David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

KANSAS-Despite getting a solid pitching effort out of Zac Carnes, the Kansas Comets were unable to generate much offense in Thursday evening’s Summer League play at Dee Neel Field. Conversely, the visiting Westville Yellow Jackets got just enough offense, some pretty good defense and a tandem of outstanding pitching performances to squeak past the home team.

The visitors got on the scoreboard in their first at bats, when Matt Holbird reached base with a single, advanced to second, then third and scored on a passed ball by the Kansas catcher.

Carnes led off the top of the first with a walk, but was gunned down by the Westville catcher, when he attempted to swipe second. Johnny Lewis followed that with his first of a pair of hits in the game, only to be left on base to end the first.

Carnes shut down the Jacket bats in the top of the second with a pair of strikeouts and a weak dribbler to his third sacker.

In the home half of the inning, Brett Odle reached base and advanced 90 feet on an error. And it looked as if the Comets were going to take the lead when Dakota Watkins jacked a long shot into left field. But the incoming wind held the ball up long enough for the outfielder to track it down.

After getting a leadoff single to start the third, Westville was unable to push the runner any further as Carnes downed the next three batters in order. The bottom third of the Comet order went three up and three down to stay down 1-0 after three innings.

The bulk of the game’s offense finally occurred in the subsequent fourth frame. In the top of the inning, the Jackets’ Chandler Smith reached base on a two out single. Smith came into score when Kansas misplayed Jackie White’s batted ball.

White made it 3-0 when he scored on a Dallas McCollum single before Carnes could put down the rally. In the bottom of the fourth, Carnes led off again with a single and this time he successfully stole second base. He then moved to third on Lewis’s second hit and scored on Jared Lamont’s RBI single. Lewis crossed the plate on a heads up running play, while Lamont advanced to third with the potential tying run. But following a walk to Cody Bright, the Westville pitcher got out of the inning with a one-run lead. Neither offense could add to their numbers in the final inning, as the Yellow Jackets hung on for the 3-2 victory.

In the 15 and under game that followed, both teams used a pitch by committee approach. And for the most part, that rotation favored the Comets. After touching the first two Westville hurlers for twp and three runs, respectively, the JV Comets rolled to an 8-4 win in the nightcap.