- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
It’s going to take something of a miracle for the Halifax County High School baseball team to defend its Western Valley District title. Franklin County High School dealt the Comets a huge blow to their title hopes with a 3-0 shutout of the Comets in Rocky Mount.
Friday’s loss dropped the Comets to 12-3 overall and 3-2 in district play, taking them out of a three-way tie for the lead with Franklin County and Patrick Henry High School of Roanoke.
As a result, the Comets will now have to win its three remaining games, including two key games this week, one against archrival GW here Tuesday and a road game against Patrick Henry High School on Friday, in order to have any shot at a chance of defending its district championship.
Patrick Henry and Franklin County have one district loss each, but one of the two teams will step to the top of the standings when they face each other in an upcoming game.
Even with three wins, the Comets will need outside help to repeat their championship.
“We’re in a big hole now,” Comets head coach Kelvin Davis acknowledged after Friday’s loss.
“We’re definitely going to need some help getting out of it. Hopefully, PH can help us out a little bit. Even with that, we’ve got to control our own destiny the best we can by winning out. We’ve still got to take care of business and win out and hope we can get the help.”
Franklin County head coach Rusty Lang acknowledged that this game was a big one in the district title picture.
“I thought the first game of the season when we opened against Halifax was a huge game,” Lang said.
“As Coach Davis and I were talking about before the game, this game was much larger in the whole spectrum of things. I don’t say we’re in the driver’s seat, but I deemed this as a must-win game for us.”
Franklin County (13-4 overall, 5-1 district), kept the Comets on a short leash for most of Friday night’s game. The Eagles held the Comets to four hits, the fewest hits the Comets have had in any game this season, while handing the Comets their first shut-out loss of the season.
“That’s not going to win many ballgames,” Davis said of his team’s miserly four hits.
“We didn’t hit like we normally hit. We just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them.”
The Comets’ four hits came from Kelvin Davis Jr., Tyler Long, Dylan Sons and Luke Griles, but none of the came when the Comets most needed them.
Halifax County had only three base runners through the first five innings of the game but began to see a glimmer of hope in the sixth inning. Trailing 2-0, the Comets loaded the sacks with Davis starting the rally with a one-out single. Dale Trent was struck by a pitch, putting runners on first base and second base with one out.
The Comets’ hopes began to rise when steady hitter Scott Rickman came up to bat. But, Rickman went down on strikes for the second out of the inning. Franklin County elected to intentionally walk Long to take away Long’s home-run threat and got out of the inning unscathed when William Worley struck out.
A two-RBI single by Franklin County’s Ben Adkins in the bottom of the third inning, the third hit by the team in the inning, had staked the Eagles to 2-0 lead.
The Eagles added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Long, pitching in relief of Sons, walked the Eagles’ leadoff batter in the inning, Trey Heatwole, with Heatwole scoring on a Comets’ error to make the final 3-0 score.
Halifax County must now look to get back on track when it faces GW here Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
“Our work is cut out for us,” Davis said.
“GW gets up for us and we get up for GW. I know GW is going to be hungry. We’ve got to win it between the lines.”