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Lady Comet notebook / May 30, 2013
Tayler Mosley is the kind of softball player who can drive opposing coaches crazy.

Mosley bats leadoff for the Comets, where she’s charged with getting on base and sparking the offense. She did enough Monday in the Comets’ tension-filled 1-0 win over Battlefield in Northwest Regional action at the HCHS field.

Mosley got three at-bats and produced one hit, in the bottom of the fourth innning. With one out, Megan Puckett punched through an RBI single - looking something like a drooping fly ball - that got Mosley home.

But Mosley had showed hustle, moving from first to third on a difficult dribbler put down by no. 2 hitter Miyana Ross. It was the kind of play that proved very important in this game. Then Mosley scored on Puckett’s hit.

“Every time I get on base, I’m always ready for the steal sign. I’m always ready to go,” she said.

“(Comet head coach Melanie) Saunders gave Miyana the bunt sign and she fought it off twice. And then she hit. ... When I got to second, I made my turn and I saw the first baseman, she wasn’t there, and the pitcher. I knew I could get to third,” she said.

Mosley said scoring the run - which eventually proved to be the game winner - felt good.

“Saunders always told us one key play could win us a ballgame, and it did,” said Mosley.

Saunders said Mosley is an instinctive base runner.

“She knows she has a green light, and if she sees something and she thinks she can get there, she knows to do it,” said Saunders.

Mosley got into scoring position and Puckett’s bloop hit was all the Comets needed Monday.

HCHS also used good execution en route to Mosley’s game-winning score, as the Comets hit behind the runners and used the proper execution.

Miyana Ross also had a leadership role, with excellent defense at third base, and other intangible contributions. She helped clear the way for Mosley to get to third in the fourth, when the leadoff batter eventually scored the winning run.

“I’m glad we pulled it out, to get the win,” said Ross. The defense “stopped everything in the infield and we caught what we’re supposed to catch. We got basic plays when we’re supposed to.”

Puckett, who grounded out in the first inning and fanned in the sixth, delivered with an RBI base hit in the fourth. It might not have been a powerful punch, but the safety put down proved to be the game-winning hit.

Puckett agreed this was her most critical offensive contribution of the season. “It moved us on in the regionals. Hopefully, we can go on to state. It was important,” said the Comet centerfielder.

Puckett sees the Comet formula for success. “We’ve got to keep making the basic plays and hitting the ball when we can, and we’ll get through it.” The RBI hit off Puckett’s bat wasn’t all that impressive, but that also is irrelevant. HCHS won, and advanced. Case closed.

“That’s usually how it happens. Those little bloop hits, they’re in the hole. That’s what scores the run sometimes. It was an outside pitch. I went with it, and hoped for the best,” said Puckett.

Saunders noted the RBI will help Puckett’s confidence.

“At this point in time, it’s more mental than it is physical. At this point, everybody physically can do what they need to do. They just have to come in mentally confident, and ready, because at this point ... all the teams are going to be good. You’re going to have a solid pitcher-catcher combo. They’re going to have kids who can hit.

“Every game from here on out, including today, is definitely hard,” said Saunders, noting Battlefield always has a solid program.

Comet pitcher Taylor Barnes crafted another outstanding effort on the mound. She clearly had something left in the bottom of the seventh, fanning the side in Battlefield’s final at-bat.

“I was ready. I wanted to get them out, and get it over with. I was coming at them real hard,” said the winner of Monday’s pitching duel.

Barnes said her changeup was her most effective pitch. She got her last two outs on a changeup.

Barnes has had a remarkable season for any pitcher, in any class. She’s a freshman and in position to be a significant force in the program for a while.

“High school’s a lot different. The farther we go, the more competitive we have, and it gets better. And you have to work a lot harder.”

Barnes worked though some early challenges in this regional win and ultimately stranded five batters.

“I’d love to go to state. I think we can do it, if we work hard and have a lot of confidence and work together,” said Barnes, who finished strong with three consecutive strikeouts. Barnes retired four in a row to end the game, and let her defense work well behind her.

Barnes “is the real deal. She’s a good pitcher, and we’ve told her, just throw the ball up there, keep them off balance. She and (catcher) Ashley (Watts) do a great job.

“Ashley does a great job behind the plate calling pitches for her and recognizing what the batters are doing,” Saunders said.

Barnes did a good job of keeping Battlefield off balance, using her defense behind her. “Taylor really has come through for us. She’s done a good job on the mound. We try to make sure she understands she doesn’t have to do it all there, give ‘em the pitch and let the defense work behind you. “That’s what we preach. It’s a team effort,” Saunders said.

HCHS is now 2-2 against Battlefield.

Saunders noted the progress of this Comet team. It’s also been an excellent year for the coaching staff.

“For this team here, the way we started off in the beginning, we had a lot of kids we had to iron out. For them to get to this point and beat a quality team like Battlefield says a lot for these kids. And they’ve worked hard,” Saunders said.

“They’ve had to work ... every practice and every game to get here. And it’s really nice to see their hard work has paid off to get them here to this point, because Battlefield is a very strong program, always have been,” Saunders said.

Saunders wanted more of a cushion, but the defense stood up and the Comets made the lone run stand up.

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