CR baseball healthy and off to strong start

CAMDEN — One by one, their baseball seasons all came to a screeching halt last year.

Kyle Comegeys and Steven Platt both had the same basic injury — torn labrums in their throwing shoulders which required surgery.

“I never had arm problems before,” said Platt, a senior infielder at Caesar Rodney High. “Then, all of a sudden, I couldn’t even throw 90 feet. It was crazy.”

Teammate Tommy Pomatto’s injury was different. He had a stress fracture in his back.

But the result was the same as it was for Comegys and Platt. Pomatto’s junior baseball season was basically over before it began.

“You never realize how much you want to play a sport until you can’t,” he said.

A year later, though, all three seniors are back on the diamond for the Riders.

Getting back three veterans is a big boost for a CR program that hasn’t made the DIAA state tournament since 2014. And it’s fair to say that Platt, Comegys and Pomatto are all pretty motivated to get the Riders back on track before they graduate.

While CR’s early schedule hasn’t been overly demanding, the Riders take a 3-0 record into a 1 p.m. contest today at Hodgson.

“It was hard to watch,” Comegys said about being sidelined. “It was tough. Just watching everyone. … it’s not fun, sitting out.

“It makes you appreciate it more,” said the outfielder. “You have more drive to play. You respect the game a lot more.”

“It was really frustrating,” said Platt, an infielder/pitcher. “Coming to practice every day and just watching everybody and not being able to be a part of it, it was really hard.”

For second-year head coach Jeff Gravatt, getting back three seniors has been a godsend. Pomatto, Comegys and Platt were all on varsity as sophomores.

Without them last spring, the Riders posted their second-straight 7-11 season.

The silver lining is that CR used a lot of young players last season who now return as veterans. The Riders have 15 players back altogether.

“They’re all three great kids with a lot of leadership qualities,” Gravatt said about the three seniors. “It changes the whole dynamic. The other kids on the team look up to them. The chemistry’s been great.”

In three games, CR has already scored 54 runs. The Riders scored just 59 runs all season.

Gravatt admits he wondered how the seniors would all deal with returning from injuries. Complete recovery from labrum surgery, for instance, is supposed to take 16 months.

“That’s kind of been the question going into the season,” said Gravatt. “We know these guys were pretty good before they got hurt. But missing a year hurts anybody, whatever the situation may be.”

So far, however, Gravatt likes what he’s seen.

Pomatto looked pretty good when he pitched five no-hit innings in a 10-0 win over Milford on Monday. The righthander struck out 10 before having to leave the game because of the state-mandated pitch limits.

Pomatto is headed to Delaware on a partial baseball scholarship.

“I was thinking about it (a no-hitter) a little bit in the second and third inning,” said Pomatto, who threw 82 pitches. “By the fourth and fifth, I just got into the kind of zone where you just worry about throwing strikes and getting outs.

“You’ve always got to worry about reinjury and make sure you take things slow. But all the work that we put in this offseason — making sure we were healthy this season — has helped us come out as strong as we would have been last season.”

Platt opened the season with eight strikeouts in four shutout innings against First State Military while Comegys homered and drove in four runs in a 17-2 win over Laurel.

At the end of the day, though, it’s not about individual stats for the three seniors. More than anything, they just want to get the Riders winning again.

“It’s been a rough couple years,” said Pomatto. “But the team’s really motivated. Everyone’s coming out, giving 100 percent every day.”

“There’s a lot more passion this year,” Comegys said about the team overall. “It always seems like, we’re young, we’re young. But we have the talent and drive. I think everyone feels it and everyone sees it.”

“We’re ready this year,” said Platt. “It’s just a whole different culture. Before, it wasn’t taken as seriously as we wanted it to be. We’re really serious about this year.

“There’s definitely something on the table this year that we felt we left.”


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