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HCHS varsity softball edges Battlefield, advances to regional semifinals
SoVaNow.com / May 27, 2013Lockdown pitching and clutch defense are the staples for any team seeking to advance in its postseason tournament games. Halifax County High School varsity softball had just enough of both Monday.
The Comets slipped past a gutsy Battlefield squad, 1-0, in Northwest Regional action.
The Comets moved on to a Wednesday night regional semifinals showdown with Osbourn, which defeated Albemarle, 2-1, in an 11-inning marathon Monday.
HCHS has to travel to Osbourn for a 6 p.m. game in Northern Virginia.
The winner of that game Wednesday moves on to the regional finals, and to next week's Group AAA state quarterfinals.
Comet freshman hurler Taylor Barnes delivered big-time for the host team Monday, keeping Battlefield off balance.
Meanwhile, HCHS overcame a sluggish start at the plate and got just enough offense. Megan Puckett delivered a game-winning, bloop RBI single, enough to score Tayler Mosley for the lone run of the game.
HCHS showed hustle on defense from the outset, with Kye-Neisha Logan making a running catch for the first out in right. Barnes fielded the third out of the first with a good play at her position.
HCHS went quietly in the bottom of the first.
Comet second baseman Meg Bane made a catch beyond the infield to get Battlefield's leadoff batter in the second inning.
Barnes then fanned Jamie Armstrong, but the Bobcats' Teresa Wagner slapped a base hit between third and shortstop. But the runner was stranded as Barnes got the final out of the second inning.
Battlefield set HCHS down in its half of the second.
Barnes got a strikeout to open the Battlefield third. Halifax catcher Ashley Watts got a putout and Barnes ended the Bobcats' third with a strikeout.
HCHS went out in 1-2-3 fashion in the bottom of the third.
Barnes ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth.
Barnes got a strikeout to open the inning. But Alexis Champion singled, and Ruthie Martin slapped a single past third. Suddenly, Battlefield had two on, with one out, and one runner in scoring position.
Barnes then fanned Jamie Armstrong, and induced Wagner to ground out, with Miyana Ross making the play at third.
Mosley scratched out the first Comet hit in the top of the fourth. Ross laid down a slow-developing dribbler. Battlefield got Ross at first, but Mosley had the chance to move all the way over to third. Battlefield tried to get Mosley at third.
Mosley scored when Puckett delivered a soft RBI single just past first base.
It turned out to be enough for Barnes and the Comet defense.
Barnes asked for more trouble in the top of the fifth, issuing a leadoff walk to Taylor Adams. Battlefield got the runner to second on a sacrifice, and Thia Caraylannis bunted the runner to third.
With two outs, the Bobcats had their best chance for a tie.
Barnes, however, had her defense working behind her. Ross got another groundout, getting the throw to first baseman Cori Campbell.
HCHS generated no offense in the bottom of the fifth, but, by then, the Comet faithful knew what they needed.
Battlefield's Aden Wooliever bunted, and Watts made a blazing, on-target throw to Campbell at first to get the leadoff out in the top of the sixth.
Cecilie Elliott scooped up a grounder at short, before Martin picked up Battlefield's second hit, a flare to left field.
Ross then made a fine play on Armstrong to end the top of the sixth.
The Comets threatened in the bottom of the sixth.
Watts showed a careful eye and walked to lead off the inning. Mosley laid down a drag bunt to move Watts to second. Ross followed with a punch-style basehit. But the Comets stranded two two runners in scoring position.
Barnes then had to set down Battlefield in the top of the seventh, and she delivered, with help from the Comet defense.
Barnes fanned Wagner and Adams.
With the tension — and apprehension — rolling through the Comet stands, Barnes got a strikeout to end the game and seal a Northwest tournament semifinal appearance for HCHS. 649
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