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Comets face Cosby High School today

It’s back to serious business today for the Halifax County High School varsity baseball team. The Comets (6-3 overall 2-0 district) face defending Dominion District Champion Cosby High School of Richmond (8-1overall) today at 1 p.m. at Comets Field in a non-district game that will serve as something of a measuring stick for both teams.

Halifax County High School enters today’s game coming off of a 2-1 win in eight innings in a scrimmage game against Garden City (N.Y.) High School here Wednesday night.

Today, the Comets will face a Titans team that features a pair of high-profile players, catcher Luke Lowery and second baseman Bryan Miltenberger.

Lowery, who has committed to East Carolina University, is batting .621 with three homers and 10 RBIs through the team’s first nine games. Miltenberger, who is high on the radar of both Randolph-Macon College and Hampden-Sydney College, is batting .630 with seven homers and 11 RBIs through the first nine games.

The Titans come into the game ranked second in the Richmond Times-Dispatch prep baseball poll, right behind James River High School, the team the Comets bowed to last season in the state Group AAA quarterfinals.

Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis is well aware of the Titans’ reputation as being a quality team.

“We know they have a good ballclub,” Davis said.

“We followed them a little bit last year. I understand Cosby is playing really good baseball right now. It should be a really good baseball game. We hope we can do the little things to get an opportunity to score some runs.”

Davis expects his team to be ready for today’s test.

“Our guys are up for it,” Davis remarked after Wednesday night’s scrimmage against Garden City (N.Y.) High School.

“We’ll go with Ryan Puryear (on the mound). Ryan always wants to go up there on the mound and fight the giants. We hope he can pitch well.”

It was only a scrimmage, but you would have never known it on the diamond.

For the second year in a row, Halifax County High School and Garden City (N.Y.) High School needed extra innings to determine a winner in their annual scrimmage, with the Comets coming out on top 2-1 thanks to a two-out walk-off single up the middle by Ford Bradshaw in the bottom of the eighth inning that plated teammate Will Harris for the game-winning run.

“Ford is just good all around,” Davis said.

“He pitches, plays the outfield, runs bases, hits for us and does a lot of things for us. We’re fortunate he came through with that hit.”

This was the second year in a row that the Comets and the Trojans needed extra innings to determine the winner in their scrimmage game. Last year Garden City beat the Comets 13-6 in a marathon 13-inning contest.

“It’s just something about the competitiveness of their team and the competitiveness of ours,” Davis said of the highly competitive scrimmages that the two teams have played the past couple of years.

“We just go at it.”

The scrimmage featured a great pitching battle between Comets senior hurler Dylan Sons and Garden City junior Kyle Ritchie. Sons struck out 13 of the 26 batters he faced in his 5.2 innings of work, while allowing only four walks, four hits and one run.

Ritchie had a stellar night as well, fanning five Comets batters and yielding four walks, four hits and a run in his seven innings on the mound.

Sons used his arm to get himself and his team out of trouble twice. In the fourth inning, with Garden City runners at first base and second base with one out, Sons came up with back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the inning.

In the fifth inning, with a runner on third base with no outs, Sons struck out three of the next four batters he faced to hold the Trojans at bay a second time.

“I thought Dylan pitched a great game,” Davis remarked.

“That (Sons’ ability to get out of trouble in back-to-back innings) was crucial, and that is what we’re going to need him to do down the stretch in these district games we have coming up. We want to know if he can bail himself out of trouble. Tonight he showed us he can really bear down when he needs to bear down.”

The Comets broke a scoreless deadlock with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dylan Henricks led off with a hit, and Bradshaw, running in place of Hendricks, went to second base when a balk was called on Ritchie. Bradshaw went to third base on a ground-out by Nick Anderson and scored on a wild pitch to put the Comets up 1-0.

After Garden City loaded the bases with two out in the top of the sixth inning, Davis brought Seth Elliott in to relieve Sons on the mound. Elliott and the Comets would have gotten out of the inning unscathed if the first batter Elliott faced had not reached base on an error that resulted in the Trojans scoring a game-tying run.

The game remained tied until Bradshaw, pinch-hitting for Elliott, nailed the game-winning hit for the Comets in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Halifax County High School had six hits in the game, with Will Harris leading the team with two hits. The Trojans had five hits in the scrimmage.