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Long layoff doesn’t faze No. 1 Comets

Long layoff doesn’t faze No. 1 Comets

BAKERSFIELD, CA. (3/4/2023) – After being idle for 10 days while inclement weather washed away five consecutive games, the top-ranked Palomar College softball team finally took the field Saturday for some game action. 

It took a long drive which included negotiating their way through the snowstorm-wracked Grapevine section of Interstate 5, but the Comets made their way from San Marcos to Bakersfield College, where Palomar took on the No. 8-ranked Renegades and No. 18 Folsom Lake in a pair of nonconference matchups. 

With India Caldwell pitching her fifth shutout in as many starts, Palomar prevailed for a 4-0 triumph over host Bakersfield in the first game. Following that win, the Comets improved their season record to 11-0 when a seven-run rally in the seventh inning propelled Palomar to an 8-3 victory over Folsom Lake. 

The Comets supported Caldwell (7-0) with a pair of two-run innings to help cool off a Bakersfield squad which came into the contest with a five-game win streak. The sophomore right-hander retired the first 13 batters she faced before allowing a one-out single in the fifth inning. 

Caldwell finished with a two-hitter to hand the Renegades (9-6) their first shutout loss of the season. She did not walk any batters and struck out six.  

Palomar scored two runs in the top of the second inning on a two-run single down the left-field line by freshman right fielder Faith Steffany (Rancho Buena Vista HS). A hit batsman, an infield error and a single by freshman left fielder Carlee Herrmann (Rancho Buena Vista HS) preceded Steffany's two-out hit which scored sophomore first baseman Kelly Nutter and sophomore center fielder Jonessa Hebreo

The Comets padded their lead with two more runs in the third. Sophomore second baseman Malachy Russell-Millen was hit by a pitch with two outs and advanced to third on a double by freshman shortstop Itzell De Los Rios (Olympian HS). Both runners scored on a single to right field by Nutter to extend the visitors' lead to 4-0.  

Caldwell was backed by errorless defense as the only other Bakersfield baserunner came on a two-out single in the seventh inning. 

The Comets return home Tuesday, March 7, for a non-conference game against Chaffey in a contest which was rescheduled from Feb. 15 due to wet grounds at Bradley Park. 

Other rescheduled games include a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference home game against San Diego City on March 17, which has now been included as a doubleheader after being rained out earlier this week on Wednesday. A non-conference road game against No. 4 Mt. San Antonio originally slated for Feb. 25 has been moved to March 25, and another non-conference contest at Santa Ana originally scheduled for Thursday has been switched to March 30. 

A non-conference home game against Mt. San Jacinto will now be played April 6 after being rained out on Feb. 23.