- Last Updated on 11:33 PM 03/28/14
- BY Joe Chandler
Thomas Cole had a huge smile on his face following the Halifax County High School baseball team's post-game huddle - as he should have.
The junior left-hander threw a one-hitter in his six innings of work as the Comets shut out Patrick County High School 7-0 Friday night at Halifax County High School in the Comets' Piedmont District opener.
It was an effort Cole called the best of his high school career.
"I just wanted to get it (the ball) by them and set them down," Cole said.
"I wanted to get the ball over the plate and let my defense work. I just want to thank my defense for all of their hard work and thank my coaches for calling the right pitches."
Cole fanned seven Patrick County High School batters and yielded three walks and one hit during his stint on the mound.
"The kid threw a heck of a ballgame," remarked Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.
"I really wanted to see if he could do it for us with a start. You can see he has been working in the offseason hitting his spots. He's now keeping everything low, especially his fastball. A big guy like that, if he can keep the ball down low he can be successful."
Davis said Cole showed a lot of movement on his pitches.
"His pitches move so much," Davis pointed out.
"His fastball is all over the place. Once he can get command of his off-speed pitches he is going to be a heck of a pitcher."
Chase Wilkerson went to the mound for the Comets in the seventh inning to close out the game and did it in fine fashion, fanning all three of the Patrick County High School batters he faced.
Along with the solid effort on the mound from Cole and Wilkerson, the Comets had a good effort on the offensive end, taking advantage of three Patrick County High School errors, two in the first inning and another in the third inning, to jump out to a 3-0 lead with unearned runs.
With the three-run edge, the Comets scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to produce the final 7-0 count. Tristan Howerton opened the inning with a double and Dustin Crews walked. Both advanced on a passed ball and pinch runner Josh Irby scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield from Cole to put the Comets up 4-0.
Crews advanced to third base on a passed ball with Kory Lennon at the plate and Lennon walked to put runners on the corners. Tripp Bennett then laced a double off of Patrick County High School relief pitcher Cole Helms to score Crews and Lennon to make it a 6-0 game. Andrew McCann later produced a run-scoring hit to complete the four-run rally and the scoring in the game.
The early errors on the part of Patrick County High School helped the Comets get off to a good start.
"We took advantage of it," Davis noted.
"They're a good ballclub, and unfortunately for them, they made a couple of errors and we were able to take advantage of it. They gave us an opportunity."
The Comets produced eight hits in the game with Howerton and Bennett leading the way with two hits each. Ryan Powell, McCann, Crews and Lennon each had one hit.
Patrick County High School's Braden Nester had his team's only hit, a single in the second inning.
"It was a good overall ballgame for us," Davis said.
"My hat goes off to the guys. There is always room for improvement, but for this early in the season it was a good effort. We knew Patrick County High School was going to send a good ballclub down here. The score was 7-0, but the game was much closer than that."