SAN MARCOS (1-30-2019) / (REVISED 2-04-2019) – New Palomar head baseball coach Ben Adams, Palomar's long-time Associate Head Coach who took over the program when Buck Taylor left during the summer to become the pitching coach / coordinator at Kansas State, filled out his coaching staff, has his team ranked No. 3 in Southern California and has the Comets' off to a 4-0 start to begin season.
Palomar, the defending PCAC North Division champion, is seeking its 18th conference baseball championship in the long-ago South Central Conference, the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and the PCAC North Division.
The Comets' coaching staff for the 2019 season:
-- Ben Adams, Head Coach, Hitting Coach
-- Hayden Carter, Pitching Coach: Carter, returns from Cal State Northridge, where he was a graduate assistant / director of baseball operations last season. The former WAC Pitcher of the Year for Cal State Bakersfield as a player, pitched for four seasons in Division I and was the winning pitcher in Bakersfield's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in the college's history as a senior, defeating the University of Mississippi. Carter was the Comets' bullpen coach two years ago.-- Wade Kitchens, Bullpen Coach: Kitchens begins first season with the Comets. The Vista High product was a standout pitcher for Chapman University and has spent last 8 years as pitching coach at Carlsbad HS
-- Bob Vetter, Bench Coach: Vetter, the Comets' retired California Community College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame head coach, returns from Taylor's 2017 and 2018 coaching staffs.
-- Chase Grant, Outfield Coach: Grant returns to Palomar in a coaching role after starring in the outfield for back-to-back Mountain West Conference regular-season championship teams at the University of Nevada.-- Mitchell Gallagher, Infield Coach: Gallagher is also a former Comet. He returns to Palomar after playing on the Division I level at Xavier University.
-- Niko Holm, Catching Coach: Holm to his alma mater following a Division I career that saw him start at multiple positions at Santa Clara University.
-- Jeff Doyle, Bench Coach: Doyle will be in his second season with the Comets.
The Comets entered the season ranked third behind No. 1 Orange Coast and No. 2 Mt. SAC in Southern California by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.
Palomar opened the season on Jan. 25 with a 3-2 victory on the road over Golden West, coming back from an early 3-1 deficit to score the tying and winning runs in the fifth inning. Designated hitter Adrian Collazo (Ramona High School, Point Loma Nazarene University) led the Comets by going 2-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBIs. Second baseman Justin Folz (Monroe High in Monroe, WA) drove in a run with a single.
Andrew Reitmeyer (Tri-City Christian High) pitched one-hit, shutout ball over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings in relief of starter Mitchell Hayes (Temecula Great Oak High, University of Nevada) to record the win, striking out 3 and walking 1. Braden Olthoff (El Camino High) pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit while striking out 3, to record the save.
The Comets came right back on Jan. 26 to open their home season with a 15-4 victory over the Rustlers at the Palomar College Baseball Complex, coming back from a 3-2 deficit with an 11-run fourth inning.
Adams used 20 players in the game while the two teams combined to use 44 players. Left fielder Noah Hemphill (Coronado High in Las Vegas, Central Arizona Community College, Kansas State) led an 11-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base and 2 RBIs. Right fielder Mitchell Moralez (Vista Murrieta High) slugged a 3-run home run.
Five pitchers combined to throw a 3-hitterk, with Parker Askergreen (Del Norte High), the Comets' second pitcher of the afternoon, notching the win by throwing 1 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 2 and walking 0.
Palomar defeated Southern California No. 4-ranked Saddleback 7-4 at Doug Fritz Field in Mission Viejo on Wednesday, Jan. 31, coming from behind to score 2 runs each in the eighth and ninth innings. Moralez went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI and stole a base. First baseman Evan Ianniciello (San Marcos High, UC San Diego) went 3-for-4, drove in a run and walked.
Hemphill drove in 2 runs and stole a base.
Askegreen, the third Palomar pitcher of the day, advanced to 2-0 with 3 innings of 2-hit, shutout relief, striking out 3 and walking 0. Olthoff struck out the side in the ninth inning to record his second save.
On Friday, Feb. 1, the Comets won on the road over Cerritos at Kincaid Field in Norwalk, scoring 2 runs in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and 3 more ruyns in the eighth.
Moralez led Palomar with a 2-run single, a bases-loaded walk and and a squeeze bunt. I*anniciello, Folz and Trevor Omahen (Granite Hills High, University of San Diego) also drove in runs.
Hayes started the game for Palomar and pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing an unearned run on 4 hits. Reitmeyer, the second Comets pitcher, threw 2/3 of an inning of scoreless, hitless ball and Olthoff posted a save pitching 3 innings of shutout ball, striking out 5.
The Comets' game with Moorpark, originally scheduled for Saturday was rained out and will be played on Saturday, April 20, at Palomar at 1 p.m. The Fullerton game originally schedule this upcoming Thursday, Feb. 7, has been rescheduled as part of a double-header on Saturday at Fullerton with a with 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. starts.