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Bobcats claw Comets in region finals

Battlefield High School grabbed the momentum early with a two-run homer by John Williams in the first inning and went on to defeat Halifax County High School 8-2 here Friday night to win its first ever Northwest Region Baseball Tournament championship. Despite the loss, Halifax County High School will play in this week’s Group AAA State Tournament, which opens Tuesday. The Comets will travel to Richmond Tuesday to face Central Region Champion James River High School in a 3 p.m. game.

“They (Battlefield High School) got the momentum going early with the two-run homer in the first inning,” Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis said.

“My hat goes off to Battlefield. They are a very solid baseball team. Our guys didn’t give up and fought to the end. That’s what we wanted them to do.”

Battlefield High School Head Coach Jay Burkhart said the quick start was a key to his team’s win.

“We drill into our kids the importance of getting out and solidifying and keeping the tempo of the game controlled,” Burkhart said.

“Getting out front early kind of set the tone.”

Halifax County High School had seven hits in the game, but produced only two runs. The two runs came on a solo homer by Joe Martin with one out in the bottom of the second inning that made the score 2-1. Halifax County’s second run came on a one-out solo homer by William Worley in the bottom of the sixth inning that produced what would be the eventual 8-2 final score.

“I noticed early in the at-bats he (Battlefield High School relief pitcher Steve Ruszkowski) was throwing me outside fastballs, so I was looking for a first-pitch fastball,” Worley explained.

“When he threw it, I hit it pretty well.”

The pair of home runs were two of seven hits the Comets had in the game. Halifax County, though, wasn’t able to match Battlefield High School’s offensive output.

Battlefield High School (19-5 overall) laced Comets pitchers Ryan Puryear, Ford Bradshaw and Patrick Barton for a total of 13 hits that included three home runs.

Half of the Bobcats’ eight runs came via the long ball.

Chris Wendle had a solo shot in the top of the third inning that extended Battlefield’s lead to 3-1 and Zach Harris added a solo homer in the fifth inning that put the Bobcats up 7-1.

“Battlefield just out-hit us today,” Davis pointed out.

“That was all it was. There’s not much you can say about it.”

The Comets hit the ball well, too, but just not in the right places.

“There were times when we hit hard line drives right at someone that didn’t go through,” Davis said.

“But, that’s the game of baseball. You can’t expect to come out here every night and get those big hits and hit the ball like you want to.”

“We really wanted to win it, but Battlefield is a good team and they hit the ball well,” added Comets senior Tyler Long.

“We threw strikes and they hit the ball. We hit the ball too. We just didn’t hit it in the right spots. They hit it in the hole and we didn’t. We just hit it right at somebody every time.”

Dylan Hendricks led the Comets offensively with a solid 3-3 night at the plate. Zach Clem had two hits, and Worley and Martin had one hit each.

Battlefield High School was led by J.T. Brosnahan, who was 3-5 at the plate. Wendell was 3-4 with two RBIs and Williams was 2-4 with two RBIs.