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Comets baseball team rides long ball

It was the day of the long ball. With the help of four home runs including two from Tyler Long, Halifax County High School edged Osbourn High School 10-7 here Monday afternoon in an opening-round game of the Northwest Region Baseball Tournament.

The Comets will host the Cardinal District champion Osbourn Park High School Yellow Jackets (19-3 overall) today at 5 p.m. at Comets Field in the Northwest Region Tournament semifinal round.

A win by the Comets today will guarantee them a berth in next week’s Group AAA state tournament.

“We have one more hurdle to jump,” remarked Comets rightfielder Ryan Puryear.

“Our goal this year is to get to the state tournament.”

The Comets had 13 hits in Monday’s win over Osbourn High School with four of them being home runs.

Long carried the big stick for the Comets with a 3-4 effort at the plate that included two home runs and a double with three RBIs. His first homer was a two-run shot in the third inning that gave the Comets a 3-0 lead.

Late in the game, after the Eagles exploded for seven runs in the top of the sixth inning to cut a 9-0 Comets lead down to 9-7, Long helped seal the win with his second home run, a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the sixth inning that put the Comets up by the eventual final score of 10-7.

“I’ve been changing my batting stance around every game,” Long explained.

“I’ve finally found one I like. I’m seeing the ball better.”

The Comets also got a solo home run in the fourth inning from Aron Puryear and a leadoff solo home run in the fifth inning from William Worley to help the offense. Monday’s four homers were the most home runs for the Comets in any game this season.

“It (a big day for the long ball) was a long time coming and we’re just glad to see it coming,” remarked Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.

“I think Tyler was just in a groove today. Those guys (Long, Puryear and Worley) were just up for it. They got the bat head on the ball and did what they needed to do.”

While the Comets (16-4 overall) were enjoying a big day offensively in scoring in all but one inning and building a 9-0 lead after five innings, hurler Dylan Sons kept Osbourn High School at bay.

Sons allowed only two hits, scattered four walks and fanned six batters through the first five innings. In the sixth inning, with a number of Comets reserves in the game, he began laboring in the mid-90-degree temperatures and stifling humidity, giving up a walk, a double and hitting a batter to load the bases to start the inning.

The Eagles’ Chris West followed by clearing the bases with a grand slam homer to make the score 9-4. Ford Bradshaw was brought in to relieve Sons and he struggled too. Bradshaw walked three of the first four batters he faced and yielded three more runs before the Comets could get out of the inning with a 9-7 lead.

Long went to the mound for the Comets in the seventh inning with his team up 10-7 and closed out the game while having to face only four batters.

“We had an opportunity to put them (Osbourn High School) away and, unfortunately, Dylan got tired,” Davis explained.

“It was hot and he was tired and gave up the (grand slam) home run. Anybody would get tired in this weather. Still, I can’t say enough about his effort. I thought he threw a heck of a ballgame. He did what we wanted him to do.”