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Larry Epperly, his staff and a very talented group of Comets came within one fateful opponent’s 3-pointer of crashing the State 5-A Final Four a year ago.
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Season ends for Comets softball
SoVaNow.com / May 29, 2013Another remarkable Halifax County varsity softball season ended suddenly last night, when the snake bit Comet squad surrendered two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning in Northwest Regional action en route to a bitter 4-3 loss to Osbourn.
The Comets led through the top of the seventh, 3-2, and were one out away from the regional final and a third trip to the state tournament under head coach Melanie Saunders.
But everything went wrong for the Comets at the worst possible time.
Osbourn, coming off an extra innings escape against Albemarle, pushed two runs home in its half of the seventh to secure a berth in tomorrow’s regional final.
HCHS’ season has ended.
Osborn’s O’Dallas Leavis delivered the game-winning hit, producing critical offense at the best time for the home team. Comet freshman Taylor Barnes pitched well, allowing just five hits, with seven strikeouts and two walks, but the Comets could not close the deal.
HCHS got nine hits and made brilliant plays at times in the field, but the Comets had a key base running error in the top of the seventh and could not get a critical run home.
It wasn’t to be for these gutsy Comets.
HCHS led 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but could not hold on.
Freshman HCHS pitcher Taylor Barnes enjoyed a quality mound outing, and the Comets had timely offense, enough to lead most of the way.
The Comet defense also turned in an outstanding effort.
Halifax scored its first run in the top of the first.
Tayler Mosley cracked a base hit, and moved to second on a Miyanna Ross sacrifice. Meg Bane later plated Mosley with a timely RBI hit.
HCHS extended its lead to 2-0 one inning later.
In the second, Barnes led off with a triple. She later beat the throw home, after a missed suicide squeeze attempt.
In the top of the fourth, Cori Campbell blasted a two-out double. Ashley Watts reached on an error, putting runners on first and third.
Then, Mosley, creating more trouble for Osbourn, cracked an RBI single, scoring Campbell for a 3-0 Comet advantage.
Barnes ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth, as Osbourn put two runners on with no one out. A sacrifice bunt pushed two Osbourn runners into scoring position with one out.
Osbourn then loaded the bases with a walk.
Osbourn got its first run on an RBI base hit from second baseman Haley Collier. The Comet defense got the second out on an excellent defensive stop by Meg Bane, even as Osbourn’s second run scored. HCHS then escaped serious damage with a groundout scooped up by Ross at third, who threw to Cori Campbell at first for the final out.
Osbourn had crept within one run, but also stranded two runners.
HCHS threatened but still could not score in the top of the fifth.
Megan Puckett reached on an infield dribbler to start the top of the fifth. Bane followed with a solid hit through the infield, the Comets’ seventh hit at that point.
With one out, Barnes hit a grounder, eliminating the lead runner. The umpiring crew ruled Barnes beat the throw at first on an Osbourn double play attempt. But the Comets were unable to break through with another run.
Bane delivered another crackerjack defensive play in the bottom of the fifth, robbing Osbourn of a leadoff base hit. Bane made a fine throw to Campbell on the play. Barnes then got a strikeout and shortstop Cecilie Elliott got the final out on a groundout.
In the top of the sixth, Mosley reached on infield hit and was awarded second on a throwing error. A wild pitch got Mosley to third.
Nevertheless, HCHS stranded Mosley.
HCHS survived the bottom of the sixth, as Barnes got the second and third outs.
HCHS threatened but could not score in the top of the seventh.
Puckett delivered a blistering leadoff triple to the fence to start the Comet seventh.
Bane reached on an error, putting runners on the corners.
Elliott got a sacrifice fly to get Bane to second, while the lead runner for HCHS stumbled, rubbing out a potential scoring opportunity on the play.
Barnes then flied to short, and Osbourn made a fine play to get the lead Comet runner for the final out of the inning.
It all came unglued for HCHS in Osborn’s final at-bat in regulation, with HCHS taking a 3-2 lead after six and a half innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Barnes got the first out on a strikeout.
Barnes allowed a one out walk, and the runner moved to second on a bang-bang play to get into scoring position.
Barnes got the second out on a strikeout, but Osbourn’s runner stole third.
Osbourn got the tying tun on a RBI flare into left field, tying the game at 3-3.
Leavis delivered the dagger to score the winning run, ending a sparkling
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