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Comets squeeze Orange in semifinals

Halifax County High School catcher Ashley Watts and her teammates knew they were a better team than the one that lost 5-1 to Franklin County High School in the second round of the Piedmont District Tournament.

In the semifinals of the 5A North Region Conference 16 Tournament on Friday, they were far better, getting 15 hits and beating Orange County High School 12-0 in five innings at Halifax County High School.

The Comets travel to Patrick Henry High School-Ashland for the Conference 16 championship game beginning at 2 p.m. Memorial Day.

Watts, who smacked a pair of RBI doubles and an RBI single in the game, knew her team was capable of playing better.

“It’s either do-or-die now, so everybody really woke up realizing we can’t take anything easy anymore,” said Watts.

“We worked a lot on hitting this week, and it paid off, everybody was confident and knew we had to do.”

Watts’ first RBI double came in a two-run first
inning, where Kirsten Doss hit a leadoff single and Gabby Spainhour added a base hit.

A nine-run second inning broke the game open, with Megan Watts hitting an RBI double and single, Megan Puckett an RBI single and base hit, Taylor Barnes an RBI double and RBI hit, Kye-Neisha Logan an RBI double, and Cecilie Elliott a double.

Hannah Saunders reached base an Orange County error for an RBI, and the Comets owned an 11-0 lead after two innings.

Halifax added its final run in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Amber Moore, Lauren Spencer and Puckett, and an RBI double by Ashley Watts.

Twelve runs proved more than enough for Comets starting pitcher Barnes, who hurled all five innings, allowing only two hits while striking out five batters.

“This is the best we’ve hit all year,” said Comets Coach Melanie Saunders.

“We got beat at Franklin County, plain and simple, they hit better, played defense better.

“We had to regroup, and we did today, and it felt so good for us to jump out in that first inning and get on top.

“Taylor did a great job for us, and it’s always a blessing to get all the kids in and get playing time.”

Saunders knows Patrick Henry, one of the top teams in the Richmond area, will be a tough test.

“We’re going to go up there and play our best, and that’s all we’re going to do,” said Saunders.

“We may only go two more games, but we’re here, and a lot of people didn’t think this team was capable of doing that.”

Senior outfielder Megan Puckett does not want her season to end.

“It took us all season, but we started to relax at the plate, and if we got a strike, we hit it,” she said. 

“We can’t try to overdo it.  We have to do the little things, and we’ll be all right.”