- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
In the end, it all came down to taking advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves, and Lee-Davis High School did enough of that Tuesday in a VHSL state quarterfinal softball tournament game to end the Comets varsity softball team’s season with a 3-0 win. Halifax County finished one of its best-ever seasons with a 23-2 record, including the regular season and tournament championships in the Western Valley District and a runner-up finish in the Northwest Region Tournament.
Solid defense and a potent offense were key ingredients to the Comets’ march to the state tournament, but Halifax bats never adjusted to Lee-Davis hurler Kelly Heinz, a junior right-hander blessed with a blazing fastball and deceptive rise ball, Comets’ coach Melanie Saunders said after the game.
“We’ve heard about Lee-Davis the past two weeks, about their being a powerhouse in the state, and we’ve heard about this pitcher,” Saunders commented.
“She’s the real deal. Her fastball has a great amount of speed and she has a nice rise ball we couldn’t seem to lay off of.
“Hats off to them as a team, they were able to string some hits together and that’s what it takes at this level.”
Kate Bane finished with the Comets’ only hit of the game off Heinz, a two-out single in the second inning, with Jill Trickey and VeVe Brandon coming the closest to getting hits besides Bane.
Lee-Davis center fielder Charyssa Parent retreated several steps before catching Brandon’s fly ball in the first inning, and Trickey’s fly ball down the left field line in the third inning almost reached the fence before Lee-Davis’ Rachel Houff tracked it down.
Lee-Davis broke open a scoreless game with one run the fourth inning off a leadoff single by Heinz, a sacrifice bunt and two-out single by Meredith Holmes.
The Confederates added two more runs in the fifth off a hit batsman, another sacrifice bunt, singles by Parent and Casey Price and a wild pitch, the final run also coming with two outs.
“You get them with two outs and you need one more, and it’s a lot harder to manufacture runs with two outs than it is with less than two,” said Saunders.
“That’s what you expect when you get to the state level, you’re going to see teams like that.”
Heinz allowed one hit and struck out 12 batters, while Comets’ hurler Samantha Gibson allowed seven hits and struck out two, with neither pitcher walking a batter.
Her team did a good job of making adjustments at the plate as the game wore on, Lee-Davis coach Jackie Davis pointed out.
“A scouting report said they (Halifax) had really good arms in the outfield and played solid defense,” Davis said.
“It was everything we expected and it took a little while to adjust…the girls worked real hard at the plate and made the adjustments they needed to. We just worked really hard on staying focused in the box and to be selective at what we swing at.
“Again, Kelly threw real well in the circle and we played solid defense behind her.”
The Comets never were quite able to make adjustments at the plate, according to Saunders.
“We couldn’t quite catch up and when we did we were under it,” Saunders said.
“It’s hard to practice against this kind of competition, because we don’t see it all year. We try to do what we can in practice and try to make the adjustments.
“You just hope you get a lucky break, a hit here and there.
“It’s similar to what happened at Battlefield, Heinz was good at keeping us off balance, and we just couldn’t get any hits.
“We just needed to get a little bit of momentum, and we just couldn’t get it tonight.”