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Franklin County tops Comets 5-1 in PD semifinal

STUART The third time was not a charm for the Halifax County High School softball team.

After having beaten Franklin County High School twice during the regular season, the Comets were unable to do it a third time, losing to the Eagles 5-1 Tuesday night in a Piedmont District Tournament semi-final game at Patrick County High School.

Tuesday night's loss eliminated the Comets in district tournament play. However, the season does not end, as the Comets will start 5A North Region Conference 16 Tournament play on Friday, possibly on their home diamond.

It was not the usual solid performance that the Comets staged in Tuesday night's loss to Franklin County High School.

The Comets had only five hits, one each from Kirsten Doss, Megan Puckett, Taylor Barnes,  Ashley Watts and Gabby Spainhour. They stranded 10 runners on the bases and committed four errors on defense.

"Franklin County outplayed us tonight," said Comets Head Coach Melanie Saunders.

"We stranded 10 runners, and you can't do that at this level at tournament time and expect to win. The teams you face now are all good and they're all fighting to the end. We can't leave people on base and expect to score."

Franklin County High School had five hits in the game, the first being a solo homer by Madison David in the top of the second inning that gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead that they never lost. A 2-RBI double by David in the top of the fourth inning that followed hits by Logan Barbour and Mackenzie Chitwood gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead. A solo homer by Sara Brown in the top of the fifth gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead.

The Comets scratched up a run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Megan Watts reached base on a Franklin County High School error and scored on a single from Doss to make it a 4-1 contest.

A pair of defensive miscues by the Comets that included an error opened the door for Franklin County High School to score its final run in the top of the sixth inning.

The Comets had opportunities, but were unable to convert.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Comets got hits from Ashley Watts and Spainhour to start the inning, but Cecilie Elliott hit into a double play and Kye-Neisha Logan hit a line drive to shortstop for the final out, ending that opportunity.

Halifax County stranded two more runners in the bottom of the sixth inning and left two more on the sacks in the bottom of the seventh inning after Barnes bounced a hard hit ball off of the top of the centerfield fence for a double and Ashley Watts walked, both with two out.

While the Comets were largely unable to finish off scoring opportunities, Franklin County High School took advantage of its opportunities. That, said Franklin County High School Head Coach Bryan Forbes, was a key to his team's success.

The Eagles had five hits in the game, two of them home runs and another a 2-RBI hit.

"We made the most of the opportunities that were given to us tonight," said Forbes.

"We got a lead and our pitcher (Hali Saul) was able to maintain it with our defense. We didn't make many mistakes, if any, in the field. We just made the most of what we could get."

David led Franklin County High school with two hits. Brown, Barbour and Chitwood had one hit each.

Taylor wasn't a hundred percent, but she still pitched well. This was the best I've seen Franklin County hit in a couple of years. Saul did a good job pitching and the kids stepped up and got the hits,got two home runs.