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Comets’ softball season ends with 10-8 loss to Osbourn Park

“It’s a horrible way to end the season.” That one sentence from Halifax County High School Head Coach Melanie Saunders pretty much summed up her feelings and those of her team following Wednesday night’s Northwest Region Tournament semi-final game against Osbourn Park High School at Halifax County High School.

The Yellow Jackets stung the Comets with a two-run homer by pitcher Erica Field in the top of the eighth inning and edged the Comets 10-8.

Wednesday night’s loss brought a bitter end to what has been a stellar season for the Comets who won both the Western Valley District regular-season and district tournament championships.

“It’s very emotional,” Saunders said after emerging from a near 20-minute meeting with her players following the game.

“This is one of the best teams I’ve coached here. It’s one thing to lose when you should lose. It’s a different thing to lose when you’re better than what you showed.

“The thing about this team is these girls never quit, they never gave up,” added Saunders.

“If there is anything the fans out there watching got from this game is they got that.”

The game was uncharacteristic of others the Comets have played this season in that the Comets gave up the most runs of the season, and that the score reached unusually high numbers.

“I had no idea it would be that way, and that there would be that many runs scored on both sides,” Saunders said.

“It was definitely not the score I anticipated or the ending I anticipated.”

The Comets committed three crucial errors in the first two innings, opening the door for the Yellow Jackets to score a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first inning and add another in the top of the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead.

Halifax County got one of them back in the bottom of the second inning when Taylor Mosley walked, stole second and scored on a hit by Kelsey White to make it a 3-1 score.

Osbourn Park High School punched across two more runs in the top of the third inning to extend its lead to 5-1. The Comets answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame to cut their deficit to a single run at 5-4.

Emily Nester reached base on an error and scored on a triple by Meg Bane, who went on to cross the plate on an Osbourn Park error. Mosley followed with a hit with two out, stole second base and scored on a hit by Comets hurler Sam Gibson to bring the Comets to within a run.

With the help of three Osbourn Park High School errors, the Comets scored four runs in the fifth inning to take the lead for the first time at 8-5. At that point, it looked like the Comets were back in business.

Osbourn Park High School had other ideas, though.

The Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 8-8. Halifax County had a potential scoring opportunity go by the wayside when Jennifer Lacks slugged what was a sure double and was thrown out at third base to attempting to stretch the hit into a triple to end the inning.

Osbourn Park High School got a break in the top of the eighth inning when Jessica South reached base on a fielder’s choice. The Comets appeared to be out of the inning when South was tagged out enroute to third base as part of what appeared to be a routine double play on a ground ball hit by Peyton DelGallo. However, an umpire cited a Comets player for interference and awarded third base to South.

Field followed with the game-winning two-run homer, her second hit in as many innings.

“It was a slugfest from the first inning,” pointed out Osbourn Park High School Head Coach Tim Garner.

“We punched them and they punched back. I told my girls they had to play to the end, don’t give up because they’re not going to. Everything I had heard about Halifax County was that they are a really good ballclub, and that we were going to have to play from the first pitch to the last pitch.”

The two teams combined for a total of 23 hits, with the Comets getting 13 hits and the Yellow Jackets having 11.

Meg Bane, Miyana Ross, Mosley, Gibson and Lindsey Wilkins each had two hits for the Comets. Kate Bane, Nester, Lacks and White each had one hit.

Osbourn Park High School, which now advances to Friday’s Northwest Region Tournament championship game with a berth in the Group AAA state tournament in hand, was led by DelGallo, Field, Alexa Luiggi and Davon Paysour, all of whom had two hits.