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Late Comets baseball rally overwhelms Cosby

Cosby High School was seen as a measuring stick as to just how good the Halifax County High School varsity baseball team is at this point in the season.

By the time Friday afternoon’s game here at Comets Field was done, the Comets had stacked up very well.

With a seven-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Comets turned back Cosby High School 11-5, handing the Titans only their second loss of the season.

“Anytime you play a caliber of ballclub like this you start to wonder how you stack up,” said Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.

“We can play with these guys. We’re a good ballclub, too. We want to play teams like that to give our players that atmosphere of playing teams from the Richmond area and Northern Virginia.”

The Titans entered the game with a 9-1 record, and ranked second in the Richmond Times-Dispatch prep baseball poll. James River High School, which beat the Comets in the state quarterfinals last season, was the only team ahead of Cosby High School in the poll.

For five and a half innings, the Titans gave the Comets (7-3 overall, 2-0 district) all they could handle. But when the Comets exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was all but over.

The Titans led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Comets’ Patrick Barton launched a solo homer off of Cosby relief pitcher Ryan Bickford to tie the game at 5-5.

Dylan Hendricks followed by beating out an infield hit. Pinch runner Tristan Howerton moved to second base on a sacrifice by Nick Anderson. A double by Will Harris scored Howerton to put the Comets up 6-5.

Ford Bradshaw, who moved from right field to the mound in the top of the sixth inning to relieve Comets starting pitcher Ryan Puryear, followed with a double that put both he and Howerton in scoring position.

The Titans then put Michael Carpenter on the mound, and the Comets’ William Worley nailed him for a two-RBI double to give the Comets an 8-5 lead. Worley moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored when Dylan Sons beat out an infield hit to put the Comets up 9-5.

Two more runs scored before the inning ended, giving the Comets a six-run cushion they held the rest of the way.

“We got some big key hits at the right time,” Davis pointed out.

“That’s what the game of baseball is about. We were fortunate to get them today.”

The Comets held Cosby’s two high-profile players, catcher Luke Lowery, who has committed to East Carolina University, and second baseman Bryan Miltenberger, who is on the radar of both Hampden-Sydney College and Randolph-Macon College, at bay.

Both entered the game batting over .600-through nine games, but Puryear and Bradshaw teamed up to hold Lowery to one hit and left Miltenberger hitless with a pair of strikeouts.

Puryear had a solid outing, striking out five batters and yielding five walks, six hits and five runs through his five innings of work.

“He gave us a good game,” Davis said of Puryear.

“He did a wonderful job of keeping the guys off balance.”

Puryear said his focus was simply to throw strikes.

“I know a lot of players on their team, and I’ve seen them play ball,” he pointed out.

“I wanted to get my curve ball over the plate. I knew if I could get that over my fastball would work.”

Bradshaw entered the game in the top of the sixth inning after the Titans had used a hit and an error to tie the game at 4-4 with none out. The Titans scored another run to take a 5-4 lead, but Bradshaw helped prevent the Titans from doing more damage.

“I like to come in to face a tough situation,” he pointed out.
“I don’t really feel pressure. I just go out there and throw. I was just trying to get outs. It doesn’t matter how you get them.”

The Comets had 12 hits in the game, with Bradshaw leading the team with three hits. Sons and Barton chipped in two hits each, with Harris, Worley, Rufus Jeffress, Hendricks and Anderson each getting one hit.

The Comets have today to get geared up for another big task – a Western Valley District contest here Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against archrival GW of Danville. A win in that game will keep the Comets at the top of the district standings.

“Every district game is very important because we don’t have many district games to play,” Davis pointed out.

“We want to try to take control and control our own destiny. Hopefully we can come out Tuesday and play good baseball.”