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Lady Comets belt C.D. Hylton 10-1

The Halifax County High School softball team is one win away from its second straight appearance in the AAA State Tournament.

Halifax County defeated C.D. Hylton High School 10-1 Monday afternoon in a Northwest Region Tournament quarterfinal game at Halifax County High School.

The Comets (22-1 overall) will play the winner of last night’s game between Osbourn Park and Albemarle here Wednesday at 5 p.m. for a shot at a regional championship and a berth in the Group AAA state tournament.

Halifax County High School wasted little time in getting the upper hand on C.D. Hylton yesterday afternoon, scoring two first-inning runs off of a single by Kate Bane, an RBI double by Meg Bane and an RBI single by Miyana Ross.

The Comets added two runs in the fourth when Ross reached on an error, Tayler Mosley singled and stole second, and Sam Gibson hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly.

Mosley later scored on Emily Nester’s bunt hit to make it 4-0. The Comets added four runs in the fifth inning, starting with a triple by Meg Bane. A RBI triple by Lacks followed, and an RBI double by Ross to take an 6-0 lead.

Mosley hit a ground ball, and Hylton tried for the tag out of Ross at third but failed. A throw to second base to retire Mosley sailed wide of the bag, with Ross scoring on the play to make the score 7-0. Mosley later scored on a passed ball to make it 8-0.

The Bulldogs scratched up a run in the top of the sixth inning after consecutive two-out doubles by Mia Lacy and Samantha Braxton.

Shae Braxton followed with a shot to right center field, but Comets’ outfielder VeVe Brandon saved an extra base hit with a diving catch for the final out of the inning.

Halifax County added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final margin, the runs coming off a Brandon base hit, a walk to Cori Campbell and base hits by Courtney Epps and Ross.

A dozen hits and 10 runs were more than enough for the Halifax pitching tandem of Samantha Gibson and Lindsey Wilkins.

Gibson allowed only two hits in five innings with six strikeouts, and Wilkins allowed one run on three hits the last two innings with two strikeouts. Neither Gibson nor Wilkins walked a batter.

The Comets’ defense kept the momentum in its corner with solid defense, with one key play coming in the first inning when Shae Braxton singled and tried to take second when the throw to first got away.

Lacks, the Comets’ right fielder, backed up the play and gunned Braxton down at second to end that threat.

In the fourth inning, Lacy led off with a single, but Comets’ second baseman Kelsey White dove to catch a soft line drive off the bat of Samantha Braxton and threw to first to double Lacy off the bag.

The Comets were aggressive at the plate and on the base paths from the start, and that was by design, said Comets’ Head Coach Melanie Saunders.

“We (coaches) told them we can’t sit back any longer and wait, we have to come out and be aggressive,” said Saunders.

“The first inning we jumped out there, but we didn’t score the second and third innings.

“We were a little anxious, and there’s a little difference between being anxious and aggressive, but we came out in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and scored.”

Halifax executed the fundamentals at the plate and in the field, and they paid dividends, Saunders pointed out.

“We waited and put the bat on the ball, and we want them to go for strikes right off the bat,” said Saunders.”

Defensively, White’s double play in the fourth inning swung the momentum back the Comets’ way after Lacys’ leadoff single.

“The inning Kelsey made that double play you could feel the momentum swing from C.D. Hylton,” said Saunders.

“That was a key play to get us out of that inning and get the momentum back over to our side.”

Falling behind 2-0 after one inning put the Bulldogs (15-8) in a hole from which it never recovered, according to C.D. Hylton Head Coach Donald Grimes.

“We saw Halifax at the Battle of the Bases, and we knew they could hit the ball really well, so we knew we’d have to score runs,” said Grimes.

“They jumped on us early, and we just tried to battle at the plate and tried to get something across the plate to get closer.

“Late in the game we were trying to rally and make something happen down the stretch

“We had the great double by our freshman, Mia Lacy, followed by sophomore Samantha (Braxton) who hit another double to bring her home.

“The center fielder for Halifax made a heck of a catch that took probably a double away from Shae (Braxton), and [Halifax] did a great job on the mound tonight pitching.”

“To Halifax’s credit, they do a great job with timely hitting, and their coach does a great job over there preparing her girls for situations, and they execute,” added Grimes.

“That’s the name of the game, they executed when they needed to.

“We came out here and competed, and that’s what we do best.”