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Comets' season ends with heartbreaking loss

MANASSAS The words were few and the tears were many.

Halifax County High School saw what appeared to be near-certain victory with a half an inning left to play turn into disaster as Osbourn High School rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the last on a walk-off run-scoring single by Odalas Aviles, to upend the Comets 4-3 Wednesday night in a Northwest Region Tournament semi-final game.

 

Wednesday night's stunning loss ended what has been a successful season for the Comets, who won both the Western Valley District regular-season and district tournament titles and finished the season with a 20-3 record.

"For some reason, it wasn't meant to be again," Comets Head Coach Melanie Saunders said after the loss that left the Comets a win shy of advancing to the regional championship game and the Group AAA state tournament.

"It seems like we get to this point and just can't get past it. What is so hard is that these kids have come so far. They have worked so hard. At the beginning of the season, this was not the team we finished with today. In all of the years I've been coaching, this is the most improvement I've seen as a team. It's sad, especially for our seniors, that we're not playing Friday."

The Comets staked themselves to a 3-0 lead through the first three and a half innings, scoring a single run in the first, second and fourth innings.

Tayler Mosley started the game with a single and scored on a hit by Meg Bane to give the Comets a 1-0 lead. Comets pitcher Taylor Barnes led off the second inning with a triple and stole home plate with two out to put the Comets up 2-0.

In the top of the fourth inning, Cori Campbell laced a double to the outfield with two out and later scored on a hit by Mosley to give the Comets a 3-0 lead.

Osbourn High School got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth inning, which started with the Eagles' Roxanna Aviles being hit by a pitch from Barnes. Brittany Coffey followed with a single. A walk to Eagles pitcher Lindsay Corbin with one out loaded the bases.

A hit by Halle Collier scored Aviles and Coffey scored when Jasmen Bradley hit into a fielder's choice to allow the Eagles to cut their deficit to a run.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Bradley walked with one out and stole second base on a pitch on which teammate Zoie Patrick struck out for the second out of the inning.

Bradley scored on a short single to right field that hit just inside fair territory to deadlock the game at 3-3. Odalas Aviles then sent a hard-hit ground ball past Bane at second base for a hit that scored Bradley to win the game.

"That last inning you get down to two outs and you either get the out or they get the hit and the run," Saunders noted

"One of those two things happen."

The Comets made a good effort in the game, playing errorless ball on defense and Barnes fanning seven batters and yielding six scattered hits.

Offensively, the Comets had seven hits and took advantage of three Eagles errors. Mosley led the Comets with three hits, Bane had two hits, and Barnes and Campbell had one hit each.

"We had some good hits and hit the ball well," Saunders pointed out, "and Taylor did well on the mound. For some reason, it wasn't meant to be."