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Comets shut down Thomas Edison

South Boston News
Colby Grissom / June 05, 2014
Halifax County High School varsity baseball seemed to be mired in a mid-season slump a while back, but not now.

The Comets put together a complete effort, both on offense and on the mound, and eliminated Thomas Edison High School of Alexandria with an 8-0 win at home Monday in Region 5-A action.

Lefthandee Colby Grissom pitched a one hitter, while Will Harris whipped the Comet offense into shape early with a blistering two-run homer in the first inning.

The Comets finished with ten hits. Harris scored three runs and had two RBI. Tristan Howerton had a pair of doubles and an RBI. Dustin Crews had two back to back RBI singles. DH Ethan Woltz had three hits.

And HCHS was back home last night, hosting Freedom-South Riding of Loudoun County in a Region 5-A regional semifinal. HCHS, playing its final season for head coach Kelvin Davis, was involved in another high-stakes elimination game. The winner advances to Friday’s regional finals and next week’s 5-A state tournament.

Freedom-South Riding pulled off an upset Monday, defeating a potent Potomac team, 2-1.

On the other side of the Region 5-A semifinal bracket, George Marshall met Stone Bridge.

Halifax left little doubt with its win over Edison.

Grissom, bouncing back from a late-season injury to his non-pitching hand, proved masterful in Monday’s shutout. He worked six innings, got the win, and fanned eight.

Grissom walked four.

“I felt pretty comfortable coming to the game. I felt like I had all my stuff working for me,” he said.

He ran into one major threat, in the second inning.

“It was pretty difficult. I had to bear down to get my head straight,” said Grissom.

“It’s really big to come out here and throw a one-hitter for the team and come get this win for them, too,” he said.

Grissom said the curve was his best pitch Monday.

“Getting behind in the count, I felt pretty good throwing my curveball to get back even with the count, or ahead of them,” said Grissom.

Reliever Chase Wilkerson also pitched well. Wilkerson took command in the seventh, with a solid lead, and fanned two of three Edison hitters.

In the first inning, Grissom fanned the first hitter, and then catcher Tristan Howerton made a solid play on a dribbler for the second out. Grissom induced the third out on a fly ball.

Halifax showed its offensive prowess early against Edison.

Ryan Powell walked and then Harris crushed a pitch from the Edison starter that cleared the fence past the 355 sign. There was no doubt on this blast, and HCHS held a 2-0 lead.

“It was a pitch I liked. I went down there and got it. When it came off the bat, I thought it was going to be a popup. When I was running around first, the ball kept carrying. I liked the outcome,” Harris said.

It was Harris’ second homer of the season.

“The team’s starting to click at the right time, getting the right hits at the right time,” Harris said.

That’s all the damage Halifax could do in that inning.

Grissom got into trouble in the Edison second, but kept the visitors off the board.

The Comet lefty surrendered a single to start the inning, followed by a strikeout. Grissom suddenly lost some sharpness, issuing two walks in a row. But he got a big strikeout for the second out and the inning ended on a popup to Harris.

Halifax did not score in its half of the second.

Grissom kept Edison off-balance in the top of the third.

Halifax extended its lead in its half of the third inning. Harris walked, forcing an Edison pitching change. Howerton blistered an RBI double, scoring Harris. Dustin Crews followed with another run-scoring double, and HCHS held a 4-0 advantage.

Tyler Stephens later added an RBI sacrifice fly for a 5-0 Comet lead after three.

Grissom had another routine inning in the top of the fourth.

Then the Comets added another run in the bottom of the inning. Harris drew a walk. He later stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, a hustling Crews beat out a grounder in the hole at shortstop, scoring Harris for a 6-0 Comet advantage.

Howerton showed his defensive prowess, getting the first out of the top of the fifth on another dribbler. Edison later got a runner to third with two out, but Grissom kept the shutout intact by getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Ethan Woltz cracked a deep double as HCHS powered up in the bottom of the fifth, and Tripp Bennett followed with a single. Powell followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to pad the Comet lead to 7-0.

Harris made another acrobatic catch behind second to end the Edison sixth, and Grissom was done.

Edison went to its third pitcher in the bottom of the sixth, but Halifax still did some damage.

With one out, Howerton hustled to second after slicing a double past the third base line. Howerton later advanced to third, and eventually, pinch runner Adrian Moran scored the final run of the game on a wild pitch.

Wilkerson took over for the Edison seventh, and locked down the shutout win. Wilkerson shut down Edison on a ground ball and two strikeouts for a 1-2-3 inning.

Davis’ last turn as the Comet head baseball coach continued to last night’s regional semifinal with Freedom-South Riding.

“This is probably the best hitting and pitching joint operation we’ve had all year ... Everybody’s clicking at the right time and the team is jelling together,” Harris said.

Davis agreed.

“This was a big game. The magnitude of this game ... we definitely need a performance like that. The guys took advantage of the pitching from the other team and we just did what we needed to do,” said Davis.

Grissom “is still throwing the baseball very well for us. We hope he can keep that up for us.”

Grissom worked out of early trouble, but then shook off the pressure.

“Colby’s very stubborn. He’s going to go out there and he’s not going to give in. His curveball was working really well tonight,” said Davis.

Grissom struggled a bit with his fastball.

Tthe Comets played very well, with no baserunning mistakes, Davis said. HCHS also got clutch hitting.

“When that happens, you’re going to see a team over here that’s going to be pretty tough,” said Davis.

Halifax scored twice in the first, three times in the third, one in the fourth and fifth, and one final run in the bottom of the sixth.

“You’re not going to get that (every time) in the game of baseball. Just fortunate for us tonight we got that and we took advantage of it,” said Davis.

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