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Springs sports practice, tryouts under way

The sound of the ping of baseballs against aluminum bats and the sight of soccer balls flying around adjacent fields Monday meant one thing – spring sports practice has started. Monday marked the official start of spring sports practice and tryouts for Virginia’s high school sports teams. But, with schools here being closed Monday for the President’s Day holiday, only the baseball and soccer teams were on the field on opening day.

Halifax County High School’s junior varsity baseball team, the two softball teams, the two tennis teams and the two girls soccer teams were scheduled to hit the field yesterday afternoon to kick off spring workouts. Also scheduled to start workouts yesterday were the Comets boys and girls track teams.

Spring sports practice and tryouts officially also began yesterday for the Halifax County Middle School baseball, softball and track teams.

Twenty-six players were on hand at the Comets baseball field Monday to greet Halifax County High School Head Baseball Coach Kelvin Davis. Davis said he was pleased to see the turnout.

“I think this is a good number,” Davis said following the first workout.

“I’m very pleased. I’m glad we were able to go ahead and get started with tryouts.”

Davis, along with Comets Head Varsity Boys Soccer Coach Frank Shealy and Comets Junior Varsity Head Soccer Coach Mario Sadler had the good fortune to begin tryouts on a spring-like day that saw temperatures soar into the low-to-mid seventies.

“It was great just hearing the ping of the bats,” Davis said.

“We’re fortunate to have this good weather today. It feels good. It’s baseball season.”

Davis said he plans to make his final cut and form his roster at the end of the week.

“That’s the plan right now,” Davis said.

“We’re giving the kids an opportunity to try out for whatever position they wish to try out for. We understand that a kid may not be on his “A” game every day. We’re going to try to give these kids every possible chance to show us what they can do. We don’t want to make a mistake.”

The Comets varsity baseball team finished 15-3 overall and 6-2 in Western Valley District play last year during the regular season. Despite the good record, the Comets saw their season end early with a 6-5 loss to Patrick Henry High School here in the semifinals of the Western Valley District Tournament.

Davis said what he saw from the players during Monday’s opening session was encouraging.

“We got to see a lot of good things,” Davis pointed out.

“We also saw some things we need to work on. It’s good to get started.”

Like Davis, Shealy saw a good number of players come out to try to earn a spot on the two boys soccer teams.

Twenty players including four eighth-graders arrived Monday to try out for the Comets junior varsity boys soccer team. A total of 22 players were on the field for the varsity team’s opening workouts.

Shealy, who lost approximately eight seniors from last year’s varsity team that finished 4-10-1 overall and 1-7 in Western Valley District play during the regular season, had 12 seniors on the field Monday. There were six juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen joining them.

The Comets coach said he plans to make his final cuts and form his roster at the end of the week.

“I know a lot of these players because most of them are from last year’s junior varsity and varsity teams,” Shealy noted.

“I know what their skill levels are. There are few others out there as well and we will be looking closely at everyone.”

Shealy pointed out that he is looking to form a little different team than that of last year.

“The last year or two we were looking at speed,” he pointed out.

“This year, I’m going more for ball-handling ability. I think I can put 11 guys on the field that can handle the ball with some degree of confidence.”