- Last Updated on 12:21 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Halifax County High School varsity girl’s softball Head Coach Melanie Saunders’ coaching philosophy has always been to play as tough a non-district schedule as she could to prepare her team for not only the district schedule but beyond.
In that respect, the Comets’ 7-0 loss to Cosby Friday went a long way toward exposing her team to the level of competition it will face at the regional level, but the Comets didn’t respond in the way she was hoping for.
Cosby (6-4 overall, 5-0 Dominion District), which took a quick 3-0 lead after one inning off three hits and two Comets’ errors, finished with 10 hits for the game, three for extra bases, and sophomore pitcher Chelsea Whitcomb went the distance, striking out six and holding the Comets to four hits, one each from VeVe Brandon, Kate Bane, Miyana Ross and Lindsey Wilkins.
“You have to come out in the first inning, first pitch, first batter ready, and you have to be ready not just physically but mentally,” Saunders said.
“Our kids, to me, were not ready mentally. They (Cosby) hit the ball hard, and this is what we’ll see in the region. What we’ve played to this point comes nowhere close to what we saw today.
“This is definitely going to be a learning experience for our girls, we have the capability but mentally we have got to learn to regroup.
“Cosby is a good team with the best pitcher-catcher combo we’ve seen, she wasn’t overpowering but she hit her spots, and she’s definitely a good pitcher.”
The Titans added a run in the third off a leadoff triple and RBI single, one in the sixth off another leadoff hit, sacrifice and RBI triple and two in the seventh off a base hit, RBI double and RBI single.
The Comets got a leadoff single from Brandon in the first, two-out hits by Ross in the third inning and Wilkins in the fourth, and another two-out hit by Bane in the seventh, but they could not string together hits in key situations to score runs, despite having multiple base runners in the first, fourth and seventh innings.
His team’s quick start was one of the keys to the game, according to Cosby Head Coach Ray Jeter.
“That’s one of our focuses whenever we’re on the road, get on them early and let them come get us,” said Jeter
“I think it makes you play different when you have to play from behind, if you get lucky and do that when you’re on the road at someone’s house, I think that’s tough to come back from.”
“She (Whitcomb) moved the ball well, hit her spots and had a complete game,” Jeter added. “I’ve been waiting for seven innings from her, and today she was able to give us a good game.
“They (Halifax) put the ball in play and our defense helps, and when you can get to fly balls and make plays that definitely does help.”
“I think they just had a bad day,” Jeter said of the Comets. “I was talking to the coach earlier, and it’s always harder when a pitcher comes in who’s faster, and back home the pitching we see is quality.”
Her team, although capable, just wasn’t ready to respond to the challenge on Friday, Saunders noted.
“Our kids mentally weren’t in this ball game, and it showed early defensively and throughout the game offensively.”
“You have to be ready mentally. I wish we could play every game with a team of this caliber, and I think it opened the kids’ eyes.”
Comets pitchers Sam Gibson and Wilkins shared time on the mound, with Gibson hurling the first two and one-third innings and Wilkins the final four and two-thirds innings, with the duo combining for four strikeouts.
“Their kids are good batters and hit the ball off the plate, but we made some errors,” noted Saunders.
“We’ve got to make plays behind them and come in offensively after a bad inning and regroup and pick it back up. That’s something we did not do.
“Everybody’s going to make errors, and everybody is going to strike out at the plate, but we need to regroup, refocus and be ready, and that’s something we did not do today.”