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Comets Upended By Jefferson Forest

As expected, there was an air of disappointment when Halifax County High School dropped its non-district game to Jefferson Forest High School here Tuesday night. But, there was no great knashing of teeth in the wake of the Comets’ first loss of the young season.

Comets head coach Kelvin Davis and his players took a business-like approach to situation – taking it as an opportunity to find out what the team needs to improve and prepare for the start of the Western Valley District campaign.

“Coming in, I knew it was going to be a good ballgame and that we were going to face a good quality ballclub with quality pitchers,” Davis said after the loss that put his team at 2-1 on the season.

“I thought it was a good experience for our players. We faced a good quality ballclub whose whole lineup was seniors. Every one of those pitchers we faced are Division I prospects. It’s early in the season and that (facing a tough test from a quality team) is one of the things we want. I’m always looking to play quality teams like that because this is what we need to get ready for the district.”

The Cavaliers’ pitching corp, led by senior starter Erik Heiligenstadt, fanned 10 of the 25 Comets batters they faced and held the Comets to three hits in the contest.

One of them was a solo homer by Scott Rickman in the bottom of the fourth inning that produced the only run of the game for the Comets. A single by Markee Brooks in the bottom of the third inning and a single by Tyler Long in the bottom of the sixth inning were the other two hits.

Jefferson Forest opened with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Bryan Sanderson was struck by a pitch from Long with two out, stole second base and scored on a single from Antonio Fazzio.

The Cavaliers went up 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Fazzio was struck by a pitch from Long, stole second base and scored on a two-out single by Buddy Stanley.

Rickman’s solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning made it a 2-1 contest but the Cavaliers scored five runs in the top of the fifth inning to make it a 7-1 score.

The Cavaliers’ big fifth inning started when Long struck Kevin Carlin with a pitch. Justin Wirt followed by reaching base on a Comets error. Cody Carr walked to load the bases. A walk to Hunter Gordon forced in the first run and Sanderson followed with a two-RBI single.

After Fazzio walked, Davis put Luke Griles on the mound. Mikey Wallman flied out to center field to plate a run and the Cavaliers added one more run before the Comets could get out of the inning.

A walk and a base hit in the top of the sixth inning gave Jefferson Forest its final run and allowed the Cavaliers to seal the win in its regular-season opener.
“When you’re playing a good team and you’re a decent team yourself, mistakes can come back to haunt you,” Davis pointed out.

“We walked a couple (of batters) here and there and had a passed ball here and there and then they came up with the big base hits.”

Long, the Comets’ starting pitcher, allowed four walks, struck two batters and yielded three hits while facing 22 batters.

Griles fanned two batters, allowed two hits and struck one batter. Nick Rouse, who came in to pitch the seventh inning, allowed one hit and one walk.

The Comets were back in action last night, facing Park View High School in South Hill.