- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
The game itself may have been a bit anticlimactic after big wins at Franklin County and Patrick Henry, but a 17-1 win over William Fleming Wednesday on Senior Day gave the Halifax County High School varsity softball team its first outright Western Valley District championship since 2001.
With the win, Halifax County (7-1 WVD, 19-1) locked up home field advantage for the district tournament next week and will host a first-round game in the Northwest Regional Tournament the week after.
The Comets finished with 20 hits for the game, with Jamilia Smith (RBI) going 4-4, and with VeVe Brandon (RBI) going 2-2. Sam Gibson (double), Megan Day and Jessie Bagbey (RBI) each had two hits, as did Stephanie Clark and Johanna Spencer, Clark with a triple and Spencer with an RBI double.
Sydney Puryear smacked a three-run triple, and Jameshia Smith, Brittany Long and Caitlin Lawhorn each added base hits for the Comets.
Bagbey, normally an infielder for the Comets, went to the mound and finished with a two-hitter, the only Fleming run coming on a base hit and two Halifax miscues in the top of the first inning.
Other than that, it was all Halifax, which scored eight runs on eight hits and two walks in the first inning and one run on four hits in the second. The Comets added five runs on four hits and five walks in the third and three runs on four hits and a walk in the fourth inning to help end the game.
Bagbey, who along with fellow seniors Clark, Day and Spencer were honored prior to the game, fanned 11 batters and walked only one in five innings.
“Every year it seems it comes down to a playoff game, so this feels good,” said Comets coach Melanie Saunders.
“We can come into next week a little more relaxed, but I don’t want us to get too relaxed where we’re not focused.
“We still want to play hard and win those games, even though we have that game in the region at home.
“I love it for our seniors and the fans who can come here and see us play.”
Instead of preparing for a playoff game for the regular season title, the Comets can instead prepare to host a district tournament semifinal game.
“It’s a different feeling, because usually we’re getting ready to go into this weekend and prepare for a playoff game against Franklin, so it feels good,” noted Saunders.
Team chemistry has been a key to the Comets’ 19-1 record thus far, according to Saunders.
“You can tell it’s really made a difference, and when somebody has a bad at-bat or an error in the field, everybody else picks them up and makes a good play behind them or gets a good hit,” she explained.
“They don’t let each other get down, so that’s been a key.”
The seniors have provided solid leadership all season, Saunders continued.
“They’re all great kids and it’s really big to have four seniors like that who know what you expect as coaches.
“The team rallies behind that and it’s great to have them out there.”