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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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Comet baseball season ends after loss to PH Wednesday
SoVaNow.com / May 20, 2013The season is over for the Halifax County High School varsity baseball team.
Halifax fell to a PH-Roanoke team that discovered serious momentum at the right time. PH drilled HCHS, 14-9, on Wednesday. HCHS was one of three teams battling for two regionals spots and the Comets were eliminated once Franklin County beat GW-Danville that evening.
PH went on to defeat Franklin County in the WVD tournament title game. As matters stand, WVD regular season champion GW has the no. 1 seed, while PH and FCHS will be seeded two and three, respectively.
Halifax has packed its gear after a disappointing end to its final Western Valley district campaign. Next season, the Comets will join Franklin County and GW in the Piedmont District.
The Comets main issue this season came down to inconsistency in its pitching staff, especially when staff ace Seth Elliott was unavailable.
HCHS ran into that problem Wednesday, as PH seized the early momentum, scoring two runs in the first inning, four runs in the second and five in the third.
Colby Grissom, recently called up from the jayvees, was ineffective after a brief stint. HCHS then used Ryan Powell, Thomas Cole and Chase Wilkerson.
PH eventually combined for 14 runs on 11 hits, while HCHS had 14 basehits.
PH rolled to a strong early lead, seizing a 11-0 lead after three innings.
The Comets rallied a bit in the fifth and sixth, but PH added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Halifax could not get a handle on the top of the order for PH, as no. 2 hitter Brit Dunnavant reached base four times, three on walks, and scored three runs. No. 4 PH batter Evan Deycrle really bruised the Comets, collecting an RBI double and a three-run homer in the third.
Eventually, Halifax got untracked offensively, but it came too late to derail PH, which had beaten GW and Franklin County in back-to-back district regular season closeout action over the previous two days.
Halifax got RBI sacrifice flies from Rufus Jeffress and Will Harris in the bottom of the fifth, before Tristan Howerton added a two-run double.
The Comets kept battling at the plate in the bottom of the sixth, adding five runs. Jeffress had a timely double after PH had pulled off a double play. Harris beat out a grounder and a run scored on a PH throwing error.
Tyler Stephens got a RBI blooper and Howerton had a seeing eye single.
Nick Anderson got another bloop hit to get the Comets back within 13-9, but HCHS would get no closer.
PH had been on fire at the plate.
PH then caught fire, scoring 17 on Monday, 12 on Tuesday and 14 against the Comets.
PH kept it going after the coach challenged the team to play well three in a row. HCHS could not handle Jimmy Butler, who gave PH a very competitive mound effort.
PH finally got three key outs in the bottom of the seventh from closer Alec Brown, and the visitors secured the no. 2 seed in the regionals.
Then, GW lost and HCHS season ended.
HCHS had a familiar problem in this game, quality pitching depth.
Comet head coach Kelvin Davis said, “all year long, we’ve been struggling (with pitching depth).
“The guys have been giving me everything they’ve got, I can’t say enough about that. It’s unfortunate we’re not getting any consistency,” said Davis.
Davis also noted that PH’s early lead and the test of HCHS having to rally wore the Comets down mentally. HCHS hoped to get a break with the GW-FC game, but it was not to be.
“We’ve got a pretty solid team, but the area we’ve been struggling with all year long, it’s mind boggling,” said Davis.
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