Fans got Comet’s back
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — With a substantial contingent of supporters backing him in centerfield, Charles City junior Jeremiah Chapman made sure he gave them something to cheer about.
And what better way to get fans fired up than one of baseball’s most exciting plays? — a triple.
Chapman led off the bottom of the first inning in the first game of Friday’s Northeast Iowa Conference doubleheader against Crestwood with a standup three-bagger.
Chapman would soon score to tie the game, later drive in a run, record his second hit of the game while bravely putting down a bunt with two strikes on him, steal a base and record several putouts in centerfield while helping the Comets win the first game 12-2 in six innings.
Behind the centerfield fence at the new Charles City baseball field was a group of placard-toting fans adamantly supporting Chapman, who was the subject of several racial taunts during a doubleheader in Waverly the weekend before. The group consisted of several community leaders from in and outside the county, and in part came together by way of social media after the incident prompted a statement in support of Chapman by the Charles City School District, and an apologetic response from the Waverly-Shell Rock School District
With the fans backing Chapman, Chapman and the rest of the Comets were backing senior right-hander Tait Arndt, who scattered four hits and yielded no earned runs while striking eight and walking none in five innings. Atticus Parrott pitched a scoreless sixth for the Comets to seal the shortened game.
Kaden Barry had three hits and 3 RBIs, Tino Tamayo had two hits and 2 RBIs, Cael Bohlen and Parrott both had two hits with doubles, and JJ Ritter chased home three runs with a bases-loaded triple for the Comets.
In the nightcap, Charles City was stymied by Cadet sophomore southpaw Tyler Konkel, who earned the complete-game win in a 7-1 final.
Konkel didn’t actually mow the Comets down as he yielded eight hits and allowed five more baserunners by way of walks and hit batsmen.
But the Comets couldn’t put enough hits together as they stranded base runners in all but one of the seven innings.
Barry had two hits including a double, Bohlen and Parrott each had two hits, and Chapman doubled for the Comets, who now stand at 7-5 overall and 6-4 in the NEIC.
NEWMAN CATHOLIC 10, CHARLES CITY 4: The Comets rallied for 4 runs in the first inning to start Thursday’s non-conference away game against the Knights.
Newman Catholic starter Matthew Henrich was on the ropes and appeared to be on the verge of getting the hook. But he survived the inning and went on the pitch scoreless ball the rest of the way out for the complete-game win.
Bohlen and JJ both had two hits for Charles City.