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Comets softball team falls to William Campbell 4-3

Halifax County High School out hit William Campbell High School in Thursday's softball game at Halifax County High School.

But, the Comets couldn't always get the hits when they needed them the most.

The Comets rallied twice to tie the game, the second time closing a two-run gap, but fell to the Lady Generals 4-3 in a non-district contest.

"We can already tell that nothing's going to be easy this season," remarked Comets Head Coach Melanie Saunders after the loss that dropped the Comets' record to 2-2 on the season.

"We've got quality teams (to play). No team we've seen so far hasn't given us good competition. It's definitely going to prepare us for down the road. We've just got to work game-by-game and continue to get better."

Saunders took responsibility for the loss, pointing to a pitching change she made when she moved Sidney McLamb to the mound to start the top of the fifth inning to relieve starter Taylor Barnes. That was after Barnes had deadlocked the game with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.

McLamb walked William Campbell High School's Kendell Haga and Keri Hamlett, and Saunders  put Barnes back on the mound with the heart of the Lady Generals' lineup looming ahead. A sacrifice bunt by Jordan Hamlett moved the runners into scoring position. Haga and Keri Hamlett scored when Gina Lawhorn reached base on a Comets error to make the score 3-1.

"It's not Sidney's fault," Saunders pointed out.

"I'm going to take it. I thought they (William Campbell High School) were getting on Taylor a little bit. They were hitting her pretty solid. We thought we'd put some different speed and a different look out there. It just didn't work."

The Comets tied the game a second time with two runs in their half of the fifth inning, which started with a hit from Megan Watts. Megan Puckett reached base on a fielder's choice play that erased Megan Watts.

Barnes followed with a hit on a play that resulted in her reaching second base and Puckett advancing to third base. Ashley Watts followed with a two-RBI double to tie the game at 3-3.

William Campbell High School came up with what would be the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning when Lawhorn laced a single to left field to plate Keri Hamlett, who had reached base earlier in the inning on a walk.

The Comets didn't go down without a fight.

Megan Watts led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single. After Kirsten Doss popped up to second base for the first out, Puckett sent a blistering line drive to centerfield that William Campbell outfielder Kirsten Smith managed to catch.

Barnes walked to put two runners on the sacks for the Comets, bringing Ashley Watts to the plate. Watts sent a hard fly ball to deep left field that William Campbell High School outfielder Kaitlyn King snared for the final out of the game.

"We were right where we wanted to be in our lineup coming up in the seventh inning, but couldn't get that runner around," Saunders noted.

"Puckett's last hit was a BB out there to centerfield. Had the ball been two feet to either side, she would have been on base and probably would have scored."

The Comets missed potential scoring opportunities in both the third inning and fourth inning. Halifax County High School got Amber Moore on base with a walk and Kye-Neisha Logan reached base on a well-placed bunt down the third base side of the diamond. But, the Comets left both runners stranded on the bases.

In the fourth inning, after Barnes had led off with her solo homer, Cecillie Elliott reached base with a double with one out. Gabby Spainhour followed with a walk. But, both were left stranded on the bases.

"We've got to execute the bunts and move the base runners around," Saunders pointed out.

"We had some situations where we could have put a bunt down and moved some kids over but couldn't do it."

The Comets had nine hits in the game, with Megan Watts leading the team with three hits and Barnes following with two hits. Ashley Watts, Puckett, Elliott and Logan each had one hit.

William Campbell High School had six hits in the game, with Lawhorn leading the team with two hits. Keri Hamlett, Jasmine Goode, Smith and King each had one hit.