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‘Potential’ Is Buzzword For Comets

As Halifax County High School head baseball coach Kelvin Davis talks about the 2010 version of the Comets baseball team one word regularly arises – potential. Davis, whose Comets team of last season won the Western Valley District championship and gave Davis his seventh appearance in the Northwest Region Tournament in 10 years, says this year’s team is a different team.

“We’re going to be real young experience-wise,” Davis said, noting that only four players on this year’s team, catcher Scott Rickman, pitcher and shortstop Dale Trent, pitcher and outfielder Tyler Long and pitcher Luke Griles played a significant number of games for the Comets last season.

“Those four were really the only ones that got a lot of playing time and a lot of experience under their belts last year,” Davis pointed out.

“But, I want to emphasize that we have the potential to be a really good ballclub this season.”

This season’s Comets team has a good mixture of players in terms of the number of seniors and the number of underclassmen. Nine of the Comets players on this season’s roster will be back again next year and four of those are sophomores. Six seniors dot the roster with three of them being among the four experienced players that Davis has mentioned.

Davis kept a slightly smaller number of players for this team, picking 15 out of the 20 players that emerged for pre-season practice and try-outs for the varsity roster.

“We felt that the 15 players we have are the best 15 to represent us,” Davis pointed out.

“I feel very confident with the 15 players we have. There is a lot of potential in those 15 players.”

Not only is the team roster slightly smaller than that of the past couple of seasons when it comes to numbers, this team is a physically smaller team when it comes to the size of the individual players.

That, Davis said, translates into a plan to play a style of baseball that is commonly known as “small ball.”

“Each year, you have to look at your team and figure out what will be the best game plan going through the season,” Davis explained.

“Our best game plan right now is to play a lot of small ball. We’re going to make sure these guys know how to bunt and know the techniques and schemes they need to run the bases correctly. We have spent a lot of time talking about and going over things like base running, bunt situations, hitting behind the runner and putting the ball in play. I think we have the potential to do that.”

Defensively, Davis sees this team as a good defensive unit.

“Defense is usually going to be the first thing that really starts clicking,” Davis said.

“After the scrimmage against Heritage I felt really good about the defense. We had some situations in the scrimmage in which Heritage put the ball in play and we made the plays. All you can do is hope the guys will continue to do that.”

As far as pitching goes, the Comets roster is dotted with seven pitchers including a small handful of lefthanded hurlers.

Davis said he feels good about all of them, but that like his starting line-up, his pitching rotation remains up in the air.

“We have some guys that have potential,” Davis pointed out.

“It’s still early. Coach Day (assistant coach Kenneth Day) has done a wonderful job working with them to get these guys mentally prepared for a long season. We have told all of the pitchers to be ready and how important it is to continue to improve on the location of their pitches. If they can master their off-speed pitches and hit their spots with the fastball we’re going to be fine.”

Davis is optimistic about another good season of Comets baseball with this team. He says this team has the potential to be a contender in the Western Valley District title chase.

“I think we are going to be competitive,” Davis said.

“I think we are have the potential to be among the leaders in the district again. It all boils down to what we do on game day, what we can do between the lines on a given day. We’re just going to approach everything looking at one game at a time.”

The Comets diamonders open their season Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. against J.F. Webb High School in Oxford, N.C. Halifax County High School will play its first home game here Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when it faces Park View High School of South Hill.

“We’re ready to play baseball,” Davis remarked.

“We’re ready for the season. These guys are ready to play someone else. I think they will be geared up to play come Tuesday night.”