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Lady Comets blink

South Boston News
Comet catcher Ashley Watts looked for the ball in attempt to make a tag on Franklin County’s Taylor Greenway. Greenwood scored in the fifth giving the Eagles the 1-0. (David Conner II photo) / April 29, 2013
Another tense pitching duel, more classic Franklin County-Halifax County showdown action in varsity softball.

This time, the Eagles prevailed, 1-0, as junior hurler Hali Saul barely outpitched Comet freshman Taylor Barnes Friday night. The teams are now tied in the loss column in Western Valley district softball.

The game was decided in the top of the fifth inning.

Taylor Greenway solved Barnes momentarily, slapping a well-hit single to right field. Cameron Cundiff laid down a sacrifice to get the runner into scoring position. Ashley Keith slapped a base hit past second, and Greenway was able to slide home ahead of the throw.

HCHS never got to Saul, who worked a complete game. She emerged as the winner.

Barnes fanned 11 batters, including five of the first six Eagles she faced. She issued one walk and allowed two hits. HCHS missed a chance to put a near-stranglehold on the WVD regular season title.

Saul fanned two Comets, walked three and yielded two hits. And she got the win.

HCHS head coach Melanie Saunders knew FCHS had momentum after defeating Jefferson Forest.

Both teams played well defensively, as FCHS had one error and the Comets had none.

“Both pitchers pitched a heck of a game. The catchers did great behind the plate,” said Saunders.

“The difference is, they got the hit with the runner in scoring position and were able to score.

“We had runners in scoring position five times, and couldn’t score. We couldn’t get the (key) hit. That makes the biggest difference. You’ve got to at least squeak one of those through there,” said Saunders.

“We definitely could have beaten them. We just didn’t get hits at the right time, and we left a lot of runners on base,” Barnes said.

Barnes said her drop curve was her best pitch Friday in an effort that fell just short. “I tried my hardest,” she said.

But she remains confident about any possible playoff with FCHS.

“I think we’re going to end up coming back, and we’re going to beat them,” said Barnes.

FCHS went quietly in the top of the first, but Halifax threatened in the bottom of the inning. Halifax got two runners on with two out, after Barnes was hit by a pitch. But a force out ended the inning.

Halifax threatened in the bottom of the second.

With one out, Cori Campbell lined a single into short right, but she was forced at second. Ashley Watts then sent a stronger poke into right.

Tayler Mosley reached on a hard shot to first base.

Bases loaded, two outs.

Miyanna Ross battled to a 2-2 count, before a grounder was scooped up by shortstop Logan Barbour for the final out.

In the top of the fourth, FCHS’ McKenzie Chitwood singled, and a wild pitch got her to second. But Barnes got a strikeout for the final out of the inning.

Halifax went down in the bottom of the fourth, but FCHS finally got all the advantage it needed in the fifth.

After the run scored, the Lady Comets executed a crisp double play started to Barnes to get to the bottom of the inning, but the damage had been done.

HCHS got more offense going in its half of the fifth, as Watts walked.

Mosley bunted perfectly to get the runner into scoring position, and Ross grounded out to third. The inning ended on a fly ball off the bat of Megan Puckett hauled in by FC rightfielder Keith.

Halifax generated more tension in the bottom of the sixth.

Meg Bane reached on a throwing error. Kye-Neisha Logan bunted Bane to second. Bane got to third on a Barnes groundout, but Campbell made the final out of the inning on a flyball to right, hauled in by Keith.

Barnes completed the seventh, and then Halifax had one more chance against Saul.

Elliott made a groundout, Watts fanned and then the FCHS hauler threw out Mosley for the final out of the game.

Forbes is hoping for a playoff to settle the no. 1 spot in the WVD regular standings. But neither the Comets or FC have played PH. The Pats have been a scary team in recent years, so Forbes is hoping the Eagles take care of business to force a playoff.

Saunders said the Comets have work ahead.

“We’ll work to make sure we get those hits when kids are on second. You’ve got to have the confidence and take it opposite field and just move the runners. We just didn’t do that tonight,” said Saunders.

Saunders said the Comets and Eagles are more evenly matched than they’ve been recently.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to get back to Franklin (in a playoff, likely at a neutral site) and play them again,” said Saunders. “But we’ve got to get through these other games. We’ve got to realize what we’ve got to work on. We’ve got to stay up and can’t let this defeat us and bring us down.”

HCHS face PH today in district action.

HCHS is now 10-2 overall and 4-1 in the WVD.

FCHS improved to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in the WVD.

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