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HCHS softball, baseball teams open Conference 16 tourney play Friday

Today is an opportunity for a fresh start, the start of a “second season,” for the Halifax County High School softball and baseball teams.

Both the Comets softball and baseball teams begin play in the 5A North Region Conference 16 tournament today at Halifax County High School, with a berth in the 5A North Region Tournament and a berth in Monday’s Conference 16 Tournament title game on the line.

The Comets baseball team is the top seed in its tournament and will face fourth-seeded Orange County High School at 6 p.m. Halifax County High School’s softball team is seeded second in its tournament and will host third-seeded Orange County High School.

Both games will start at 6 p.m. and both will be played at Halifax County High School.

Both the Comets softball and baseball teams are in a similar situation. They enter today’s Conference 16 Tournament semi-finals coming off of a loss in the Piedmont District Tournament.

Bassett High School toppled the Comets baseball team with a 5-1 win in Monday’s opening round district tournament game. The Comets softball team crushed GW in Monday’s opening round game, but lost to Franklin County High School 5-1 in Tuesday’s Piedmont District Tournament semi-finals.

Halifax County High School stranded 10 runners on the sacks in Tuesday’s softball semi-final game and committed four defensive errors.

In Monday’s baseball game, the Comets played the Bengals to a 1-1 deadlock into the eighth inning only to see the Bengals erupt for four runs in the top of the eighth inning to get the win.

So, for both teams, success today could well rest on how the players mentally recover from their early-week losses.

“It just depends upon how mentally strong they are,” Comets Head Softball Coach Melanie Saunders replied when asked how well she felt her team would recover in the wake of Tuesday’s loss.

“Hopefully this loss will open our eyes up. Now we’ll get to see how bad these kids want it. I hope they take it to heart and makes them want it (a win in today’s tournament game) even more.”

There are times, Saunders pointed out, when teams learn more in the wake of a loss than they do in a win.

“We’re hoping that happens,” Saunders said.

“We hope they learned what they need to do. We’re hoping it (Tuesday’s loss) is going to make them focus a little more and realize that the little things do matter at this point. Hopefully this will be a loss we can learn from and bounce back in a positive manner.”

One of the good things for the Comets softball team is that it will be able to play at home today. The Comets have played four of their last five games on the road.

“It’s been a long two weeks,” noted Saunders.

“The loss was bad, but we’ll be at home and we can regroup and get a little bit of rest and get refocused and get ready to go.”

Comets Head Baseball Coach Kelvin Davis said early in the week he did not feel his team would have any problems in getting over its loss to Bassett High School in the first round of the district tournament.

“We’ll definitely get over this mentally,” Davis said.

“These guys have been around the game of baseball for a long time. They know one day can be totally different from another. I think with the leadership we’ve got with these guys we’ll be geared up.

“They know how important the conference tournament is,” Davis continued. 

“We wanted to win and keep momentum going, but unfortunately, we didn’t. We’ve just got to get geared up for the conference tournament. That’s what really counts right now.”