- Last Updated on 07:58 AM 04/21/14
- BY Doug Ford
Halifax County High School varsity baseball second baseman Will Harris had a good look at several pitches from Tunstall High School’s Chris Buckner with two outs and the bases loaded, and with the Comets trailing 2-0 in the fifth inning of Thursday’s Piedmont District game in South Boston.
Harris connected on a two-strike pitch, but his long fly ball to center field was not quite long enough, and the Comets fell 2-0 to the Trojans, their first loss in Piedmont District play.
“I just missed it,” lamented Harris, who quickly promised the Comets would rebound from the loss.
“Coach Davis always tells us to stick together, and we lose as a team, but we’ll pull it together.”
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Comets, who stranded 11 and left the bases loaded on two occasions, in the first and fifth innings.
Comets pitcher Colby Grissom and Buckner made pitches when they needed to make them to hold runs to a minimum.
Grissom hurled a strong seven innings allowing eight hits but finishing with seven strikeouts, and Buckner allowed six hits, two by Dustin Crews and one each by Tyler Stephens, Tripp Bennett and Josh Irby.
Thomas Cole just missed a home run by a couple of feet in the second inning, settling instead for a double.
Gavin Payne had three hits, Luke Kaesmeyer two hits, and Buckner, Chase Scarce and Bryant Cook one hit apiece for the Trojans, who took a 1-0 lead it their first at-bat when Brad Hylton reached second base on an error and later scored on an RBI hit by Payne.
Tunstall added its final run in the fifth inning on a hit batsman and two base hits.
Buckner has been Tunstall’s big game pitcher, hurling games against Halifax County, Franklin County and GW this season, according to Trojans’ Head Coach Barry Shelton.
“He just mixes his pitches well and has a good breaking ball,” said Shelton of Buckner.
“Halifax is a heck of a hitting team, and he did a good job of keeping them off stride with his breaking pitches.”
The game could have gone the other way had Cole’s or Harris’ fly balls carried a little further, Shelton added.
“I absolutely thought it was in the pines when he hit it,” Shelton said of Cole’s hit.
“Fortunately, he hit a ball we could get to,” Shelton said of Harris’ fly ball.
“If it’s on a line, it probably scores a couple of runs, maybe three.
“Baseball is just a game of you hope they hit it where you are. He had a good at bat, and we just happened to be at the right spot.”
Halifax made at least two stellar plays on defense, one a strike from right fielder Ryan Powell to catcher Tristan Howerton to nab Cook at home in the third inning, and another a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth inning, but they needed to do more on offense in support of Grissom, said Comets’ Head Coach Kelvin Davis.
“You had two great ball clubs. Both pitchers, my hat’s off to them, I thought they both did a heck of job on the mound,” said Davis.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win, plain and simple. “We had runners on, and I told my guys in this game of baseball, it’s a game of inches.
“You make a couple of plays and keep them off the base paths, and it’s a different ball game.
“Colby is making some pitches on the mound that are unbelievable, I just hope the kid continues to do it, he’s having a heck of a season for us.
“But, we have to get him some runs, and we haven’t been giving him runs.”
“The sparkling plays, you’re going to make those, but the routine plays, you have to make those to keep his pitch count down,” added Davis.
“They did what they needed to do win the game.”