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Comets edge Franklin County 5-4 in 12-inning marathon

Andrew McCann called his last trip to the plate "a good at-bat." That, however, was a little bit of an understatement.

It was, in fact, a great at-bat.

The Halifax County High School shortstop was down 0-2 in the count with one out and the bases loaded. The Comets and Franklin County High School were deadlocked at 4-4 in the bottom of the 12th inning, and the Comets were situated with the best scoring opportunity either team had mounted in six innings.

All Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis needed was for McCann to put the ball in play. But, with McCann down in the count, that possibility wasn't looking the best.

McCann left the next two pitches alone and got himself even in the count. He fouled off the next two pitches and then took another ball to load the count.

Suddenly he was facing the payoff pitch.

"Wherever it (the ball) was going to be thrown, I was going to try to poke it in," McCann said.

Instead, he let the ensuing pitch go. The ball missed the plate, McCann got a walk and forced in a run to give the Comets a 5-4 win over the Eagles in the marathon game that lasted three hours and 11 minutes.

"I thought it was a good at-bat," McCann remarked.

"I thought it was fun."

While it was the walk to McCann that pushed across the game-winning run, others helped create the pivotal inning.

After Thomas Cole went down on strikes, Kory Lennon came up with his third hit of the game. Colby Grissom, who had been on the mound in a relief role, reached base on an error that also resulted in Lennon advancing to third base. The Eagles intentionally walked leadoff batter and Comets starting pitcher Ryan Powell to load the bases. Then, it was McCann's turn at the plate.

Lennon, who got the final inning going for the Comets, got the best pitch he had seen all night to hit.

"It was the pitch I wanted," Lennon said.

"It was a straight fastball down the middle of the plate. I had to drive it and get on base."

The Comets had a big night offensively with 11 hits distributed among eight players. Lennon led the team with three hits and Tripp Bennett had two hits. Powell, McCann, Will Harris, Tyler Stephens and Dustin Crews all had a hit each.

Halifax County High School had a good defensive effort that included three successful pickoffs of Franklin County High School runners, and got a solid effort on the mound from all three of its pitchers.

Powell threw the first four innings, allowing three runs, four walks and two hits while recording two strikeouts. Bennett came in to throw the next six innings, allowing five scattered hits, one run and two walks. He fanned five batters. Grissom finished the game, tossing the last two innings, allowing no hits and two walks and striking out two batters.

"I'm very pleased with the pitching staff," Davis said.

"They're doing a wonderful job. I can't say enough about them. Ryan just couldn't find it tonight and we had guys that bailed us out. Tripp Bennett did a heck of a job. He threw six innings and I was concerned about his pitch count, so we went to Colby. Colby came in and did what he has done for us all season."

The Comets' coach said the game was a great one.

"Overall, it was just a heck of a ballgame," Davis pointed out.

"There was a lot that took place in that game. I'm very proud of our guys. They (Franklin County High School) have a heck of a ballclub and we have a heck of a ballclub. It's been like that. We were just fortunate to come out on top tonight."

Franklin County High School scored three of its four runs in the top of the third inning. The first came on a run-scoring single by Brandon Brewer. Back-to-back wild pitches from Powell accounted for the last two runs and a 3-0 lead.

The Comets scored in the bottom of the inning when Bennett came up with a hit with two out and scored when McCann, who also had had a hit, was caught up In a rundown.

Franklin County scored again in the top of the fifth inning on a run-scoring double by Chad Huston. The Comets added two runs in the bottom of the inning with a two-RBI double by Powell to get within a run at 4-3. An RBI-double by Stephens in the bottom of the sixth inning tied the game at 4-4, where the score stayed until the Comets could plate the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Franklin County High School had seven hits in the game, with Ryan Brewer and Brandon Brown leading the team with two hits each.

The Eagles left 10 runners stranded on the sacks in the contest. Halifax County High School stranded eight runners.