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Lady Comets batter Franklin County for tourney crown

The Halifax County High School varsity softball team had won six of its past seven games against rival Franklin County, and along with that three Western Valley District regular season championships and two tournament titles.

Add another tournament title to the Comets’ resume, also it’s third in a row after a 15-3 battering of Franklin County at home on Friday.

Halifax County finished with 18 hits for the game, including nine in a six-run fourth inning that provided some breathing room after the Eagles had cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-3 in the top of the fourth without benefit of a base hit.

Six more hits came in the sixth inning where the Comets plated five more runs, and that proved more than enough run support for Halifax hurlers Samantha Gibson and Lindsey Wilkins.

Gibson allowed three runs off one hit in five innings of work, with the senior right-hander striking out eight batters and walking none.

Wilkins allowed no runs off no hits in two innings of work with one strikeout.

Halifax County struck early with a double by VeVe Brandon to start the game and a walk to Kate Bane.  Jennifer Lacks singled and Tayler Mosley and Gibson collected RBIs when they reached base on Franklin County errors.

Wilkins reached base on an error and Kate Bane doubled with one out in the second to make it 3-0, and Bane scored when Lacks reached on an error for a 4-0 lead.

The Eagles scored three runs on a Comets’ error, hit batsman, fielder’s choice and another Halifax error to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the top of the fourth, but the Comets quickly regained the advantage.

A double by Kate Bane, single by Meg Bane and singles by Miyana Ross (RBI), Mosley, Gibson, Emily Nester, Wilkins, Courtney Epps (RBI) and Kate Bane added up to six runs and a 10-3 lead.

Five runs off five hits ended the scoring in the bottom of the sixth inning with a leadoff single by BriAna Pierce and RBI double by Wilkins, followed by a walk to Epps, RBI single by Cori Campbell and walk to Lacks.

Ross reached on a fielder’s choice, and Jessica Velazquez and Gibson hit consecutive RBI hits to make it 15-3.

Halifax rebounded quickly after the one bad inning to put the game away, and that’s a characteristic of this team, according to Head Coach Melanie Saunders.

“Early in the game we capitalized on some of the errors Franklin County made, and then they came back and capitalized on errors we made,” Saunders explained.

“We’ve been talking to this team and telling them we don’t expect them to be perfect, they’re going to make a few errors and have bad at-bats.

“You just have to come back and be ready for the next ball or the next swing.”

“We’re a team,” Saunders added.

“We’ll pick each other up, and errors are not going to make or break the game.

“That’s exactly what we did.  We’ve had some teams in the past where a bad inning would take them right out of the ball game.

“We were just strong enough to come back the next inning and put the bat on the ball and put that inning behind us.

“We’ve been preaching that all year long, put the bat on the ball and don’t watch strikes.

“They’re finally understanding that concept, and it’s just fundamentals, fundamentals.”

Halifax County placed nine players on the All-Western Valley District softball team announced Friday night, led by Kate Bane, named Player of the Year for the district.

Samantha Gibson, Lindsey Wilkins, VeVe Brandon, Tayler Mosley, Jennifer Lacks and Meg Bane join teammate Kate Bane on the First Team.

Second Team selections include Kelsey White and Miyana Ross.