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Comets In ‘Must-Win’ Situation

From here out, the Halifax County High School baseball team is in a “must-win” situation. The Comets (13-3 overall, 4-2 district) got past their first test in the “must-win” mode here Tuesday night with a 14-8 win over arch-rival GW in a near two-and-a-half hour slugfest that saw the two teams combine for a total of 26 hits and 22 runs.

Today, the Comets face another “must-win” situation when they travel to Roanoke to face district co-leader Patrick Henry High School in a game set for 5 p.m.

For the Comets, the situation is this – they need to win today, defeat William Fleming High School here Tuesday night and then need a win by Patrick Henry over Franklin County on Tuesday night in order to create a three-way tie for the regular-season championship and force a playoff among the three teams for the district title.

“This is a huge win for us,” Comets head coach Kelvin Davis said of Tuesday night’s win.

“It’s one game at a time for us right now. We’re trying to control what we can control. We have to keep our focus on trying to win out so that we hopefully can get some help and get back into the thick of things.”

The Comets swatted GW’s hurlers for 15 hits and exploited GW’s six errors, three passed balls and one wild pitch for a handful of unearned runs.

Tyler Long and Scott Rickman accounted for almost half of the Comets’ hits, with Long having a sterling 4-for-4 night at the plate that included a three-run homer in the fourth inning and a pair of doubles. Rickman had three hits and an RBI.

“Tyler had a huge day at the plate for us,” Davis pointed out.

“Scott Rickman also hit the ball really well. Hopefully we can keep those guys hot. They’re right in the middle of the lineup and we need them to keep driving in runs for us.”

The Comets jumped on top early with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, all coming with two out. Four hits, two walks and a pair of GW errors helped stake the Comets to the good start.

GW (13-7 overall, 2-5 district) sliced into the Comets’ lead with a run in the top of the third inning, but the Comets answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to make it a 5-1 score. A three-run rally by GW in the top of the fourth inning cut the Comets’ lead to a run.

Halifax County answered with a three-run homer by Long with two out to extend its lead back to 8-4. Long’s round-tripper thwarted a move by GW coach Wayne Shelton, who had his team intentionally walk Rickman to put runners on first base and second base and get to Long.

The homer was the third hit of the night for Long who broke a recent slump with his big night at the plate.

“I feel better about myself now that I’m hitting (again),” Long remarked.

“I saw the ball well tonight and capitalized on it.”

GW came right back to score three runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut the Comets’ lead to a run for the second time at 8-7. Halifax County came right back at the Eagles to score four unearned runs on four hits, two GW errors and two passed balls to go up 12-7.

A Comets error and a wild pitch opened the door for GW to score a run in the top of the sixth inning to slice the Comets’ lead to four runs. Halifax County added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap the 14-8 win.

Davis said he was a little surprised with the large number of runs and hits that the two teams generated in the game.

“I was a little surprised,” Davis admitted, “but in this GW-Halifax County thing, both teams get “up” for each other. GW hit the ball well. We threw two good lefthanders at them and they manufactured some runs and got some key base hits. They made it a good ballgame.”

Shelton said it was a case of both teams swinging hot bats.

“I thought both teams swung the bat real well,” Shelton said.

“They (Halifax County) are a good team, a quality team. Both teams got some crucial hits. A lot of time, with two out and two on, you almost always get an out. Tonight, it seemed like every time there were people on base and two outs both teams got hits. A couple of times we didn’t make the play and a couple of times they didn’t make the play.”