- Last Updated on 09:59 PM 04/11/14
- BY Joe Chandler
Some people might call Andrew McCann the Halifax County High School baseball team’s lucky charm.
Twice McCann has been responsible for a game-winning play for the Comets. The first time came a few games ago when he was walked to force in a game-winning run. The second time came Friday night.
With the Comets deadlocked in a 3-3 tie with Magna Vista High School, McCann led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double down the left field line. He advanced to third base on a follow-up hit by Dustin Crews.
A wild pitch from the Magna Vista High School pitcher momentarily got away from the Warriors’ catcher, and McCann bolted to the plate. McCann slid on his stomach under leaping Magna Vista High School Brandon Crowder to score a run and give the Comets a 4-3 win.
McCann quickly discounted any assertion he is a lucky charm.
“Maybe I’m just in the right spot at the right time,” he said with a grin.
There is no argument about that.
Just as it took a split-second decision not to swing the bat when he received a walk to give the Comets a win earlier in the season, it took only a split-second for McCann to make the decision to bolt to the plate and attempt to score the winning run for his team Friday night.
“I was just reading the ball, so I went,” McCann explained.
“It bounced around the catcher, and he didn’t block it up as well as it could have been, so I took advantage of it.”
For Crews, the follow-up hit behind McCann in the final inning was his third hit of the night. It came after Crews had gotten down 0-2 in the count.
“I got down 0-2 in the count, and I worked him (the Magna Vista High School pitcher) a little bit and made my adjustments,” Crews explained.
“I already had my wide stance. I dropped my hands down and made sure I put the ball in play. I believe it was my most important at-bat.”
The win, the second in as many nights for the Comets, improved their record to 6-1 on the season. Halifax County High School shut out Martinsville High School 10-0 Thursday night in Martinsville.
“We’re very fortunate to come out with the win,” noted Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.
A large measure of that good fortune came from starting pitcher Colby Grissom and Crews, who set up the game-winning opportunity with the hit that moved McCann to third base in the last inning.
Grissom threw a solid six innings, fanning eight batters and allowing just two hits and four scattered walks while tossing 104 pitches. He held Magna Vista High School in check after the Warriors took advantage of a pair of Comets errors to score three unearned runs in the top of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead.
Chase Wilkerson went to the mound in relief of Grissom in the top of the seventh inning and needed only seven pitches to retire the Warriors in order and get the Comets to what turned out to be the team’s final trip to the plate.
“Colby was out there throwing his heart out,” Davis pointed out.
“He did everything we needed him to do. When we needed ground balls he got us the ground balls. We just sat back on our heels and didn’t make the plays. We’re very fortunate to have Colby on the mound and throwing like he was tonight to keep them (Magna Vista High School) in check.”
The Comets managed to answer Magna Vista’s three-run third inning outbreak with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to even the score at 3-3.
Ryan Powell led off the inning with a hit for the Comets, but was thrown out at second base on an attempted steal. McCann followed with a hit and moved to third base on a double by Crews.
With two out, Will Harris was struck by a pitch and went to first base to load the sacks. Tristan Howerton followed with a two-RBI double that moved Harris to third base. Harris scored moments later on a wild pitch to tie the game.
While the Comets had 12 hits in the contest, they weren’t able to come up with the hits in key situations with runners on base to break the game open and stranded nine runners in the process.
That, and the four errors committed by the Comets in the game, two in particular that resulted in the three runs for Magna Vista High School, left Davis concerned.
“I’m concerned about us making plays and our hitting,” the Comets coach noted.
“I look at the big picture of us not getting those runs in. The errors - I considered those routine plays.”
Crews’ three hits led the Comets’ offense. McCann, Tyler Stephens and Thomas Cole had two hits each. Powell, Lennon and Howerton each had one hit, with Howerton having a team-high two RBIs.
Magna Vista High School had two hits in the game, with Joseph Hughes, Bryar Turner getting one each.