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Comets advance to tourney title game with 10-3 win over PH

Over the past three seasons, the Halifax County High School baseball team has been snakebitten in the semi-finals of the Western Valley District Tournament.

The Comets made sure that it didn’t happen again Tuesday night.

Halifax County High School used a two-run homer by Joe Martin to cap a four-run first inning and went on to easily defeat Patrick Henry High School 10-3 in one of the two district tournament semi-final games.

The Comets (13-4 overall) will face the winner of Wednesday’s tournament semi-final game between Franklin County High School and GW in the tournament championship game here Friday at 6 p.m.

“This means a lot to me,” said Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.

“We’ve been in a tough situation the past two or three years, and it’s not a good feeling. It feels good to get this game.”

Comets hurlers Seth Elliott and Ryan Puryear combined to hold Patrick Henry High School to four hits. Elliott fanned two batters and yielded a run and three hits. Puryear had three strikeouts in his two innings of work, but yielded two runs in the top of the seventh inning. One run scored as the result of a Comets error, and one scored on a double by the Patriots’ Trent Marcum. That hit was the only hit Puryear allowed.

The Comets’ Ryan Yates continued his hot streak at the plate with a 3-4 night that included two doubles and three RBIs. Yates has had at least one hit in six of his last seven games.

“I didn’t have to make any adjustments,” Yates pointed out.

“He (Patrick Henry High School pitcher Corey Hayth) was just throwing it down the pipe. All I had to do was swing.”

Martin also had a big night for the Comets, Breaking out of a recent hitting slump, Martin was 2-2 at the plate with a two-run homer in the first inning and a two-RBI double in the bottom of the third inning that gave the Comets a 6-0 lead.

“Coach Torian (Comets assistant coach Shawn Torian) told me to be aggressive,” Martin explained when asked about his two-run homer.

“I jumped on the first fastball I got.”

The Comets jumped on the Patriots early, forging a 6-0 lead before the visitors used a couple of hits and a fielder’s choice to score a run in the top of the fourth inning and cut their deficit to five runs.

Halifax County High School countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, scoring a run on a triple from Ford Bradshaw and adding another when Bradshaw scored on an error. That rally gave the Comets an 8-1 edge.

A two-RBI hit by Yates in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Comets a 10-1 lead, which held until the Patriots scored twice in the final inning.

Halifax County High School had 12 hits in the game, with Yates leading the way with three hits and Martin and Nick Anderson each chipping in two hits. Bradshaw, Rufus Jeffress, William Worley, Ryan Puryear and Tristan Howerton each had one hit.

With a berth in Friday’s district tournament championship game in hand, the Comets will get back to work Wednesday to prepare for that outing.

“We’re going to sit back and see who we’ve got (to face) and go from there,” Davis said.

“These guys are ready for it. They know how much it means to Comets baseball to get this championship.”