- Last Updated on 10:47 PM 06/02/14
- BY Joe Chandler
"It was probably the best hitting and pitching joint operation we've had all year."
With those words, Halifax County High School senior second baseman Will Harris gave an accurate account of his team's performance in Monday night's 5A North Region Tournament quarterfinal game at Halifax County High School.
Harris kicked off the Comets' scoring with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and Colby Grissom tossed a one-hitter as the Comets shut out Thomas Edison High School of Alexandria 8-0 to advance to Wednesday's semi-final round.
Halifax County High School will host Freedom High School of South Riding Wednesday night at 6 p.m., needing a win in that game to earn a berth in the Division 5 state tournament and a berth in Friday's regional championship game.
The Comets landed the home game as a result of Freedom High School edging top-seeded Potomac High School 2-1 in one of Monday night's quarterfinal round games. Had Potomac High School won that game, the Comets would have had to travel to Potomac High School Wednesday.
While Comets players, coaches and fans celebrated the news about the Comets hosting Wednesday's regional semi-final game, it was the team's win that came first.
Clicking on all of its offensive cylinders, Halifax County High School put together one of its most consistent offensive performances of the season, scoring in all but one inning.
The Comets had 10 hits, with Ethan Woltz leading the team with three hits. Tristan Howerton had two doubles, and Dustin Crews and Tripp Bennett chipped in two hits each. Harris had one hit, the two-RBI homer in the first inning that put the Comets on top.
Grissom had an outstanding day on the mound, striking out nine batters and yielding five scattered walks and one hit in his six innings of work. Chase Wilkerson went to the mound in the seventh inning and struck out two of the three batters he faced to wrap up the win.
"With the magnitude of this game, we definitely needed a performance like this," said Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.
"It was a good all-around ballgame. I don't know about as far as comparing it to the whole season, but I thought we played very well. Our base running was good, and we got clutch hitting, something that we weren't getting, we got it tonight. When that happens, you're going to see a team over here that's going to be pretty tough when we can click on all cylinders like we did."
It was Harris that set the stage, giving the Comets the lead with his homer that plated teammate Ryan Powell, who led off the Comets' half of the inning with a walk.
"I really don't see how I hit it," Harris said of his second home run of the season.
"It was just a pitch I liked and I went down there and got it. When it came off of the bat I thought it was just going to be a pop-up, and as I was running around first (base) I saw the ball kept carrying. I liked the outcome."
The Comets scored three more runs in the bottom of the third inning, starting when Harris walked to start the inning and scored on a double from Howerton. Crews followed with a double to score Howerton to make it a 4-0 lead. Crews scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to right field from Tyler Stephens to make the score 5-0.
An infield single by Crews in the bottom of the fourth inning scored Harris, who reached base with a walk, to make it a 6-0 Comets lead. Halifax County High School scored again in the bottom of the fifth inning when Woltz smacked a double with one out and scored later on a sacrifice fly to right field by Powell.
The Comets scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when Howerton came up with a double with one out and pinch runner Adrian Moran scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to make the final 8-0 count.
The Comets and Grissom had one troublesome inning, that coming when Thomas Edison High School got a leadoff hit from Tim Goeglein and Grissom gave up walks with one out to Alec Pagach and Daniel Hirschhorn to load the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
Grissom got himself and his team out of the jam by striking out the next two batters, Nathan Johnson and Cameron Hall, to end the inning.
"It was pretty difficult," Grissom said of the inning.
"I had to bear down and get my head straight and come back and strike out the next two batters."
After that, Grissom breezed through the game through the sixth inning, after which he concluded his night.
"Colby's very stubborn," Davis pointed out.
"He's not going to give in. His curveball was working really well tonight and he used it a lot. He got into a little trouble with his fastball, but he works himself out of different situations. He's just a great pitcher."