- Last Updated on 10:16 PM 03/27/14
- BY Joe Chandler
After having watched Park View High School hurler Odicci Alexander strike out five of the first six batters she faced, Halifax County High School catcher Ashley Watts knew she had to make some adjustments at the plate.
Heeding the advice of Comets Head Coach Melanie Saunders, Watts choked up on the bat a little more than usual when she made her first trip to the plate in the bottom of the third inning. The result was good, a solid single to centerfield.
When Watts returned to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with one out and teammate Kye-Neisha Logan on second base after hitting a double to the outfield, she made another slight adjustment.
That result was even better, as Watts sent the ball over the outfield fence for a two-run homer that gave the Comets a 2-0 lead. From there, the Comets hung on to preserve the shutout and down the Lady Dragons 2-0 in their season opener Thursday afternoon at Halifax County High School.
"We've been working a lot on choking up (on the bat) and meeting the ball with fast pitchers," Watts explained.
"I did what my coaches said and used what I've been learning."
Watts finished the game with two of the three hits the Comets had in the contest, with Logan getting the other.
When Watts nailed an inside pitch for the home run in the fifth inning, she did not immediately know what she had done.
"As soon as everybody started screaming, that's when I knew I could slow down and knew it was over (the fence)," Watts said.
Saunders said Watts' making the necessary adjustments at the plate was a good example for all of her teammates, especially the younger players.
"Ashley said she moved up both times and she drove the ball both times she batted," Saunders pointed out.
"These kids have to learn you can't swing the same way against every pitcher and every pitch. You have to make the adjustments and meet the ball."
The game was close throughout and featured a matchup between Comets sophomore hurler Taylor Barnes and Alexander. Barnes fanned nine batters and yielded six hits and one walk. Alexander struck out 11 Comets batters and allowed one walk and three hits. At the plate, she accounted for three of Park View High School's six hits in the game.
Park View had some potential scoring opportunities, but the furthest a Park View High School runner got in the game was to third base. That happened only once, that instance coming in the top of the first inning when Alexander had a base hit and made her way to third base on a Comets error.
"They (Park View High School) had some scoring opportunities that our defense and Taylor prevented them from scoring," Saunders pointed out.
"We were able to make plays when we needed to in order to prevent runs from scoring."
While it wasn't a perfect performance, Saunders said she and her coaching staff and players are glad to have the win in the team's season-opener under their belts.
"For our first real game, we'll take it," Saunders remarked.
"We came out with a win against a good pitcher and a good team. As a whole, we'll take the win. We're happy about that. But, we use every game as a learning experience, and we see some things that we've really got to make some adjustments on if we're going to go on further in this district and in our conference and in our season.
"We've got to learn how to make the adjustments at the plate and we'll be fine there," Saunders continued.
"We had some miscues, some fielding things, some simple things like turning the glove the wrong way and the possibility of the ball popping out, things that you don't think of until they happen. We just can't take anything for granted. We need to get into the habit of doing things the right way every time."