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Comets softball team wins WVD Tournament title

There was no wild celebration, but there were plenty of smiles to go around.

The Halifax County High School softball team, after having won the Western Valley District regular-season title with a victory over Franklin County High School on Tuesday, captured the district tournament championship Friday night with a 6-1 win over Franklin County High School at Halifax County High School.

Friday night's tournament championship win gives the Comets softball team a sweep of the two district championships in what is the final year of existence of the Western Valley District.

"It's a very good feeling," Comets Head Coach Melanie Saunders said after her team's five-run victory over the Eagles.

"We lost a lot of leadership and a lot of athletes from last year. We came into this year and had to battle and kind of essentially start from scratch with some of it. Hopefully, we are not done."

Another workman-like performance gave the Comets the tournament championship. Comets hurler Taylor Barnes had a solid night, striking out 10 Franklin County High School batters while yielding only two hits and one walk.

Barnes helped her own cause with a two-RBI double in the first inning that helped stake the Comets to an early 3-0 lead and led the team with two hits in the game.

"We had a lot of confidence and I was ready to play," Barnes remarked.

"I've played against Franklin County plenty of times, so I'm used to pitching to them."

Along with Barnes' two-RBI hit, the Comets got a two-RBI double from Ashley Watts off of a change up thrown by Franklin County High School pitcher Hali Saul in the bottom of the fourth inning that essentially sealed the game.

"The change up is my hardest pitch to hit," Watts noted.

"It was great to hit a pitch like that and get a double on it. I've been struggling hitting changeups, and we have been working a lot on hitting changeups. The practice is paying off."

Along with the hits from Barnes and Watts, the Comets got a hit each from Megan Puckett, Cecilie Elliott, Hannah Saunders and Sam Moser.

Friday night's win over Franklin County High School in the Western Valley District Tournament championship game was the Comets' second win over the Eagles in three days.

The Comets shut out the Eagles 3-0 Tuesday in a playoff game at Averett University in Danville to win the regular-season championship. Then, the Comets defeated William Fleming High School in Wednesday's district tournament semi-final game to get a rematch with Franklin County High School Friday night.

"I think winning Tuesday's game (against Franklin County High School) gave us a huge boost of confidence," Saunders pointed out.

"Franklin County High School is a good team, and their pitcher (Hali Saul) is a good pitcher. She moves the ball around the plate and throws a changeup that keeps you off balance."

The Comets jumped on top quickly, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab an early 3-0 lead. Once on top, the Comets never lost the lead.

Halifax County High School leadoff batter Tayler Mosley was struck by a pitch and moved to second base when Miyanna Ross reached base on a Franklin County High school error that occurred when the Eagles' catcher dropped the third strike.

With one out, Meg Bane reached base on an error that allowed Mosley to score. A two-RBI double by Barnes staked the Comets to a 3-0 lead.

The Eagles scored a run in the top of the second inning when Ashley Keith walked and scored on a two-out triple by Hannah Dudley to make the score 3-1.

A two-RBI double by Watts in the bottom of the fourth inning gave the Comets a 5-1 edge, and a run-scoring single by Sam Moser in the bottom of the sixth inning sealed the Comets' win.

"Halifax scored early and I think it took a little bit of life out of us," remarked Franklin County High School Head Coach Bryan Forbes.

"We didn't quit and I admire our girls for that. I think both us of (Franklin County High School and Halifax County High School) have a good chance to go a long way in the Northwest Region Tournament as long as we continue to play the same kind of ball.

"They (Halifax County High School) are an excellent team," added Forbes.

"I think we're right there with them. They made their opportunities count and we haven't."