- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Hope remains. Even though the Halifax County High School baseball team will need outside help to have a shot at winning the Western Valley District regular-season title, it kept its title hopes alive Friday with a 3-0 win over Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke. Comets hurler Tyler Long spun a two-hitter and first baseman Scott Rickman nailed a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to key the Comets’ win.
“This was a very big win for us and we were very fortunate to get the win,” said Comets coach Kelvin Davis.
“It’s always good to win at Patrick Henry. PH is a tough place to play. Our main focus is to try to win out the regular season. That’s all we can do right now. We want to take care of business here on Tuesday night and we’re hoping that PH can help us out by beating Franklin County.”
The Comets (14-3 overall, 5-2 district) face a struggling William Fleming High School team here Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the season’s final regular-season game. Halifax County defeated William Fleming 33-0 in five innings when the two teams faced each other in Roanoke earlier this season.
With a win in Tuesday’s Senior Night game a very likely probability, the Comets need Patrick Henry High School (7-10 overall, 5-2 district) to defeat Franklin County High School (14-4 overall, 6-1 district) Tuesday night to create a three-way tie for the district lead and force a playoff for the district title.
If Franklin County wins that game, it will win the Western Valley District title and earn the district’s top seed for the Northwest Region Tournament and a home game in the first round of the Northwest Region Tournament.
In that scenario, the Comets, with a win on Tuesday, will finish second in the district standings and will have a home game in the first round of the Western Valley District Tournament, with Patrick Henry High School as their opponent.
“The worst-case scenario would be that we finish second,” Davis pointed out.
“The big thing is we’ve got to stay focused about what we’re trying to do – that is to win out the regular-season. My main concern is that we score early. Hopefully we can take care of William Fleming. It’s going to be a big night for us. We’ve got Senior Night coming up. We have several seniors that have done a good job for us and it’s their night.”
Halifax County took care of its business Friday night in an efficient manner. Long, who fanned 11 batters in the contest, held PH at bay with a no-hitter through the first six innings. The Patriots’ Chad Osterhaus and Locher Grove broke up Long’s no-hitter with back-to-back hits with one out in the seventh inning, but the Patriots did not score.
“I can’t say enough about Tyler’s performance,” Davis said.
“That’s something that was really big for us.”
The Comets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when William Worley led off with a single and scored on a two-out single by Zach Clem.
Rickman gave the Comets a pair of insurance runs and a 3-0 lead with his two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning.
“Scott was struggling at the plate,” Davis noted of Rickman, who had gone down on strikes in his first two trips to the plate.
“Whitaker (PH pitcher Zach Whitaker) had him eating out of his hands with his slider. I think he threw Scott the slider all evening. Scott was able to get a hold to one in his last at-bat and that got the extra two runs for us. That was kind of our breather.”
The Comets had seven hits in the game with Worley leading the way with two hits. Clem, Rickman, Kelvin Davis Jr., Long and Markee Brooks each had one hit.
“I thought we hit the ball well,” Davis pointed out.
“We just couldn’t get it all together.”