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Comets were two outs away from championship shot

South Boston News
Comet shortstop Troy Ferrell gets the out at second and makes the throw to first for doubleplay in Thursday’s state class 5 baseball semifinal against Godwin. (David Conner II photo) / June 18, 2019

Halifax County High School baseball coach Kenneth Day and his staff really believed a state Class 5 title was possible, but once again, the Comets fell short in the worst possible moment.

Halifax was two outs from a state title, and then Godwin overcame a two-run deficit in its final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh.

Day took the 5-4 loss in stride.

“We had opportunities to put some runs on the board. Just didn’t take advantage of it. The kids played really well again.

“That’s one of the best teams in the state of Virginia (Godwin). We were right there with them,” said Day.

Halifax has now gotten to the seventh inning twice in the past three years with a state title in its sights. Two years ago, Halifax and Briar Woods battled through 14 innings before the Northern Virginia club shaded the Comets.

On Thursday, Halifax was two outs away. Then, Godwin capitalized on an error in centerfield. Moments later, the Eagles were celebrating.

Comet starter Drew Harlow seemed to have found his comfort zone, but the pitch count rule forced him back to third.

“Drew (Harlow) pitched a great game again …Nothing to be ashamed of, proud of our seniors, the way they led us all year,” said Day.

Day expressed pride in the Comet accomplishments.

Halifax had three times with the bases loaded and could not get a run home.

“I think we left opportunities on the board. That ain’t the only thing we did. We had opportunities, and we just didn’t take advantage of them,” said Day.

“(Against) really good teams, you’ve got to take advantage of (strong chances),” said Day.

He noted it’s hard to hold good-hitting teams like Godwin down. The Eagles got three runs in the bottom of the first. Godwin, which missed some chances and had one base running mistake, eventually broke through in the seventh.

Halifax had a superb campaign, and the Comets showed emotion at the end. But these players will recover, and baseball delivers tough losses to even the best teams.

Dylan Clark, who had the go-ahead RBI, connected on a curveball to lift Halifax to a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth.

That’s how it stayed, until the Comets dropped a one-run decision in the Godwin seventh.

The defensive effort was outstanding, and Halifax had to deal with adversity.

“It sucks losing in the bottom of the seventh by one (run),” said Clark.

Godwin got humbled Friday in the state final, losing to a Stafford team that also defeated Halifax in extra innings in the region final.

Godwin’s Bryce Safferwich knew his two-run double was a difference-maker.

“I was like, that’s it. We’re going to the state championship.”

He took a fastball and wondered if the Comets would put him on after the count went 2-0.

Safferwich has given James Madison a verbal commitment. He’s just a junior on a senior-dominated club.

Godwin head coach John Fletcher said, “The moment has never gotten too big this season. We have 15 seniors, and they’ve played together for a long time.

“All year long, we’ve said, just create opportunities. Just give yourself the opportunity to win it in the end,” said the head coach.

Godwin celebrated its win over the Comets. Then Stafford came through in the finals to nail down the state title.

This was the last turn in Class 5 for Halifax. Next spring, the Comets are dropping down to Class 4, but that is still expected to be very competitive.

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