The Westchester High School Comets will need to get some help from another team if they are going to achieve their season-long goal of a Western League baseball championship.
The Comets (16-9) were tied with Palisades High School at first place in the league with an 11-2 league record when the two teams met Tuesday, May 9th.
But Palisades came out on top and clinched at least a share of the league title with a narrow 3-2 win over the visiting Comets.
Westchester must now win its last league game at home against Hamilton High School at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 11th, and third-place University High must defeat Palisades if the Comets are going to have any chance at sharing the league crown this season.
After finishing in second place in the league behind Palisades last season, Westchester has been focused on capturing the league crown from the start of this season, Comets coach Ross Rosenfeld said.
“It’s what we’ve been pointing to since the beginning of the year,” Rosenfeld said. “The first thing we talked about was winning the league title.”
The Comets put themselves in position to challenge Palisades for the league title by earning a commanding 10-0 victory over the visiting Fairfax High School Lions in a five-inning game Friday, May 5th.
Fairfax (1-14, 0-13), the last-place team in the league, was in position to score in the first inning after the Lions loaded the bases on three walks, but tough pitching by Westchester starter Mario Gallardo prevented any Fairfax scoring.
Gallardo finished with ten strikeouts in five innings, including three strikeouts in the first inning to keep the Lions scoreless.
Westchester overpowered Fairfax on offense throughout the game by scoring in each of the first four innings before the game was called due to the ten-run lead.
The Comets jumped out to a fast start against Fairfax with five runs in the first inning.
After the first three Westchester batters loaded the bases, senior Flavio Ramos picked up a hard hit to send two of the runners home.
Another bases-loaded RBI (run batted in) by senior Ulises Pineda sent senior D’Arby Myers home for a 3-0 lead.
Westchester then added two more runs after Gallardo was hit by a pitch and an RBI by Josh Morton, but Fairfax halted any further scoring with a double play and a strikeout by starting pitcher Vincent Gamez to end the inning.
The Comets didn’t let up in the second inning and racked up three more runs, including RBIs by Myers and junior Darrell Hudson.
The Lions were on their way to scoring their first run in the third inning with the bases loaded, but Gallardo stranded the Fairfax runners yet again with a strikeout to end the inning.
After Fairfax switched pitchers to senior Edward Pineda at the bottom of the third inning, Westchester junior Brandon Williams hit an RBI double, sending Gallardo home for a 9-0 lead.
Once the Comets took a ten-run lead with an RBI by Gallardo in the fourth inning and Fairfax was unable to score in its next at-bat, the two teams decided to call the game.
The victory over Fairfax gave Westchester a 15-3 record in its last 18 games — an impressive turnaround since beginning the season with five losses in six games, Rosenfeld said.
“We started out 1-5 but it was against some tough competition,” he said. “We got through those (games) and since then we’ve been very competitive.”