Comets rally back to salvage DH split against Huskies
By John Burbridge
OELWEIN — Let’s just say he got a good “jump” on the ball.
After rallying back from a 6-0 deficit, the Charles City Comets needed to protect a 1-run lead going into the bottom half of the seventh inning to salvage a doubleheader split against Oelwein.
The first man up for the Huskies was senior Zach Wegner, who drove a Cole Reams fastball deep into the right-field corner. It had three bases written all over it, but Comet freshman right fielder Ian Collins — fresh from his breakout track season where he placed second at the state meet with a school-record high jump of 6 feet, 7 inches — was off on contact and was able to snare the drive with an outstretched catch after covering more than 25 yards on the ground.
Two batters later, Luke Crandall hit a soft liner to Comet second baseman Wyatt Stevenson, who was able to double up a Husky base runner who strayed off first base to end the game in an 8-7 final.
It not only was a gritty win for the Comets, but at grimy one as well. During a run-down in the bottom of the first which Oelwein was able to score a run on, a sudden downpour accompanied by lightning in the distance prompted a half-hour delay of the game. Though they had frantically covered the pitching mound, the hard rain was able to thoroughly soak it beforehand so when play resumed it remained a muddy hazard for the pitchers.
With a 2-0 lead, Oelwein was able to score 4 more runs in the second inning. Reams relieved Comet left-handed starter Elliott Sinwell in the inning, but like Sinwell, Reams was plagued with mud caking up on the bottom of his spikes while struggling with his control
After Comet head coach Tyler Downing came out to give Reams a brief technique tutorial, Reams began to find a rhythm as well as the strike zone more frequently with his curveball and went on to finish the game with three shutout innings while giving his team a chance to come back.
In the top of the sixth, Comet senior Jace Cajthaml — who helped shut the Huskies down in the latter innings with several excellent plays at third base — hit a two-out, bases-loaded double that sailed over the head of Oelwein’s left fielder, who misjudged how hard the ball was hit. Cajthaml’s third hit of the doubleheader chased home 3 runs to tie the game at 7-7.
In the top of the seventh, Comet junior Atticus Parrott scored Sinwell from third on a sacrifice fly hit to deep centerfield for what would be the winning run. Sinwell had reached on an error to start the inning before advancing to second and then third on a stolen base and wild pitch.
Oelwein won the first game, 5-1.
Likely, they’re not too many teams who would have beaten the Huskies in that game with the way their senior ace, Steven Nicolay, was throwing. The strikeout artist who fanned eight and walked none has a sneaky fast fastball and a sharp-breaking curve. The Comets were able to put the ball in play against him with several long outs in the early innings, but as the game progressed Nicolay gained better control of his pitches and continuously was able to get ahead in the count for a greater advantage over the Comet hitters.
With the split, Charles City is now 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Northeast Iowa Conference.
The Comets are due to host NEIC foe Decorah Tuesday at Sportsmen’s Park.
Oelwein is now 4-4 and 2-2.
OELWEIN 5, CHARLES CITY 1
CC AB R H BI OELWEIN AB R H BI
Colton Slinger 2 0 1 0 Dom Robertson 3 0 1 2
JJ Ritter 3 0 0 0 Dillon Arndt 3 0 1 0
Cole Reams 3 1 1 0 Mason Kunkle 3 0 0 0
Jace Cajthaml 3 0 1 0 Steven Nicolay 2 1 0 0
Tait Arndt 3 0 0 1 Ethan Thomas 1 0 0 0
Elliott Sinwell 3 0 1 0 Zach Wegner 3 1 1 0
Wyatt Stevenson 3 0 0 0 Drake Logan 2 1 1 1
Atticus Parrott 3 0 1 0 Luke Crandall 3 1 1 1
Ian Collins 2 0 0 0 Carson Jeanes 2 1 0 0
TOTALS 25 1 5 1 TOTALS 22 5 5 4
CHARLES CITY 000 100 0 — 1
OELWEIN 032 000 x — 5
LOB–CHARLES CITY 4, OELWEIN 6. ERR–Carter Johanningmeier,Atticus Parrott (2). 2B–Atticus Parrott, Dillon Arndt, LukeCrandall. HBP–Colton Slinger. SACB–Dillon Arndt, Ethan Thomas. SB–Colton Slinger.
CHARLES CITY IP H R ER BB SO HR
Carter Johanningmeier 2.67 5 5 4 3 2 0
JJ Ritter 3.33 0 0 0 1 3 0
Steven Nicolay 7.00 5 1 1 0 8 0
WP–Carter Johanningmeier. SO–Colton Slinger, JJ Ritter, Jace Cajthaml, Ian Collins, Tait Arndt, Wyatt Stevenson, Cole Reams (2), Dom Robertson, Mason Kunkle, Ethan Thomas, Luke Crandall, Drake Logan. BB–Dom Robertson, Ethan Thomas, Steven Nicolay, Drake Logan.