Myers Field when they match up for the final time this season. The Comets lead the series between the two teams 3-1.


Comets use 21 players, get 22 hits to rout City

SAN MARCOS (4-2-11) -- Led by Jeremy Cline (left), who went 4-for-4, Palomar knocked out 22 hits on Saturday to bury San Diego City College 16-5 in a PCAC baseball game at Myers Field.

Coach Buck Taylor got 21 players into the game and seven of them -- Cline, Danny Bethea, Casey Munoz, Christian Johnson, Casey Husband, Mitch Tybroski and Rich Montanez (right) -- had multiple hits.

The Comets (19-7, 13-2)  remained alone atop the conference by one game over second-place San Diego Mesa, a 7-3 winner over Grossmont, with 10 games to play.

Winning pitcher Clayton Voechting (4-1) threw the first six innings, scattering six hits and allowing one earned run, before departing with an 11-2 lead.

Montanez went 2-for-2 with two RBIs after replacing Cline at designated hitter, as the two gave the Comets a combined 6-for-6 performance in the leadoff spot.

By contrast, City College (11-11, 8-7), which also utilized two players in the lead-off hole during the game, saw them go a combined 0-for-5, striking out four times.

Palomar jumped on San Diego starting pitcher and loser Mark Vasquez (3-2) with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, on back-to-back infield singles by Cline and Jonathan Davis to begin the game, two errors, a double by Munoz and Tyler Bernard's sacrifice fly.

Davis, Munoz and Bernard had RBIs in the inning

The Comets tacked on four runs in the fourth inning, four in the fifth and five more in the bottom of the eighth as they turned the game against the defending PCAC champions into a boat-race.

The Comets banged out 11 hits during their fourth- and fifth-inning rallies which blew the game wide open. Bethea doubled in a pair of runs to highlight the four-run fourth. He contributed two hits in the two innings -- as did Husband, Tybroski, Johnson and Cline.

Bernard ignited the back-to-back rallies when he singloed to right to lead off the fourth.

Johnson, the Comets' second baseman, won himself family bragging rights by driving in a run off his brother, San Diego City relief pitcher David Johnson, with a ground ball to the right side during the five-run eighth inning.

Palomar pulled off two double plays, from shortstop Bernard to Johnson to Husband playing first basew in the sixth inning, and from third baseman Jose Rodriguez to Johnson to first baseman Chris Miller to end the game in the top of the ninth. Spencer Hardy, the fourth Palomar pitcher of the afternoon, induced the ninth-inning double play off the bat of the Knights' Rick Aguirre.

Palomar will play a two-game series against Grossmont during the upcoming week. The comets will visit the Griffins on Tuesday and return home to Myers Field to conclude the series on Thursday.


Padres promote ex-Comet Vincent to Double-A

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (4-1-11) -- After back-to-back outstanding seasons for Lake Elsinore in the advanced-Class A California League and a scoreless spring-training inning for the major league Padres on Tuesday, former Palomar pitcher Nick Vincent has been promoted to San Antonio of the Class AA Texas League.

Vincent, who won 20 games for the Comets with a career 2.11 ERA in 2005-2007 and a productive season at Long Beach State, pitched for the second straight year in a Major League spring training game on Tuesday when he relieved Padres closer and ex-Santa Ana community college pitcher Heath Bell against the Milwaukee Brewers in Peoria, AZ.

Vincent, who was in uniform for the big-league club for five games in spring training, threw a scoreless ninth inning.

Esquibel (win), Carmichael (4th save) halt City

SAN DIEGO (3-31-11) -- Julian Esquibel (left) pitched 5 1/3 innings to run his pitching record to 5-1 on Thursday as first-place Palomar pinned a 5-1 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference loss on San Diego City College at Morley Field.

Nick Carmichael (right) came on to get the Comets out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning and threw the last 3 1/3 innings, picking up his fourth save.

Casey Munoz was 2-for-5 for the Comets (18-7, 12-2 in conference) with a triple, an RBI and two stolen bases. Jeremy Cline returned to the lineup by going 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk. Josh Sabourin went 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Tyler Bernard contributed a double, also drew a walk and stole a base..

Jonathan Davis had a single, an RBI and a sacrifice bunt -- and literally knocked San Diego pitching starter Keegan Yuhl out of the game by hitting him in the stomach with a batted ball in the top of the seventh inning.

Yuhl was knocked to the ground and, from a sitting position, bounced the ball toward first baseman Dylan Garcia. The ball got by Garcia as Davis advanced to second. The official scorer ruled it as a two-base error on Garcia.

Mitch Tybroski rounded out the Palomar attack with a single and a steal. 

Palomar led all the way after Sabourin's first-inning single that drove in Munoz to put the Comets on top right away. Cline led off the game with a single and, with one out, was forced at second on Munoz' fielder's choice. Munoz stole second and scored when Sabourin delivered his hit to center field.

Esquibel took a three-hit shutout and 3-0 lead into the sixth. The Knights began the inning with four straight hits, scoring their only run. Esquibel got the next batter on a called third strike, and Carmichael came into the game at that point to get two straight batters on called thirds.

Carmichael got the Knights to hit double-play balls in the seventh (first baseman Audie Afenir to Bernard, the shortstop), eighth (second baseman Christian Johnson to Bernard to first baseman Jose Rodriguez) and ninth (Bernard, who stepped on the bag at second and threw to Rodriguez at first). The third double play ended the game.

Carmichael pitched one-hit, shutout ball for his 3 2/3-inning stint. He lowered his earned run average to 0.68 over 26 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-6 right-hander also has a 4-0- win-loss record.  Esquibel's ERA is 1.71 for 47 1/3 innings.

The victory keeps Palomar alone atop the conference, one game ahead of San Diego Mesa, which defeated Grossmont 4-2.


Baum homers, relievers shine but lead cut to 1

SAN DIEGO (3-29-11) -- Palomar's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball  leaders had a number of things go right as the Comets tried to stretch their lead over second-place Mesa to three games on Tuesday.

But the thing that went wrong ruined the afternoon. Palomar lost 10-6 after falling behind 6-0 after one inning and 9-1 in the second inning. The loss snapped the Comets' win streak at eight games.

Sparked by a three-run homer by catcher Derek Baum (above left) to left field in the top of the fourth, the Comets battled back to close to within 9-6. But they were unable to score again over the last five innings and never could get any closer. This, despite the fact they banged out 10 hits against four Olympian pitchers.

The Comets, who stretched a one-game lead over the Olympians in the PCAC to two games by winning on Monday in San Marcos, falls to 17-7, 11-2 in conference. Mesa is 14-9, 10-3. The two teams each have 12 games remaining.

Starting pitcher Ryan Wilkins refused to pack it in despite the horrific first two innings and shut out the Olympians on one hit over the third, fourth and fifth.

The Comets then got one strong relief inning each from Cody Willingham (who hadn't pitched in 28 days), Callan Dawson (who hadn't pitched in 12 days) and highly-regarded draft prospect Justin Bellez, who is coming off an injury and was making his first appearance since back on Feb. 10.

Anthony Meza (above right) went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Palomar. Jonathan Davis also was 2-for-4 with a double.

Audie Afenir doubled to right-center in the second inning and scored the Comets' first run when Meza followed him by doubling to right.

Josh Sabourin and Tyler Bernard singled to drive in runs, and Mitch Tybroski and Rich Montanez also contributed singles.

Baum gunned down Garrett Gallacher, the only Mesa runner who attempted to steal, in the second inning.

Palomar goes on the road to play third-place San Diego City College, last year's conference champion that is coming off an 8-2 win over Imperial Valley, on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Morley Field in Balboa Park. The two teams will play a rematch on Saturday at noon at Myers Field.


Comets top Mesa with 3-run 7th, up by 2 games

SAN MARCOS (3-28-11) -- Palomar broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday and went on to win its rain make-up with San Diego Mesa 4-1 at Myers Field.

The first-place Comets, with their eighth win in a row, ran their record to 17-6 on the season, 11-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and stretched their conference lead to two games over the second-place Olympians (13-9, 9-3).

Clayton Voechting (above left) and Jarrod Castrejon (above right) took 2 hours, 28 minutes to throw a five-hitter at the Olympians.

Mitch Tybroski, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk, doubled to right-center to break the tie and drive in what turned out to be the winning run.

Audie Afenir led off the inning with a sharp opposite-field single to right. After a force play on an attempted sacrifice bunt when pinch-runner Kyle Hansen was forced at second, Christian Johnson sacrificed Danny Bethea to second.

Tybroski followed with the double that scored Bethea and put Palomar ahead 2-1, Jonathan Davis singled to drive in Tybroski, and Casey Munoz doubled to drive in Davis.

Tybroski had put Palomar in front 1-0 in the bottom of the first when he singled, moved all the way to third on an errant pick-off attempt and scored on a wild pitch.

Mesa tied the game with a run in the sixth.

With runners at first and second with two outs, Bernard cut off further damage and got Voechting out of the inning when he to his left to make a diving stop of a ball hit by Myles Dempsey. Bernard flipped the ball to Johnson, the second baseman, for the force at second.

It turned out to be the defensive play of the game for Palomar on an afternoon that Afenir dug two balls out of the dirt at first base and Jose Rodriguez, who came in to play first, one out of the dirt to get outs on throws across the infield. Afenir also got the final out of the seventh inning on a double play when Tybroski caught Dillon Haupt's fly ball and easily doubled off Gallacher, who was already at third, on a throw to first.

Castrejon (4-1), who picked up the pitching win, came in to begin the next inning after Voechting allowed one run on four hits over the first six innings.

Castrejon gave up one hit in three shutout innings, striking out four.

Castrejon worked his way out of a jam (one out, runners at first and second) in the ninth inning. He got Mesa's Garrett Gallacher on a called third strike and Victor Rasar-Thompson, the leading hitter in the state entering the game, on a fly ball to Munoz in left field for the final out of the game.

Rasar-Thompson, a transfer from 2010 state community college runner-up College of San Mateo and the reigning PCAC Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports, came into the game with a .469 batting average. He went 0-for-5 facing Voechting and Castrejon, with with two ground outs, a foul pop-up, a strikeout and the fly ball.

Bethea and Josh Sabourin singled for the Comets' other hits.

The two teams play again on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Mesa, with Palomar having an opportunity to take a three-game lead as the PCAC passes the halfway point in the 25-game conference season.


Bernard drives in both runs, gives Esquibel win

SAN MARCOS (3-24-11) -- Shortstop Tyler Bernard (left) drove in both Palomar runs on Thursday, including a single for the game-winner in the seventh inning, as the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference leaders defeated host Southwestern 2-1.

Bernard's hit to center scored Jonathan Davis, who had singled to center with one out, from second and gave Julian Esquibel (right) the victory in a pitcher's duel with the Jaguars' James Trebus.

Esquibel (4-1), Jarrod Castrejon and Nick Carmichael combined on a four-hitter. Esquibel allowed one run on four hits over the first 7 1/3 innings.

Castrojon came in to get the last two outs in the eighth to strand Southwestern's Matt Martinez, who had walked to lead off the inning, at third.

Carmichael, the winning pitcher in relief against the Jaguars on Wednesday, threw a hitless, scoreless ninth inning to record his third save.

Carmichael, who has compiled a 4-0 win-loss record, has an ERA of 0.78 for 23 innings pitched on the season. Esquibel has a 1.71 ERA for 42 innings pitched.

The Comets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Christian Johnson drew a walk, Casey Munoz blooped a single to left with two out, Trebus hit Josh Sabourin with a pitch and Bernard picked up the RBI by fouling off a string of pitches and then drew a walk with the bases loaded, forcing in Munoz.

The Jaguars tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Ricardo Aguilar's two-out RBI single to right and the score remained 1-1 until Bernard's game-winning hit in the seventh.

Davis went 3-for-5 as the Comets banged out 10 hits against Trebus, who pitched a complete game. Munoz went 2-for-5. Sabourin, Bernard, Casey Husband, Audie Afenir and Johnson each contributed one hit. The combined 14 hits by the two teams were all singles.

The Comets turned two double plays. Bernard, who again made a series of big defensive plays in the game, stabbed a line drive off the bat of Bryan Burkhead in the second inning and threw to Afenir at first to double off Omar Gonzalez. 

The second double play ended the game in the bottom of the ninth after Casrmichael had hit Burkhead with a pitch with one out. Kevin Carreon hit a hard ball at second baseman River Stevens, who made a difficult stop and threw the ball to Bernard at short. Bernard stepped on the bag to force Burkhead, then relayed it to Jose Rodriguez at first to get Carreon for the final out.

Catcher Danny Bethea had set the tone for the game in the bottom of the first inning. Hee gunned down the Jaguars' leadoff hitter, Ricardo Aguilar, trying to steal third base after singling and advancing on a sacrifice bunt. Bethea has thrown out seven of 11 runners who have attempted to steal on him for the season, a percentage of .636.

Palomar, which ran its win streak to seven games and has won 10 of its last 11, plays second-place San Diego Mesa on Saturday at noon at Myers Field, weather permitting.

The Olympians, who defeated defending conference champion San Diego City College 10-4 on Thursday, are one game behind the Comets with a 9-2 conference record.


ABOVE: Anthony Meza scores the winning run against Southwestern on Jonathan Davis' walk off single. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Mitch Tybroski, who had three hits for the Comets

Davis' game-winning RBI leaves Jags standing

SAN MARCOS (3-23-11) -- Jonathan Davis delivered a walk off single to left-center field for Palomar's 12th hit of the afternoon on Wednesday, giving the Comets a 4-3 baseball victory over Southwestern at Myers Field.

The win kept coach Buck Taylor's squad (15-6, 9-1) alone atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. Mitch Tybroskiwent 3-for 5. Tyler Bernard was 2-for-4 with a series of big defensive plays at shortstop. And Davis was the Comets stretched their winning streak to six games.

With one out in the ninth, Casey Husband worked Patrick McGrath, the Jaguars' fourth pitcher of the afternoon, for a walk. Tybroski followed with a two-out single, and Davis' hit drove in pinch-runner Anthony Meza from second with the winning run.

That gave the pitching win to Nick Carmichael (4-0), who came on with none out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning after two Palomar errors and an attempted sacrifice bunt that went for an infield hit.

Carmichael walked in an unearned run that belonged to starter Ryan Wilkins and then retired six straight batters, striking out three.

Wilkins allowed four runs on six hits over seven-plus innings. Only one of Southwestern's runs was earned as Palomar ran into problems fielding bunts and made five errors.

The Comets, trailing 2-0, took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning on six straight singles by Bernard, Derek Baum, pinch-hitter Jeremy Cline, Husband, Christian Johnson and Tybroski.

Cline's hit drove in Bernard with the Comets' first run. Husband's hit drove in Kyle Hansen, who ran for Baum. Tybroski's hit drove in Cline.

The Jaguars tied the game a 3-apiece with thei unearned run in the top of the eighth. That set the stage for Davis' game-winning RBI in the ninth.

Casey Munoz doubled with two -out in the first inning but was left stranded for the other Palomar hit.

The Comets will play at Southwestern in a rematch on Thursday at 2 p.m., weather permitting.


Bernard, Munoz, Sabourin get 9 hits in victory

SAN MARCOS (3-17-11) -- Tyler Bernard (3-for-5, triple, sacrifice bunt, 3 RBIs), Casey Munoz (left, 3-for-5, walk, sacrifice fly, RBI) and Josh Sabourin (right, 3-for-5, sacrifice fly, 2 RBIs) paced a 17-hit attack Thursday that carried PCAC baseball leader Palomar to a 13-8 road win at Imperial Valley.

Jonathan Davis also had two hits for the Comets (14-6, 8-1), who ran their win streak to five games and won for the eighth time in their last nine decisions. Kody Sepulveda had a double. Mitch Tybroski, Casey Husband, Audie Afenir, Danny Bethea and Chris Miller also hit safely.

Sepulveda picked off an IVC runner at first base from his catcher position and Munoz threw out a runner at the plate from left field for big defensive plays for Palomar.

Nick Carmichael (2-0), the second of three Palomar pitchers, threw four innings to pick up the win.

Imperial Valley's outfielders made a series of spectacular plays to rob the Comets of hits and remain on top in the game into the seventh inning, when Palomar scored four runs.


ABOVE: Palomar's Josh Sabourin slides in safely at third baseduring Tuesday's 4-2 win over Imperial Valley. BELOW LEFT: Ryan Wilkins, who retired nine of 10 batters he faced and struck out four to record a save, faces the last batter of the game. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT: Casey Munoz, who went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and two steals as he raised his batting average on the season to .373

Afenir drives in two as 1st-place Comets win

SAN MARCOS (3-15-11) -- Freshman first baseman Audie Afenir drove in two of Palomar's four runs and the Comets stayed alone atop the Pacvific Coast Athletic Conference on Tuesday, turning back Imperial Valley 4-2 at Myers Field.

Winner Jarrod Castrejon (3-1) and reliever Ryan Wilkins (save) combined to scatter eight hits as the Comets beat the Arabs' Daniel Santana, who teamed with Jacinto Garcia to pitch a six-hitter, in a 2-hour, 2-minute pitchers' duel.

Afenir's first RBI came on an infield single at IVC third baseman Aaron Manuel and gave Palomar a 2-1 lead. His second RBI came on a squeeze bunt in the eighth inning, when the Comets were up 3-2, and scored pinch-runner Anthony Meza with an insurance run that put the game away.

Casey Munoz went 2-for-3 and gave the Comets (13-6, 7-1 in conference) a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly that drove in Tyler Bernard reached base as a hit batter, stole second and advanced to third on an error. Munoz also had a bunt single that preceded Afenir's squeeze bunt in the eighth inning and stole two bases.

Josh Sabourin was 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Jose Rodriguez went 2-for-3.

Castrejon pitched seven-hit ball over the first six innings, striking out six and walking one. Wilkins came on to begin the seventh inning and threw one-hit ball over three innings, striking out three. He didn't walk anybody and allowed only one baserunner.

The Comets rocketed five line drivers straight at Imperial Valley fielders, including two each of the bats of River Stevens and Mitch Tybroski and one off Bernard's bat.

The win was the fourth in a row for Palomar and the Comets' seventh in their last eight games.

Palomar goes on the road to play the Arabs on Thursday at 2 p.m. in Imperial.


Bethea is PCAC Athlete of Week for all sports

SAN DIEGO (3-14-11) -- The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference has selected Palomar baseball player Danny Bethea as Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports.

Bethea, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore catcher from La Costa Canyon High and a transfer from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, threw out back-to-back Grossmont runners trying to steal in the eighth inning to preserve the first-place Comets' 6-5 victory over the G-House.

Two days later, he gunned down another Grossmont player attempting to steal and also went 2-for-4 and scored a run as Palomar won again 7-4. Bethea, who also is batting .333, has only allowed two stolen bases this season.

Bethea's Palomar roots run deep. His dad Pete Bethea caught for the Comets and was a first-team All-American on an NAIA World Series championship team at Grand Canyon. His mother Colleen played softball for Palomar. And his brother Mike played football for the Comets, was a starting linebacker for Nevada and signed with the New Orleans Saints.












ABOVE: Mitch Tybroski gets congratulations from his teammates after his third-inning inside-the-park home run. Tyler Bernard advances on a play..-- Photos by Deb Hellman. BELOW RIGHT: Winning pitcher Nick Carmichael, who has yet to give up an earned run this season in 16 innings.

Palomar comes back from 4-0 deficit, wins 7-4

SAN MARCOS (3-11-11) -- Palomar spotted Grossmont a 4-0 lead in the first inning on Saturday at Myers Field, then rallied for a 7-4 victory that keeps the Comets alone in first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Coach Buck Taylor's Comets (12-6, 6-1) banged out 12 hits against five Grossmont pitchers, led by Tyler Bernard, who went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in. He also reached base as a hit batter.

Mitch Tybroski was 2-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run to left field in the third inning that gave the Comets their first run.

Jeremy Cline (2-for-4, walk, stolen base, two runs scored), Casey Munoz (2-for-3, walk, sacrifice bunt) and Danny Bethea (2-for-4, walk, run scored) joined Bernard and Tybroski with multiple hits.

Bethea, the Comets' catcher, gunned down another runner trying to steal and has thrown out four of six runners on attempted steals for the season.

Palomar's pitching was dominant after the first inning. Starter and winner Clayton Voechting (4-1) allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits, a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt and an error in the first inning, then settled down and shut out Grossmont through the sixth inning.

Nick Carmichael came on in relief to begin the seventh and threw three shutout innings to record his third save. He's pitched 16 innings without allowing an earned run.

Jonathan Davis and Audie Afenir also hit safely for Palomar.

The Comets will host Imperial Valley on Tuesday at 2 p.m.


Comets' team effort turns back the G-House

EL CAJON (3-10-11) -- First-place Palomar got what coach Buck Taylor  described as "completely a team effort" as the Comets downed Grossmont 6-5 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game on Thursday at Noel Mickelsen Field.

Crucial come-though performances in the game were turned in by Josh Sabourin (above left), who slugged Palomar's second home run of the season over the left field fence in the fourth inning, catcher Danny Bethea (above) right) who gunned down two Grossmont runners trying to steal in the eighth inning and got down a key sacrifice bunt in the top of the ninth.

Also, by Jonathan Davis (who singled and scored the winning run in the ninth), Casey Munoz (who tripled in the winning run later in the inning), by Casey Husband and Alex Willeford (who both delivered key pinch-hit RBI doubles), by Jose Rodriguez (crucial pinch-hit RBI single) and by shortstop Tyler Bernard, second baseman Christian Johnson and third baseman Davis defensively.

Bernard went 2-for-4 and Johnson was (2-for-3).

Derek Baum and Audie Afenir also hit safely, and Jarrod Castgrejon pitched 3 2/3 relief innings to run his win-loss record to 2-1. Only two Grossmont runs off starter Julian Esquibel and Castrejon were earned.

The Comets advanced to 11-6 on the season, 5-1 in conference.

The two teams will play again on Saturday at noon at Myers Field.. 


Comets give Wilkins 5-2 win; PC alone in 1st

SAN MARCOS (3-9-11) -- Palomar is back alone atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference after beating defending champion San Diego City College 5-2 at Myers Field on Wednesday, while Grossmont was knocking off San Diego Mesa 5-4 in 11 innings.

Palomar advanced to 10-6, 4-1 in conference. The Comets, Knights and Olympians were tied for first place entering Wednesday's games.

Ryan Wilkins (above left) settled down after a rocky first inning to pitch seven shutout innings and River Stevens (above right) and Jonathan Davis each contributed two hits as the Comets rallied to beat the Knights.

Stevens went 2-for-3, Davis 2-for-4.

After spotting the Knights a 2-0 lead on four hits in the first, Wilkins (2-1) was in complete control through the eighth. Nick Carmichael came on to record his second save in the ninth.

The Comets (10-6, 4-1) tied the game in the fourth on Mitch Tybroski's two-run single to center, then went on top in the fifth on Casey Husband's run-scoring grounder to the right side. Pinch-hitters Jose Rodriguez and Josh Sabourin drove in insurance runs with two of eighth-inning singles.

Anthony Meza had a double and Casey Munoz singled for Palomar's other hits.


Ex-Comet Shore pitches Oklahoma past USD

Bobby ShoreSAN DIEGO (3-4-11) -- Palomar product and senior right-hander Bobby Shore (2-0) pitched unbeaten Oklahoma past the University of San Diego 7-1 on Friday afternoon, throwing a complete-game eight-hitter.

Shore, who pitched Oklahoma into the College World Series a year ago, took a shutout into the bottom of the ninth against the Toreros. The Sooners advanced to 12-0 on the season.

Shore transferred from Palomar after his sophomore season of 2009 and  was 11-5 for Oklahoma as a junior in 2010.

Wildness costs Comets in upset loss to Mesa

SAN DIEGO (3-5-11) -- Host San Diego Mesa took advantage of wildness by Palomar pitchers on Saturday to ruin the Comets' chances to jump ou to a 4-0 start in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

The Olympians parlayed nine walks and five hit batters into a 9-7 upset win, a result that dropped the Comets into a three-way tie for first place with Mesa and San Diego City College, which comes to Myers Field for a 2 p.m. match-up on Tuesday.

Palomar, trailing 3-1, scored four runs in the top of the fourth to go on top 5-3 as the Comets put together a single down the left-field line by Mitch Tybroski (above left), a walk to River Stevens, a fielder's choice, a two-run double by Jeremy Cline (above right) into the right-center field gap, a walk to Anthony Meza and Derek Baum's RBI single to right-center.

But the Comets couldn't hold on.

The Olympians scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to go back in front 6-5. The Comets re-took the lead 7-6 in the seventh on Stevens' RBI fielder's choice and Christian Johnson's squeeze bunt which drove in another run.

Anthony Meza, Casey Munoz, Casey Husband, Jonathan Davis and Johnson also hit safely.

Palomar fell to 9-6, 3-1 in the conference.


Cline, Comets score 4 in 11th to take first place

CHULA VISTA (3-3-11) -- Jeremy Cline's two-run double in the top of the 11th inning broke a 3-3 tie and Palomar went on to take over first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference on Thursday, beating host Southwestern 7-3.

The Comets (9-5, 3-0 in conference) moved into undisputed first place three games into the 25-game PCAC season when San Diego Mesa knocked off defending champion San Diego City College 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Cline (left) went 3-for-6, Audie Afenir went 2-for-3 and River Stevens was 2-for-4 for the Comets, giving Nick Carmichael (above right) the pitching win in relief.

Carmichael (1-0) came on to begin the seventh inning in relief of Julian Esquibel, who had been victimized for three unearned runs in the bottom of the second. Carmichael threw the last five innings, allowing two hits.

Tyler Bernard and Stevens banged out back-to-back singles to lead off the top of the 11th. With one out, Cline doubled into the gap in right-center to put Palomar on top 5-3.

Pinch-hitter Jose Rodriguez doubled to drive in the Comets' third run in the inning. Alex Willeford singled to drive in their fourth run of the inning.

Palomar had put together a lead-off single by Cline, Anthony Meza's sacrifice bunt, Jonathan Davis' single, Casey Munoz' squeeze bunt, Afenir's single and an error to go in front 2-0 in the top of the first.

After the Jaguars took the lead in the bottom of the second, the Comets finally tied it up in the eighth when Davis walked and stole second, Casey Husband walked and Josh Sabourin drove in Davis with a pinch-hit single to right.

Danny Bethea had a double and Munoz added a single for Palomar, rounding out a 13-hit attack.

The Comets will visit on Saturday at noon.


ABOVE: Palomar second baseman Christian Johnson dives to rob Grossmont's Andrew Ray of a hit -- and save a run -- in the top of the fourth on Wednesday. Johnson threw Ray out at first for the final out of the inning. BELOW LEFT: Rich Wilkins pitches in the eighth inning on the way to a complete-game win..-- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT: Catcher Derek Baum, who had two more hits and has four hits the last two days.

Wilkins defeats G-House with a seven-hitter

SAN MARCOS (3-2-11) --Sophomore right-hander Ryan Wilkins delivered with a complete-game seven-hitter, striking out seven and walking one, as Palomar turned back Grossmont 4-3 on Wednesday at Myers Field.

The Comets (8-5, 2-0) remained in a two-way tie for the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference lead with defending champion San Diego City College, which beat Southwestern 3-2.

Palomar scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to come back from a 3-2 deficit.

The Griffins got the first two outs before Derek Baum (2-for-4, double, two runs scored) singled to right field to get the inning rolling.

Casey Munoz singled to left, Audie Afenir walked to load the bases and Rich Montanez singled up the middle, driving in Baum to tie the game 3-3.

Jonathan Davis supplied what turned out to be the game-winning RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in Munoz with run No. 4.

Palomar, trailing 1-0, tied the game in the bottom of the first on a walk to Anthony Meza, Baum's double to left and Munoz' sacrifice fly to center.

The Comets went in front 2-1 in the second on Davis' bloop single to center, River Stevens' single through the right side which moved Davis to third and Christian Johnson's squeeze bunt.

The Griffins put together three of their seven hits in the fourth inning to go back in front 3-2.

Davis joined Baum with multiple hits for Palomar, going 2-for-3 with the RBI and a stolen base. Jeremy Cline contributed a single and a sacrifice bunt.

Palomar played errorless defense and got a series of sometimes spectacular defense from Johnson at second.

The Comets will visit Southwestern on Thursday at 2 p.m. and play at San Diego Mesa on Saturday at noon.


Comets open conference with win over IVC

IMPERIAL (3-1-11) -- Jarrod Cast53jon (left) pitched three-hit, shout ball over six innings and Callan Dawson (right) threw a perfect relief inning on Tuesday as Palomar won its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference baseball opener.

The Comets went on the road and defeated Imperial Valley 12-3 after jumping out to a 9-0 lead after an inning and a half.

Audie Afenir, Derek Baum and River Stevens combined to bang out half of the Comets' 12 hits. Afenir went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Baum went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Stevens was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two steals.

Stevens, making his first appearance of the season at shortstop, and second baseman Christian Johnson both came up big defensively and  combined on a double play in the second inning.

Stevens made the defensive play of the game, fielding a hard-hit ball that deflected off third baseman Jose Rodriguez during Dawson's 1-2-3 eighth inning and gunning down IVC's Octavio Corona at first.

Jeremy Cline, Jonathan Davis, Rodriguez, Casey Munoz, Rich Montanez and Johnson also hit safely for Palomar (7-5, 1-0).

The Comets will host Grossmont in a rain make-up on Wednesday at 2 p.m., then will visit Southwestern at the same time Thursday and San Diego Mesa on Saturday at noon to wrap up the first week of conference play.


Hall of Famer Duke Snider, a regular at Myers Field when his son Kevin played center field for Palomar under coach Jim Clayton, died Sunday at 84. Kevin is shown at right at age 2 1/2 when his dad was the legendary center fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Onetime Myers Field fixture Snider is dead at 84

ESCONDIDO (2-27-11) -- Duke Snider, the Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodgers center fielder during baseball's glory days in New York in the 1950s when he, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays played center field for rival teams, has died.

Snider, a regular fixture at Myers Field when his son Kevin starred in the outfield for Palomar in 1969 and 1970, died in Escondido of age-related causes on Sunday. He was 84.

The legendary Snider, a "five-tool" player, played center field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Mantle for the New York Yankees and Mays for the New York Giants during the same seasons. Son Kevin was born while Snider was playing for Brooklyn and Kevin eventually went on to star for the Comets and then Grand Canyon University of Phoenix. Kevin Snider had some of his dad's speed but lacked his father's powerful arm, power at the plate and overall hitting ability. Like his dad, Kevin Snider was an outstanding defensive outfielder.

Signed out of Compton College by the Dodgers before he could play a junior college game for the Tartars, Snider's first hit as a rookie was overshadowed in history when Pasadena City College four-sport product Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier for the Dodgers two days earlier, delivered his first major league hit in the same game. Snider's classmates at Compton College included future NFL commissioner Pete Rozzell and Hall of Fame NFL running back Hugh McElhenney.

Duke Snider continued to play center field for the Dodgers when they moved to Los Angeles in 1958, then played briefly for the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. He always wore a Brooklyn Dodger hat during his son's two seasons at Palomar -- never a Los Angeles Dodger hat.

While later Major League dads such as Graig Nettles kept low profiles at Palomar games and Bruce Bochy disguised himself, Snider openly mingled with the crowd for two full seasons.

Kevin Snider was the first of a long line of former Major Leaguers sons who has gone on to play in the Palomar baseball program.

ABOVE: Palomar starter and winning pitcher Julian Esquibel fires to the plate in 2-0 win over Los Angeles Valley. He threw the first eight innings in the shutout. BELOW LEFT: Nick Carmichael retires the Monarchs in order in the ninth inning to earn the save. BELOW RIGHT: Casey Husband doubles to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Husband's RBI double gives Esquibel 2-0 win

SAN MARCOS (2-22-11) --  Palomar first baseman Casey Husband drove a double into the right-field corner with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday, driving in the winning run and giving Julian Esquibel a 2-0 shutout victory over Los Angeles Valley.

Esquibel handcuffed the defending Western State Conference Southern Division champion Monarchs in the 1-hour, 49-minute game. He threw four-hit ball over the first eight innings as he advanced to 3-1 on the season.

Nick Carmichael recorded a save when he came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning -- ground outs to shortstop Tyler Bernard and second baseman River Stevens and a swinging strikeout for the third out,

Husband, a Cathedral Catholic High School product who transferred from USC during the off-season, drove in Casey Munoz, who had lined a one-out single to center, all the way from first.

The run broke up what had been a scoreless pitching duel between Esquibel and L.A. Valley's David Armas, who finished with a complete-game five hitter.

The Comets added their second run later in the inning when Rich Montanez beat out an infield hit to the third baseman to drive in Kyle Hansen, who had entered the game as a pinch-runner for Husband.

Bernard went 2-for-4 for Palomar (6-4). Defensively, he made two difficult defensive plays at shortstop, the first to begin a force play in the fourth inning and the second to start off a double play in the sixth.

Husband had set the tone for the afternoon defensively on a first-inning double play after L.A. Valley's Antonio Rosales had led off the game by singling to short. Husband reacted quickly to catch a line drive off the bat of Fabian Loza and stepped on the bag at first before to catch Rosales off the base.

And second baseman Christian Johnson went a ways to his right to backhand the ball and make a nice throw to first in the fifth inning.

The Comets will be back on the road to visit Orange Coast on Wednesday at 2 p.m. before returning home to Myers Field to open their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference season against Grossmont on Saturday at noon.



Comets never get untracked as OCC moves to 13-0

COSTA MESA (2-23-11) --  Palomar has the remainder of the week to get its act back together for Saturday's Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener vs. Grossmont.

This, after the Comets never could get untracked and lost 20-4 to Orange Coast on the road on Wednesday..

The Pirates, one of only three unbeaten teams left in the state, moved to 13-0 on the season. Palomar, which had won three of its last four games, slipped to 6-5.

Starting pitcher Clayton Voechting (3-1), trying to come back on four days' rest after pitching a complete-game three-hitter against Fullerton on Feiday, had none of his stuff and also experienced problems behind him defensively. Voechting came out after 1 2/3 innings. Five other pitchers followed him to the mound.

Rich Montanez (above) went 2-for-2 for the Comets with a double, a run scored and a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Bernard contributed strong defense at shortstop and also had a single and an RBI ground out.

Four players helped spark Palomar off the bench as the Comets attempted to battle back. Jose Rodriguez contributed a two-run double. Mitch Tybroski drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, singled and walked. Kyle Hansen beat out an infield single, scored a run, was hit by a pitch and contributed some timely base-running. Christian Johnson was 2-for-2.

Palomar wasted 14 hits and left 15 runners on base.

The Comets host Grossmont on Saturday at noon.


Voechting (3-0) tosses 3-hitter, Davis 3-4 in win

FULLERTON (2-18-11) --  Clayton Voechting (left) continued to dominate on the mound for Palomar on Saturday morning, throwing a complete-game three-hitter to beat host Fullerton College 6-1.

The freshman right-hander from Chaparral High School in Temecula is 3-0 with one save and an earned-run average of 0.45 for 20 innings.

Sophomore third baseman Jonathan Davis (right), a Vista High School product and transfer from Cal State Fullerton, paced a 10-hit attack for the Comets by going 3-for-4, scoring a run and driving in two runs. Davis also reached base as a hit batter and stole two bases.

Designated hitter Jeremy Cline was 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. He was robbed of a third hit when Fullerton second baseman Garrett Donahoe made a leaping grab of his line drive in the seventh inning.

Davis' two-out single through the left side of the infield in the third inning drove in Christian Johnson, who had doubled to left and advanced to third on Tyler Bernard's ground ball, to put Palomar on top 2-1 in the third inning.

The Comets led the rest of the way to advance to 5-3 on the season.

The Hornets had taken a 1-0 lead lead without benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first. The Comets tied the game in the second when Casey Husband doubled to right and scored on Kody Sepulveda's single to the shortstop.

Casey Munoz had a double and an RBI for Palomar. Rich Martinez added a single.



Palomar loses 7th-inning 1-0 lead and game in rain

FULLERTON (2-18-11) -- Palomar pitcher Ryan Wilkins took 1-0 lead into the seventh on Saturday, but Fullerton scored six runs in the inning and gained a split of the teams' doubleheader with an 8-2, come-from behind victory.

Tyler Bernard (left) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RbI. Casey Munoz singled and also drove in a run with a grounder to the right side. Jonathan Davis had a single and was hit by a pitch, while catcher Derek Baum drew two walks and gunned down a runner trying to steal.

Wilkins was charged with a deceiving six earned runs in the seventh and the Comets made a series of non-plays in a driving rain when they had opportunities to get out of the inning. The skies had threatened all day before rain drenched the field in the seventh.

The umpires called a rain delay after pinch-hitter River Stevens singled to right in the top of the eighth and sprinted to second when the ball skipped by the right fielder on the wet grass. The game resumed a few minutes later.

Both the Comets and Hornets are 5-4.


ABOVE: Palomar's Jonathan Davis slides in safely at third in Tuesday's victory over College of the Desert. BELOW LEFT: Julian Esquibel, who pitched seven shutout innings to advance to 2-0. -- Photos by Deb Hellman. BELOW RIGHT: Anthony Meza, who went 2-for-3

Esquibel, 2 relievers team up to shut out COD

SAN MARCOS (2-15-11) --  Julian Esquibel was right on the money for the second time in three 2011 starts on Tuesday as Palomar blanked College of the Desert 3-0 in a non-conference game at Myers Field.

The freshman right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits  Esquibel (2-1) struck out four and walked none.

Jarrod Castrejon came on to pitch a scoreless, hitless set-up inning in the eighth and Clayton Voechting pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, retiring COD on a ground out, a strikeout and another ground out to record the save.

Anthony Meza went 2-for-3 for the Comets (4-3) with a run scored and a sacrifice bunt. Jonathan Davis and Danny Bethea each went 1-for-3 with and RBI, and Davis also was hit by a pitch and stole a base.

Palomar took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, and pinch-hitter Casey Husband singled to right to drive in Josh Sebourin, who was aboard on a single, with an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.

Audie Afenir was 1-for-2 with a walk. Jeremy Cline walked twice, stole a base and scored a run.


ABOVE: Starting pitcher Ryan Wilkins deals against state No. 1-ranked Santa Ana. BELOW LEFT: Palomar coach Buck Taylor talks to pinch-runner Charlie Gorzo (27) during a pitching change by the Dons. BELOW RIGHT: Clayton Voechting, who came on in relief to begin the top of the eighth and recorded the win. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Wilkins, Voechting, Bernard lead upset vs. No. 1

SAN MARCOS (2-12-11) -- Ryan Wilkins, making his first appearance of 2011, and Clayton Voechting took 1-hour and 57-minutes on Saturday to pitch Palomar past state No. 1-ranked Santa Ana 2-1 at Myers Field.

Wilkins, a former CIF-San Diego Section Player of the Year out of Cathedral Catholic High School and the Comets' No. 1 pitcher last season, shut down the Dons over the first seven innings and left the game with the teams tied 1-1.

Voechting (2-0), a freshman from Chaparral High School in Temecula, came in to slam the door on the visitors in the eighth and ninth to record the win..

Then there was shortstop Tyler Bernard, who went 2-for-4 and drove in Jeremy Cline with both of the Comets' runs.

Bernard's RBI single through the left side of the infield provided Palomar with the winning run in the eighth. Cline led off the inning by singling to left, advanced to second on an error, then to third on Jonathan Davis' second sacrifice bunt of the game.

Bernard's single in a similar situation in the bottom of the first had given the Comets up 1-0 early. Cline had walked, moved up on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Davis' sacrifice bunt. .

Santa Ana tied the score with a run in the fourth.

Casey Munoz went 2-for-4 for the Comets, joining Bernard with multiple hits. Davis and Anthony Meza also hit safely .

Palomar got a string of crucial defensive plays from Bernard at shortstop and freshman River Stevens at second base. The two combined to record 13 putouts and assists and turned a double play for the second third outs in the sixth.

The double play off the bat Santa Ana's Austin O'Neal went from Bernard-to-Stevens-to-Alex Willeford at first base, and it was not an easy double play for either Bernard or Stevens.

The Comets were coming off back-to-back losses to Orange Coast and Saddleback on Wednesday and Thursday and needed someone, or someones, to step up on Saturday.

That was exactly what they got.

Besids its No. 1 state ranking, Santa Ana also entered the game ranked No. 1 on the Pacific Coast by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Palomar, ranked sixth in the state, evened its record at 3-3.


ABOVE: Casey Munoz rounds the bag at third on his third-inning home run. BELOW RIGHT: River Stevens gets down sacrifice bunt to move Danny Bethea to second base in the bottom of the fourth. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.

Palomar self-destructs in dropping home opener

SAN MARCOS (2-9-11) -- It couldn't have been all the scouts and four-year coaches. The Comets were used to their presence all Fall, and played three games last weekend in Palm Desert before dozens of scouts, national cross-checkers and Major League general managers.

Palomar never could get it together in their home opener on Wednesday at Myers Field as they helped Orange Coast to win a battle of state Top Ten-ranked teams 9-3 with four hit batters, two balks, six errors and various other mental and physical mistakes.

Palomar pitched behind most of the day, and continually allowed the lead leadoff ba to reach base.

The Comets still stuck around for most of the game, trailing 5-3 until the Pirates pushed across three insurance runs in the top of the ninth.

For Palomar (2-2),  Danny Bethea went 2-fvor-3. Casey Munoz slugged a solo home run over the left-field fence with two out  in the bottom of the third inning.

Munoz' HR tied the game 3-3, but Orange Coast came back with two runs in the top of the fourth to go back in front 5-3.

The Comets will visit Saddleback on Thursday and will return home to host state No. 1-ranked Santa Ana on Saturday at 1 p.m.



Errors, pitching woes beat Palomar for second day

MISSION VIEJO (2-10-11) -- Palomar will try to get back on track when the Comets host state No. 1 Santa Ana on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Myers Field -- after a repeat of Wednesday's loss on Thursday -- this time vs. Saddleback.

The Comets, who had a one-hitter going by pitching starter Justin Bellez before a big crowd of scouts on hand to watch him, fell apart after he exited the game at that point and lost to the Gauchos 11-5. Bellez gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the first..

Three errors by the same infielder, five walks, a hit batter, an inability to finish batters off and an inability to drive in runners did in the Comets. Palomar out-hit Saddleback 13-11.

Down 9-1, Palomar rallied for five runs in the top of the eighth to close the gap to 9-5. Four players who came off the bench provided strong at-bats that resulted in base hits -- Josh Sabourin, Kyle Hansen, Chris Miller and Christian Johnson.

Hansen (above left) and Johnson (above right) also provided outstanding catches in the field, Hansen sprinting toward the fence in left to end the seventh inning and Johnson racing out into right in the eighth.

Pitcher Spencer Hardy came in to get a double-play, shortstop Tyler Bernard to second baseman Meza to first baseman Alex Willeford to finally cut off a four-run Saddleback rally in the bottom of the sixth.

Jeremy Cline and Anthony Munoz each went 2-for-3 for the Comets.


Comets win behind Munoz' bat, Voechting's arm

PALM DESERT (2-5-11) -- Palomar defeated College of the Desert 7-2 to conclude the Roadrunners' Buttles Memorial Tournament on Saturday morning. Oklahoma State transfer Casey Munoz (left) went 3-for-4, doubled twice, scored a run and drove in three runs.

Starting pitcher Clayton Voechting (right), a freshman right-hander from Chaparral High School in Temecula, threw six innings of two-hit, shutout ball to set the tone for the day. He combined with Jarrod Casterjon and Callin Dawson to throw a four-hitter.

The Comets (2-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a double by Cal State Fullerton transfer Jonathan Davis, back-to-back walks to Arizona State transfer Tyler Bernard and USC transfer Casey Husband, an RBI double by Rich Montanez and Munoz' RBI double. The other run in the inning scored on a passed ball.

Danny Bethea doubled in Munoz, who had singled and moved up on Audie Afenir's sacrifice bunt, to make it 4-0 in the third inning.

Munoz doubled in two runs in the Comets' three-run eighth inning that made it 7-0. Afenir drove in the other run with a sacrifice fly. Josh Sabourin and Kyle Hansen singled in the inning.

River Stevens and Jeremy Cline also had hits for the Comets.

Palomar coach Buck Taylor got 20 players into the game, all products of Northern San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County high schools.


Esquibel, relievers pitch Palomar to opening win

PALM DESERT (2-3-11) -- Julian Esquibel (left), a red-shirt freshman right-hander out of Vista High School, shut out San Bernardino Valley over the first five innings on Thursday night as the Comets opened the 2011 baseball season with a 10-2 victory.

The win came in the first game of the Buttles Memorial Tournament at COD's Ted Hamilton Field.

Esquibel left the game with two on and none out in the sixth and Palomar leading 8-0. The Wolverines wound up scoring twice in the inning, and Esquibel was charged with both runs.

For the night, Esquibel allowed one earned run while giving up two hits, striking out eight and walking one.

Palomar relievers Nick Carmichael, Danny Pferschy, Josh Sabourin and Spencer Hardy combined to throw four innings of two-hit ball as San Bernardino Valley managed only four hits in the game.

Freshman Audie Afenir, son of Palomar assistant coach and former Comet and major league catcher Troy Afenir, made his college debut at first base and went 2-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI and a sacrifice bunt.

Jeremy Cline tripled. Jose Rodriguez and Christian Johnson contributed back-to-back two-run singles in the Comets' five-run fifth inning that broke the game open.

Rich Montanez had an RBI single, two runs scored and a walk. Anthony Meza singled, stole a base, scored two runs and walked. Casey Husband hit a sacrifice fly and drew two walks. Casey Munoz singled.

Left fielder Kyle Hansen made a spectacular diving catch as he charged toward the foul line for the final out of the game. Hansen made the catch despite losing a shoe on the play.



Cypress wins match-up of state-ranked opponents

PALM DESERT (2-4-11) -- Cypress broke open a tie game with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to down Palomar 9-5 on the second day of the Buttles Memorial Tournament at COD's Ted Hamilton Field on Friday afternoon.

Cypress entered the game ranked third in Southern California and sixth in the state. Palomar came in ranked fourth in Southern Cal and eighth in the state.

The Comets (1-1) had rallied for two runs in the top of the inning to tie the Chargers (2-0). Casey Husband singled through the left side, Rich Montanez sacrificed him to second and River Stevens (above left) drove him in with a two-out single to center.

Palomar out-hit Cypress 12-10. Montanez (above right) led the way by going 3-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt. He also made a shoestring catch in right field.

Jeremy Cline was 2-for-5. Alex Willeford and Casey Munoz each contributed a double. Anthony Meza, Tyler Bernard, Casey Husband, Kody Sepulveda and Cal State Fullerton TRANSFER Jonathan Davis also hit safely. Stevens got down two sacrifice bunts.

R.J. Shanks pitched a 1-2-3 relief inning in the bottom of the eighth.


Comets open season Thursday night in tourney

PALM DESERT (2-1-11) -- Buck Taylor will begin his sixth season as Palomar's head baseball coach Thursday evening when the Comets play San Bernardino Valley in the College of the Desert Tournament.

First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.

Palomar will come back against Cypress on Friday at 2 p.m. and will close out the tournament on Saturday at 10 a.m. vs. the host team College of the Desert.

The Comets will play their home opener next Wednesday, Feb. 9, vs. Orange Coast at Myers Field.

The Comets enter the season ranked No. 4 in Southern California in the pre-season by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.

Palomar is ranked No. 8 on the Pacific Coast (and sixth in California) in the American Baseball Coaches Association Pacific Associations poll. The Comets are ranked sixth in California.

SOUTHERN CAL: 1 Santa Ana, 2 El Camino, 3 Cypress, 4 Palomar, 5 Hancock,. 6 Orange Coast, 7 Rio Hondo, 8 Cuesta, 9 Oxnard, 10 Santa Barbara City.  ... STATE: 1 Santa Ana, 2 College of San Mateo, 3 El Camino, 4 Fresno City College, 5 Cypress, 6 Palomar, 7 Chabot, 8 Hancock, 9 Ohlone, 10 Orange Coast. ... PACIFIC DIVISIONS (CALIFORNIA, OREGON, WASHINGTON): 1 Santa Ana, 2 San Mateo, 3 Bellevue (WA), 4 El Camino, 5 Fresno, 6 Cypress, 7 Edmonds (WA), 8 Palomar, 9 Chabot, 10 Hancock.


ABOVE: Palomar outfielder Jeremy Cline, shown doubling in the first inning vs. Southwestern last season, has signed early with 16-time NAIA World Series champion Lewis-Clark State. -- Photo by Hugh Cox.  BELOW LEFT: Returning right-handed pitcher Ryan Wilkins, who has signed with North Carolina State. BELOW RIGHT: Catcher Casey Husband, who transferred from USC in the off-season and has signed early with Santa Clara. Shortstop Tyler Bernard (not shown), a red-shirt at Arizona State last season, has signed with Virginia Tech.

4 to NC State, Santa Clara, Va Tech, Lewis-Clark

Casey HusbandSAN MARCOS (12-13-10) -- Four Palomar baseball players signed early and will transfer to four-year colleges at the conclusion of the upcoming 2011 season.

Three of the Comets signed with NCAA Division I schools during the early signing period that ended on Nov 17

Right-handed.pitcher Ryan Wilkins (Cathedral Catholic High School, where he was the 2008 CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year) has signed with North Carolina State.

Wilkins went 6-3 with a 3.32 earned run average and 81 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings for Palomar last season and was a first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection. He was 4-2 in conference games last season with a 2.52 ERA. Wilkins is the son of Dean Wilkins, who pitched three seasons in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros from 1989-1991.

Catcher Casey Husband (Cathedral Catholic High), who played for USC last season as a freshman and transferred to Palomar in the off-season, has signed with Santa Clara University.

Shortstop Tyler Bernard (Valley Center High), who red-shirted at Arizona State in 2010, has signed with Virginia Tech.

And outfielder Jeremy Cline (Valley Center High) has signed with Lewis-Clark State. Lewis-Clark is a 16-time NAIA World Series champion and has a 1,705-430 win-loss record over the last 35 years. Cline hit .343 for the Comets last season with six doubles, four triples, three home runs, 28 RBIs and 8 stolen bases on 11 attempts. He batted .342 in the PCAC and was a first-team all-conference selection.


Gabrielson is leaving for Bethany College (Kansas)

SAN MARCOS (12-13-10) -- Matt Gabrielson, who batted .375 for Palomar's 2010 team in 12 games as a back-up middle infielder, will transfer to Bethany College for the upcoming season.

Bethany is an NAIA school located in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Gabrielson (Riverside Pony High School) came to Palomar from Division I UC Riverside.

He was a red-shirt for the Highlanders during the 2009 season.

2011 Baseball Schedule and Results



Feb 3

San Bernardino Valley (COD Tournament)

Palm Desert

WON 10-2 BOX   1-0  
Fri Feb 4 Cypress (COD Tournament) Palm Desert Lost 5-9 BOX   1-1  
Sat Feb 5 College of the Desert (COD Tournament) Palm Desert WON 7-2 BOX   2-1  
Wed Feb 9 Orange Coast Myers Field Lost 3-9 BOX   2-2  
Thu Feb 10 Saddleback Mission Viejo Lost 5-11 BOX   2-3  
Sat Feb 12 Santa Ana Myers Field WON 2-1 BOX   3-3  
Tue Feb 15 College of the Desert Myers Field WON 3-0 BOX   4-3  
Fri Feb 18 Fullerton (game 1) Fullerton WON 6-1 BOX   5-3  
    Fullerton  (game 2) Fullerton WON 9-0 (Forfeit) BOX   6-3  
Tue Feb 22 Los Angeles Valley Myers Field WON 2-0 BOX   7-3  
Wed Feb 23 Orange Coast Costa Mesa Lost 4-20 BOX   7-4  
Tue March 1 Imperial Valley (PCAC game) Imperial WON 12-3 BOX   8-4 1-0
Wed March 2 Grossmont (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 4-3 BOX   9-4 2-0
Thu March 3 Southwestern (PCAC game) Chula Vista WON 7-3 (11 inn.) BOX   10-4 3-0
Sat March 5 San Diego Mesa (PCAC game) San Diego Lost 7-9 BOX   10-5 3-1
Wed March 9 San Diego City (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 5-2 BOX   11-5 4-1
Thu March 10 Grossmont (PCAC game) El Cajon WON 6-5 BOX   12-5 5-1
Sat March 12 Grossmont (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 7-4 BOX   13-5 6-1
Tue March 15 Imperial Valley (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 4-2 BOX   14-5 7-1
Thu March 17 Imperial Valley (PCAC game) Imperial WON 13-8 BOX   15-5 8-1
Tue March 22 Southwestern (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 4-3 BOX   17-5 9-1
Thu March 24 Southwestern (PCAC game) Chula Vista WON 2-1 BOX   18-5 10-1
Mon March 28 San Diego Mesa (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 4-1 BOX   19-5 11-1
Tue March 29 San Diego Mesa (PCAC game) San Diego Lost 6-10 BOX   19-6 11-2
Thu March 31 San Diego City (PCAC game)       San Diego WON 5-1 BOX   20-6 12-2
Sat April 2 San Diego City (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 16-5 BOX   21-6 13-2
Tue April 5 Grossmont (PCAC game El Cajon Lost 2-3 BOX   21-7 13-3
Thu April 7 Grossmont (PCAC game) Myers Field Lost 1-4 BOX   21-8 13-4
Tue April 12 Imperial Valley (PCAC game) Imperial WON 11-4 BOX   20-9 14-4
Thu April 14 Imperial Valley (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 5-2 BOX   22-8 15-4
Sat April 16 Southwestern (PCAC game) Chula Vista Lost 8-9 (11 inn.) BOX   22-9 15-5
Tue April 19 Southwestern (PCAC game) Myers Field Lost 2-3 BOX   22-10 15-6
Thu April 21 San Diego Mesa (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 4-1 BOX   23-10 16-6
Fri April 22 San Diego Mesa (PCAC game) San Diego WON 5-4 BOX   24-10 17-6
Tue April 26 San Diego City (PCAC game) Myers Field WON 8-6 (11 inn.) BOX   25-10 18-6
Thu April 28 San Diego City (PCAC game) San Diego WON 10-5 BOX   26-10 19-6
Fri May 6 East Los Angeles  (Game 1) Myers Field Lost 4-8 BOX   26-11  
Sat May 7 East Los Angeles (Game 2) Myers Field WON 9-2 BOX   27-11  
    East Los Angeles (Game 3) Myers Field WON 11-2 BOX   28-11  
Fri May 13 Glendale Rio Hondo Lost 2-9 BOX   28-12  
Sat May 14 Southwestern  Citrus Lost 6-16 BOX SEASON 28-13  
Home games in BOLD



Cox Cable Channel 958

2011 Roster








High School (City) /  Previous College

1 Mitch Tybroski OF R/R 5-7 175 So La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA)
2 Jeremy Cline OF L/R 5-10 165 So Valley Center (Valley Center, CA) / U. of Sioux Falls
3 Anthony Meza OF/INF L/R 5-10 180 So Vista (Vista, CA) / Northern Iowa University
4 Christian Johnson INF R/R 5-10 165 Fr Chaparral (Temecula, CA)
7 Jonathan Davis INF L/R 5-10 175 So Vista (Vista, CA) / Cal State Fullerton
8 River Stevens INF L/R 6-0 165 Fr Mission Hills (San Marcos, CA)
9 Tyler Bernard SS R/R 6-2 180 Fr Valley Center (Valley Center, CA) / Arizona State University
11 Callan Dawson RHP R/R 5-10 175 Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad, CA) / New Mexico State University
12 Kyle Hansen OF R/R 6-0 170 Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad, CA)
13 Spencer Hardy RHP R/R 6-0 170 Fr Carlsbad (Carlsbad, CA)
14 Josh Sabourin RHP R/R 6-0 175 Fr Torrey Pines (San Diego, CA)
15 Derek Baum C R/R 6-0 180 So Grossmont (La Mesa, CA) / University of the Pacific
16 Kody Sepulveda C R/R 5-10 185 So Paloma Valley (Menifee, CA) / Cal Baptist University
18 Audie Afenir C / 1B R/R 6-1 180 Fr Escondido (Escondido, CA)
19 Casey Husband C / 1B B/R 6-2 180 So Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA) / USC
20 Rich Montanez OF L/R 6-0 190 Fr Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, CA)
21 Ryan Wilkins RHP R/R 6-1 210 So Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA) / College of Southern Idaho
22 Casey Munoz OF R/R 5-11 190 Fr Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA) / Oklahoma State U.
23 Alex Willeford 1B L/R 5-10 190 Fr Ramona (Ramona, CA)
25 Clayton Voechting RHP R/R 6-4 175 Fr Chaparral (Temecula, CA)
26 R.J. Shanks RHP R/R 6-2 180 Fr Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA)
27 Charlie Gorzo OF R/R 6-3 215 Fr Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, CA) / UNLV
28 Danny Bethea C R/R 6-2 200 So La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, CA) / Grand Canyon University
30 Chris Miller 1B R/R 6-0 180 Fr Temecula Valley (Temecula, CA)
31 Justin Bellez RHP R/R 6-1 200 Fr Mira Mesa (San Diego, CA) / San Diego State University
32 Cody Willingham LHP L/L 6-1 175 Fr Ramona (Ramona, CA) / UC Irvine
33 Jarrod Castrejon RHP R/R 6-3 200 So Ramona (Ramona, CA) / Concordia University (IOregon)
34 Danny Pferschy RHP R/R 6-5 200 So Great Oak (Temecula, CA) / Feather River CC
35 Nick Carmichael RHP R/R 6-6 200 Fr Rancho Bernardo (San Diego, CA) / University of Redlands
36 Jose Rodriguez 3B/1B R/R 6-0 205 So Rancho Buena Vista (Vista, CA)
39 Julian Esquibel RHP L/R 6-3 190 Fr Vista (Vista, CA)
  Sean Coughlin RHP R/R 6-3 200 Fr Champlain (Champlain, MN)
  Ryan Craig INF R/R 6-0 165 Fr Great Oak (Temecula, CA)
  Eric Macmahon RHP R/R 6=4 180 Fr Escondido Charter (Escondido, CA)
  Zak Rico C F/R 5-11 180 Fr Fallbrook (Fallbrook, CA)
  Jesse Sahagun RHP R/R 6=4 180 Fr Escondido (Escondido, CA)
  J.D. Voechling LHP L/L 6-2 175 So Chaparral (Temecula, CA) / U. of North Carolina-Asheville
  Nick Wetzel OF R/R 6-2 175 Fr Escondido (Escondido, CA)
10 -- Buck Taylor, Head Coach
6 -- Ben Adams, Associate Head Coach; Recruiting Coordinator, Infield Coach
24 -- Rich Graves, Outfield Coach
29 -- Sean Rees, Pitching Coach
40 -- Troy Afenir, Bullpen Coach / Bench Coach

Ex-Comets Who Played Major League Baseball (Regular Season)




Randy Johnson, INF San Jose State Atlanta Braves
Troy Afenir, C None Houston Astros, Oakland A's, Cincinnati Reds
Jim Scranton, INF University of Arizona Kansas City Royals
George Hinshaw, INF Arizona State University, University of La Verne San Diego Padres

Ex-Comets Who Played Major League Baseball (Pre-Season)




Rich Zinniger, LHP Brigham Young University San Diego Padres
Dana McManus, RHP Chapman University Detroit Tigers
Scot Mitchell, C Cal State Northridge Oakland A's
Ernie Oliva, RHP None San Diego Padres, California Angels
Will Flynt, LHP Fort Hays State University Pittsburgh Pirates
Carl Grovum, LHP United States International University Cincinnati Reds
Mike Walter, RHP None Houston Astros
Nick Vincent, RHP Long Beach State San Diego Padres
Tyler Saladino, SS Oral Roberts University Chicago White Sox

Everybody is a Comet fan ...

Palomar fan enjoys an afternoon in the sun at Myers Field. Photo by Hugh Gerhardt)

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