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Halifax Debs take two big wins to stay alive

SoVaNow.com / August 02, 2021

Facing elimination in the Dixie Debs World Series, the girls from Virginia battled to a 13-11 win over Texas on Sunday, scoring the winning runs in the top of the seventh.

The Virginia Debs All-Stars from Halifax County took the win against Texas after overcoming Alabama 6-1 earlier in the day. Halifax lost its first game of the series 5-4 to South Carolina on Saturday, placing the team in a must-win position to stay alive throughout the remainder of the tournament.

“They took it a little hard the first game,” Virginia Debs head coach John Newcomb said of the team’s performance against S.C. “We didn’t start hitting till late in the game and it was just too late. I felt like we could have come back and won but it was just wasn’t in our cards.”

“I think they got so hyped up about going to the World Series and then when they were there and actually time to play ... I don’t know if it was nerves or maybe just the adrenaline wore off.”

But it is that loss now driving the girls to win. The team has to win two games today to stay in contention. The first matchup Monday was scheduled at 4 p.m. versus Georgia. Georgia beat Florida and lost to Ruston in earlier competition. A win advances the team; a loss eliminates them.

“We’ve got a good game plan, everybody is positive,” Newton said as Halifax prepared for Monday’s games. “If we win that game (Georgia) then we play again at eight [tonight].”

In the win over Texas, Halifax picked up a run in the top of the first for the 1-0 lead. Alyssa Glasscock worked a walk at the plate. With one down Abby Martin hit a double, advancing Glasscock to third base.

Shamya Hankins batted into a 4-3 out but plated Glasscock for the run. Brittany Barksdale popped out to centerfield to end the frame.

With two down in the top of the second Ruby Long and Isabella Long each had singles for Halifax but were left on the bags. The third inning was quiet for Halifax, save for singles by Glasscock, Skye Newcomb and Hankins.

Texas responded with an eight-run second inning. The opponents had two singles, a double and a home run by Madison Anderson in the inning to jump out to the 8-1 lead.

Halifax rallied in the top of the fourth for eight runs and set Texas down in order at the bottom of the fourth.

Peyton Wallace, Jordyn Lewis and R. Long each made it to the bags on two singles and a fielder’s choice; Wallace would eventually be out on a fielder’s choice.

With two outs Halifax stepped up its game. Kayla Hollingsworth coaxed a walk, Skylar Hoskins blasted a double for two RBIs. Glasscock had a RBI single, and Newcomb was hit by a pitch followed by a hit for Martin for another run driven in.

Hankins reached base on a walk; Barksdale ripped a double plating two more runs; Hankins scored when Wallace returned to bat for the RBI single and Halifax had a 9-8 lead.

Undeterred, Texas’ next move was to plate two runs in the fifth inning to move ahead of Virginia by a run, 10-9. Texas used three singles and a walk to post the runs.

Halifax quickly settled back in and shut down the next three batters to end the rally, leaving Texas with two runners in scoring position.

Outdoor temperatures have not been kind to participating teams in recent days. It was a point during this game where a Texas player had to come out due to heat-related issues. Newcomb explaining the player was having difficulty catching her breath.

“It was 101 degrees and then with the artificial turf it was 127 degrees on the field,” Newcomb noted.

R. Long and I. Long had a single and walk, respectively, in the fifth. R. Long scored after being sent home on a Hollingsworth 6-3 out to tie the game at 10-10.

Halifax moved back out front in the sixth inning. Newcomb was hit by a pitch to reach base; Martin batted a single. Barksdale had a RBI sending Newcomb home and pushing Halifax out front, 11-10.

Virginia notched two runs at the top of the seventh, raising the score to 13-10. Lewis had a leadoff double while R. Long was hit by a pitch. With two outs Hoskins drew a walk, Glasscock was hit by a pitch, and Lewis and Long went on to score runs for the 13-10 lead.

Texas gathered one additional run to end the game for the 13-11 final. Halifax totaled 15 hits and left a total of 11 runners on base.

Barksdale tossed three innings from the circle for Halifax. She got the start and threw in the second and seventh innings to close out. Martin pitched four innings.

Halifax 6, Alabama 1

Alabama jumped out to a 1-0 second-inning lead and held it until the fourth when Halifax answered with two runs and four more in the fifth for the 6-1 win.

Shamya Hankins lifted two homeruns in the game. She had a two-RBI long ball in the fourth and added a three-run fence clearer in the fifth. Coach Newcomb said the second homer Hankins hit cleared the fence so far that people were going around taking a look and commenting on the distance it covered.

“Shamya got a two-run homer and then she knocked a three-run homer,” said Newcomb.

The coach said Hankins was batting while nursing a possible error call that was discussed being charged to her while she was on defense. Hankins’ long ball abilities aren’t unknown to local softball fans as she had a hefty share of homeruns this past season with the HCHS Comets varsity girls softball team.

“It was 100 feet past a 200 foot fence,” Newcomb commented with a chuckle. “Everybody came around and just couldn’t believe how far the ball had traveled. She let the stick make up for any error.”

Halifax had 14 hits in the game while leaving eight runners on base. R. Long had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two singles and a double. Newcomb, Wallace, and Lewis were each 2-for-3 at bat. Martin, Glasscock, Barksdale and Hoskins scattered singles.

Martin and Hankins scored the fourth inning runs; Hoskins, Glasscock, Newcomb and Hankins posted the four runs in the fifth.

Martin earned the win from the circle going six innings. Barksdale came in to relieve Martin in the seventh.

“I knew we had a real good chance and we’re going to come out and be different team. Everybody had rested and everybody looked a lot better,” Newcomb stated. “Good hits, making good plays — there weren’t any errors.”


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