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PH Snaps Comets’ Win Streak

One streak has ended and the Halifax County High School baseball team hopes to start a new one tonight. The Comets face William Fleming High School tonight in Roanoke in a Western Valley District contest, looking to start another win streak. On Saturday, the Comets will travel to South Granville (N.C.) High School to make up a previously scheduled non-district game that was rained out.

Halifax County High School’s win streak was snapped at eight games in a row here Tuesday night in a stunning 8-6 loss to Patrick Henry High School.

This was the second time in a row that Patrick Henry has beaten the Comets diamonders here, the previous time coming in last year’s Western Valley District Tournament semi-final game.

With the loss, the Comets (10-2 overall, 2-1 district) now find themselves in a dogfight for the regular-season district title. Patrick Henry (6-8 overall, 3-0 district) now holds the lead in the district title chase with the Comets and Franklin County tied for second place one game back and GW down by two games.

The regular-season champion earns the district’s number one seed and a home game in the first round of the Northwest Region Tournament.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us now,” Comets head coach Kelvin Davis said.

“It’s going to be a real dogfight, like we knew it was going to be. Franklin County is still in there and everybody has their radar on PH now. Every game from here out is important.”

Patrick Henry derailed the Comets with two big swings of the bat. A grand-slam homer by Aaron Burton in the top of the third inning and a three-run homer by Brad Sowers in the top of the fifth inning accounted for seven of Patrick Henry High School’s eight runs. Sowers had three of Patrick Henry’s eight hits in the contest.

The Comets got off to a good start with a two-run homer by Scott Rickman in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. The Patriots answered with Burton tagging Comets hurler Ryan Puryear for a grand-slam homer in the top of the third inning, a shot that gave PH a 4-2 lead.

Halifax County regained the lead at 5-4 with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to run-scoring hits from William Worley and Zach Clem.

The Comets’ lead didn’t hold up long, however, as Sowers sent a pitch from relief hurler Luke Griles over the fence for a three-run homer that produced a 7-5 lead for the visitors.

A run in the bottom of the fifth inning brought the Comets to within a run at 7-6. The Comets had an opportunity to do more damage in that inning but stranded two runners on the sacks.

Patrick Henry took advantage of a walk and a hit to add its final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. The Comets were unable to get anything going in their final two trips to the plate and were set down in order in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Davis said his team’s inability to get key hits in crucial situations down the stretch was part of its downfall.

“We hit the ball well,” Davis explained.

“We just did not get the key hits at the right time.”

The other concern, Davis pointed out, was allowing PH to get runners on base prior to Sowers and Burton, the Patriots’ top two hitters, getting to the plate.
“We had some walks here and there,” Davis pointed out.

“You get guys on base like that and you get the next guy jacked up to do something big. We cannot afford to put runners on, especially against a team like PH. Two swings (of the bat) got them seven runs. That was huge for them. But, that’s how you win ballgames.”

The Comets had seven hits in the game with Kelvin Davis Jr. leading the attack with a 3-for-4 night at the plate. Rickman had two hits and Clem and Dale Trent had one hit each.