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Comet girls take 3 of 4 in Franklin Co. softball showcase

South Boston News
Halifax County leftfielder Tayler Mosley (3) gets ready to sprint down the first-base line after laying down a bunt for a base hit in the third inning of the Comets’ 2-0 shut-out victory over Mountain View Saturday. / March 18, 2013
ROCKY MOUNT — Three-time reigning Western Valley District champion Halifax County won three of four games played in the fourth annual Battle of the Bases softball showcase hosted by Franklin County.

The Comets’ three victories came at the expense of Northwest Region rivals C.D. Hylton, Mountain View and Colonial Forge and their lone loss was to Jefferson Forest, a noted squad from the Group AA Seminole District.

Halifax (4-1) edged Hylton, a Group AAA Cardinal District team, in its first game Friday, 5-4, then fell 11-1 to Jefferson Forest in a game that was stopped after six innings because of the 10-run slaughter rule.

On Saturday, the Comets posted a pair of shut-out triumphs: 2-0 over Mountain View and 4-0 over Colonial Forge, both of which compete in the Group AAA Commonwealth District.

In the win over Mountain View, Halifax scored once in the top of the fourth and once in its half of the sixth.

Righthander Taylor Banes tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout inside the pitching circle.

Nine Mountain View hitters did reach base at Barnes’ expense, but once they reached base, all nine were stranded.

Barnes struck out three, hit three batters and two others reached base courtesy of Comets’ defensive miscues.

The Comets managed six hits, including two each by Meg Bane and Megan Puckett. Both of Puckett’s hits were doubles.

Bane opened the fourth frame with a single and after a Barnes’ sacrifice, Puckett drove her in to break the scoreless stalemate.

In the sixth, Puckett’s one-out double and a two-out single by Ashley Watts produced the Comets’ final run.

Tayler Mosley’s bunt single represented Halifax’s other hit.

Mountain View had at least one hitter reach base in every inning except the third and sixth.

In the second, the Wildcats left runners at first and third; in the fourth, they left runners at second and third; and in the seventh, they loaded the bases, but failed to score.

In Saturday’s victory over Colonial Forge, the Comets tallied eight hits, They scored single runs in the first and second frames and tallied two runs in the fifth.

Halifax collected hits in every inning except the sixth when the Comets were retired in order.

Mosley, Halifax’s lead-off hitter, tripled in her first at bat and came home with the Comets’ initial run on an Emily Nester ground out.

In the second inning, Puckett belted a double and scored on an RBI base hit by Cori Campbell.

Also, winning pitcher Courtney Epps collected a single for the Comets.

Halifax stranded runners in scoring position in the third and fourth frames, but rebounded in the fifth to cap its scoring.

A pair of base hits, a passed ball and a RBI ground out produced those runs.

Six batters reached base for Colonial Forge, all of whom were left aboard. Five of those baserunners were stranded in scoring position.

Colonial Forge’s best chance to score came in its half of the fourth when its first two batters reached base, both courtesy of singles. They would advance to third and second, but the Comets would retire the side thereafter.

In Friday’s victory over Hylton, the Comets scored three runs in their half of the first on a single by Mosley, an RBI double by Nester and a two-run home run by Bane.

The Comets registered nine hits: two each by Mosley, Bane and Puckett and one each by Nester, Barnes and Watts.

In the seventh, a base hit by Bane, a walk and a two-run single by Puckett accounted for Halifax’s final two runs.

Hylton scored once in its half of the first and squared the count at three by tallying two runs in the third. The Bulldogs broke the deadlock with a run in the fourth.

Hylton finished with eight hits.

In Friday’s loss to Jefferson Forest, the Cavaliers tallied six runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed.

Jefferson Forest tallied single runs in their half of the third and in the last of the fifth and completed the victory with a three-run sixth.

Halifax prevented the shutout by scoring its lone run in the top of the fourth.

Jefferson Forest finished with 16 hits and winning pitcher Alexis Brown registered eight strikeouts.

Brown, a senior and a third-year varsity player recorded her 500th career strikeout Saturday in the Cavaliers’ triumph over Hylton.

Jefferson Forest is a season removed from a 1-0 loss to Abingdon in the Group AA state quarterfinals.

Halifax’s loss is its first in the Battle of the Bases. In three appearances in the showcase (2011, 2012, 2013), the Comets are 8-1.

Franklin County (4-2) captured the championship of the event by winning all four of its games: the Eagles bested Colonial Forge, Stafford, Mountain View and C.D. Hylton

Jefferson Forest also finished 4-0 but the Eagles won the championship based on run differential; they allowed four runs in four games, while the Cavaliers surrendered seven.

Seventeen games were contested over two days.

Also competing in the showcase were private school Liberty Christian Academy (LCA) and Hidden Valley of the Group AA River Ridge District.

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