College baseball: College of Marin sweeps Contra Costa with 25-2 win
A threatening gray, overcast sky never produced a drop of rain Saturday afternoon at the tidy College of Marin baseball field.
The College of Marin baseball team’s bats, on the other hand, did more than just threaten. They hit up a storm.
The Mariners completed a dominating three-game sweep of Contra Costa College with a 25-2 walloping of the Comets in a Bay Valley Conference contest in Kentfield.
COM batted through the order – and then some – in both the first and fourth innings, prompting the Comets to concede after five-and-a-half innings.
The Mariners’ one-sided victory came on the heels of an 11-0 romp against the Comets on Wednesday and a 23-0 shellacking of Contra Costa on Thursday to give COM a 3-0 start in conference play.
“Contra Costa is handcuffed by a lack of pitching,” veteran COM coach Steve Berringer said. “They have one good starter and he pitched really well against us on Wednesday. It took us four innings to get to him. Everybody else Contra Costa brought in (to pitch), we had really good at-bats against.”
Winning pitcher Jake Verwiel, a sophomore southpaw, faced the minimum batters in the first. After that, the COM hitters – sparked by D’andre Gaines’ laser beam leadoff homer over the left-field fence – were relentless against Contra Costa starting pitcher Jordan Holmes.
With one out, COM sent seven batters to the plate without recording another out. For the inning, the Mariners sent 14 to the plate and scored nine runs to break the game open before it had barely begun.
Tam High graduate Jake Ferguson provided the big hit of the rally when he sprayed an outside pitch to right field for a two-run single.
Four batters later, sophomore Jacob Campbell scorched a single through the box for another pair of runs.
Campbell, an All-BVC player last season, was 3 for 5 with a double, a triple and five runs batted in.
“When we got off to a big lead, I was pleased we didn’t start giving at-bats away,” Berringer said. “We didn’t get greedy trying to knock the ball over the fence. We stayed locked in and hit line drives all over the field.”
Holmes did not last through the first, allowing seven earned runs, four hits, two hit batsmen and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Meanwhile, Verwiel, an all-conference relief pitcher as a freshman, was all business through the first three innings, moving a lively fastball around the strike zone and shutting out the Comets on two hits.
“I thought the outing went OK,” said Verwiel, who struck out three, walked two and allowed two runs in 3⅔ innings. “I threw a lot of good pitches and a couple of good innings. But as a pitcher, there’s always room for improvement.”
Berringer was also mostly pleased with Verwiel’s outing.
“He was OK,” Berringer said. “It was a good learning opportunity for him. When a pitcher gets a big early lead he needs to stay aggressive and keep attacking the strike zone. Once we were way ahead, he got into a lot of three-ball counts instead of just pounding the ball in there.”
The Mariners (10-12) added two more runs in the third when Gainer and Campbell pulled off a rarity by connecting for back-to-back triples to lead off the frame. With two outs, Steven Elsner knocked in the second run when he ripped a double into the left-field corner.
By the time the fourth inning rolled around, Contra Costa was looking for pitchers in the grandstand.
The Mariners cashed in on the pitching-poor Comets, sending 18 players to the plate in a 14-run outburst. COM drew 10 walks in the inning – and, at one point, after three consecutive free passes – Lucas Schaefer teed up a waist-high fastball for a grand slam that landed well beyond the left-field fence. Schaefer had five runs batted in for the game.
“We have a lot of good hitters on this team,” Verwiel said. “They make the pitchers’ jobs a whole lot easier.”
COM sophomore relief pitcher Bryant Thornton, a graduate of Archie Williams High, was sharp in two innings of relief work. Thornton fired two scoreless innings and struck out four.