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Comets Softball Team Clip Person

Much like the earlier game between Halifax County and Person High, the visiting Rockets used Comets miscues to take the early lead Thursday at Comets Softball Field. And, just like the game before, a 5-2 Comets’ win, Halifax County rebounded, rallying for a 5-1 win that gave them an 11-0 record heading into tomorrow’s Western Valley District opener at home against Franklin County.

VeVe Brandon and Jill Trickey each had two of the Comets’ seven hits for the game, while Sydney Puryear had a double and Jessie Bagbey and Jameshia Smith base hits.

Puryear plated a run with her double, while Johanna Spencer hit an RBI sacrifice fly, and the Comets scored two runs off wild pitches and another on a hit batsman with the bases loaded.

Person (7-5) finished with two hits, a fifth-inning single by Jordan Rhew and a sixth-inning single by Sara Wrenn, with Wrenn thrown out attempting to steal second after Comets’ right fielder Jamilia Smith caught a foul ball off the bat of Tracey Vaughn.

A pair of Comets’ errors sandwiched between a wild pitch gave Person a 1-0 lead in its first at-bat, but the Comets used a leadoff walk to Stephanie Clark, single by Brandon, and a wild pitch to put runners at second and third with one out.

Clark scored on a wild pitch and Brandon on a sacrifice fly by Spencer to make it 2-1, and Halifax added two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth to complete the scoring after leaving the bases loaded the inning before.

Jameshia Smith led off with a single and stole second before Sydney Puryear doubled her home, with Puryear out trying to stretch her hit into a triple.

Trickey and Bagbey hit back-to-back singles, Clark walked and Brandon reached after being hit by a pitch to plate another run and make it 4-1.

Trickey singled to lead off the sixth inning and Brandon drew a walk, with Trickey scoring on a pair of wild pitches for the final margin.

Clark and Samantha Gibson pitched four and three innings, respectively for the Comets, with Clark striking out eight batters and Gibson striking out three, with neither pitcher issuing a walk.

Rhew struck out nine batters and walked four for the Rockets.

“We were still a little flat with the bats today and committed a couple of errors…those type of errors will be key and really hurt you come the district, but if they happen I would rather them happen here,” Comets coach Melanie Saunders said.

“I’m proud of the pitchers and catchers, and they did a good job on the mound and behind the plate.  We were able to move some players around on the field and it’s good you have a team you feel comfortable doing that with.”

Rockets’ coach Mike Shotwell noted the game reminded him of the teams’ earlier meeting, where the Rockets took an early lead only to see the Comets rally.

Wild pitches and passed balls hurt an otherwise solid effort by his team, he added.

“She’s (Saunders) got a good team, and there are no weaknesses.  They made a couple of errors to give us two runs there and one here in the first inning, but they’re still pretty solid,” said Shotwell.

“If not for passed balls and wild pitches that allowed Halifax to move base runners up, they’re still on first and second and we have a chance to get out of the inning, instead of them tagging up and scoring.

“But, it’s a good game for us, because we don’t see anybody in our conference that solid from bottom to top like they are.”

Being 11-0 is nice at this point, but what matters is what happens in the Western Valley District, Saunders emphasized.

“We still have room for improvement but the kids are really upbeat and working hard at practice,” she said.

“We know Franklin County is good so there are no secrets, and you have to go out and play your best ball at any given point.  “You have to work behind your pitchers and move people around on offense.

“We struggled early in the season with moving people into scoring position, but we’re at the right place now, and just want to keep moving forward.”

The double play turned by Jamilia Smith and shortstop Clark took Person out of a potential rally, and it was her call to send Puryear to third base in the fourth inning, according to Saunders.

“That throw to third had to be perfect and it was.  We coach aggressively and want our kids to be aggressive on the base paths and I would do it again in the same situation,” she noted.