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New Yorkers edge Comets in late rally

It was another chapter in what has become a continuing saga for the Halifax County High School baseball team.

The Comets have had little trouble getting runners on the bases, but scoring them has been an entirely different proposition.

That was the case Friday afternoon when the Comets faced Garden City, N.Y. in their annual scrimmage game at Halifax County High School.

Halifax County High School left the bases loaded in the first inning without scoring a run and left the bases loaded again in the second inning, that time while managing to get a run across the plate.

Late in the game, that lack of scoring came back to haunt the Comets as the Trojans rallied to score three runs in the top of the sixth inning and hold on to edge the Comets 4-2.

“That’s the way we’ve been the whole season,” said Comets Head Coach Kelvin Davis.

“We’re putting guys on the bases, but we’re not getting that key base hit.”

The Comets, with the help of two walks and a hit batsman, loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the first inning but came up empty when Patrick Barton hit into a fielder’s choice that ended the inning.

In the second inning Tristan Howerton walked to start the inning and pinch runner Josh Irby moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Avery Anderson. A single by Andrew Hamlett moved Irby to third base. After Ryan Yates went down on strikes, Nick Anderson walked to load the bases. A walk to Will Harris forced in Irby to put the Comets up 1-0.  Tyler Stephens went down on a called third strike to end the inning.

Halifax County added a run in the third inning to go up 2-0 when Barton singled with one out, moved to second base on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Avery Anderson. 

The Trojans put together three hits in a row off of Comets starting pitcher Seth Elliott in the top of the fourth inning, the run-scoring hit coming from P.J. Volz, to cut their deficit to a run at 2-1.

After five innings of work, Elliott, who had allowed six hits and fanned three batters, was relieved by Barton in the top of the sixth inning. But, Barton ran into trouble quickly.

After giving up a walk to start the inning, Barton rallied to strike out the next two batters he faced. The Trojans’ Brian LoRusso followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game, and Barton walked the next four batters he faced to force in two runs that put Garden City, N.Y. on top 4-2.

Ryan Powell then came to the mound and the Comets were able to retire Garden City, N.Y. with no further damage.

The Comets had opportunities to score in both the sixth and seventh innings, but stranded two runners on the bases each time.

“It was just a day on which things didn’t go our way,” Davis pointed out.

“My hat goes off to Seth. I thought he pitched a wonderful game. What we were trying to do is see if we could set things up as far as how long we will keep him in games and how many pitches we will let him throw. 

“We had Patrick loose,” Davis continued. “and we wanted him to go the last two innings. We were hoping Patrick would come in and throw strikes. He just didn’t come out and do what we wanted him to do. It’s still early and the guys are still trying to adjust to different things.”

The Comets had four hits in the game with Harris, Barton, Avery Anderson and Hamlett each getting one hit. Harris and Avery Anderson each had a RBI.

Garden City, N.Y. had 10 hits in the game with Cory Fallon leading the Trojans with three hits. Volz and Andrew Lobasso had two hits each.

“We knew the New York team was a good ballclub, and they executed different things,” Davis said.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t go out there and contain them at the end. We’ve just got to figure out ways we can close a ballgame.”