- Last Updated on 07:57 AM 05/13/13
- BY Joe Chandler
As Halifax County High School Head Baseball Coach Kelvin Davis said, “we had everything in our favor.”
Looking for a win over arch-rival GW Saturday in Danville that would allow them to clinch second place in the Western Valley District standings, the Comets had a 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning with the team’s top pitcher, Seth Elliott on the mound.
Elliott had thrown a solid game, allowing seven scattered hits through the first six innings, with one strikeout and no walks. He retired the first seven batters he faced in the game.
Suddenly, everything came unglued.
GW took advantage of two walks, two hit batsmen and a hit to plate two runs before getting a game-winning walk-off two-RBI single from Hunter Byrnes to score a 5-4 win over the Comets and clinch the Western Valley District regular-season championship.
“We played a heck of a ballgame,” Davis pointed out.
“It was a great ballgame to watch. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the win.”
GW Interim Head Coach Barry Powell said his team was fortunate to get the win.
“This is typical GW-Halifax baseball,” Powell pointed out.
“I’m proud of our guys because they didn’t quit. We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We were very fortunate to battle back and win.”
Despite Elliott’s struggles in the seventh inning, Davis he wasn’t going to make a pitching change.
Senior Patrick Barton, whom Davis has used as a closer on several occasions this season, suffered a badly sprained ankle during the Comets’ 8-2 win over Magna Vista High School Friday night and was not available.
“We’re struggling with our rotation right now,” Davis explained.
“We’re just in a tough situation with our pitching. Seth pitched a heck of a ballgame. He gave us everything he had. Unfortunately he just gave out.”
Now, the Comets sit, wait and watch as Franklin County High School and Patrick Henry High complete their regular-season contests early this week.
If Franklin County High School wins out, the Comets and Franklin County High School will finish in a tie for second place in the standings, and the results of a Virginia Lottery drawing will determine which team will get the second seed and a home game in Wednesday’s Western Valley District Tournament semi-final round.
The Comets tagged GW starting hurler Blake Bivens for a run in the top of the third inning, getting a leadoff double by Dustin Crews and a sacrifice bunt from Rufus Jeffress that scored Crews to take a 1-0 lead.
GW tied the game in the bottom of the frame, with George Roos coming up with a single with one out and scoring later on a single from Byrnes, the Eagles’ third hit of the inning, to make it a 1-1 game.
The Comets took the lead at 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a wild play in which Comets pinch runner Chase Wilkerson scored on a GW error at first base.
Crews struck out and GW catcher Jared Tubb dropped the ball on the third strike. Tubb threw to first baseman Josh Via and Via had to extend himself and jump to catch the throw from Tubb.
GW thought Via had gotten the third out of the inning on the play, having appeared to come down with his foot on the bag just before Crews reached the base. But, the first base umpire called Crews safe and Wilkerson, who was at second base, scored on the play to put the Comets in the lead.
GW got runners on first base and third base with no out in the bottom of the inning. However, an unusual triple play got the Comets out of a jam.
After Elliott struck out Via for the first out of the inning, GW pinch runner Omar Toller was nailed attempting to steal second base on the pitch that was Via’s third strike.
Bivens, who was on third base, dashed to the plate and appeared to have scored. However, Bivens apparently missed touching the plate, and Comets catcher Avery Anderson, who had taken a throw to the plate on an attempt to nab Bivens, tagged out Bivens when Bivens tried to return to touch the plate.
Leading 2-1, the Comets scored twice in the top of the seventh inning, with Will Harris and Tyler Stephens scoring when Jeffress reached base on a GW error to put the Comets up by the three-run margin heading into the bottom of the final inning.
The Comets had seven hits in the game with Stephens leading the team with two hits. Jeffress, Harris, Thomas Cole, Andrew Hamlett and Crews each had one hit.
Byrnes led the GW effort with a 3-4 afternoon that included three RBIs.