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Lady Comets needed a win, got it

South Boston News
SoVaNow.com / May 02, 2013
Several Comets played key roles as the varsity softball team subdued a stubborn PH-Roanoke team, 13-7, in a district showdown game Tuesday in South Boston.

HCHS improved to 4-1 in the district. The Comets have an unusual assignment tomorrow, playing PH again in Roanoke as part of a WVD doubleheader - the Comets stay in the Star City and play William Fleming later.

Then, the regular season ends with GW next week.

Franklin County is also 4-1. The Eagles have three games left, including GW at home and PH and Fleming on the road. It appears, barring an upset, the Comets and FC Eagles are headed to a neutral site showdown to determine the regular season champion and the no. 1 regional seeding.

But HCHS needed to win Tuesday to keep pace with Franklin County. The Comets eventually put PH away.

Miyanna Ross had a critical three-run double, while Kye-Neisha Logan provided more offensive help. Taylor Barnes pitched shutdown softball at the beginning and end of the game.

It was a strange contest.

The Comets led 2-0 after the second inning and appeared to blow the contest open with a eight-run fourth.

But PH made things a little more problematic, forcing Comet coach Melanie Saunders to bring Taylor Barnes, who had started, back into the game to prevent a PH rally.

HCHS then found some late offense to pad its margin against PH, which still could get in the mix in the regular season title picture. That would be a challenge, since PH now has losses to Halifax and Franklin, and the Patriots cannot afford any more slip-ups.

Halifax generated situational offense when needed.

“We did, and that’s one thing that was different against Franklin County. We could not put the hits together and advance the runners. Today was good. We were able to make advancements on the bases and score some runs early. And the kids that don’t normally get a lot of playing time got to play today. PH started making some hits and we started making a few errors behind them.

“But saw some good things. Saw some hits we weren’t getting Friday against Franklin,” said Comet head coach Melanie Saunders.

Saunders is also looking to re-ignite some added momentum and intensity for the doubleheader tomorrow.

HCHS started a little slowly against PH.

Cori Campbell cracked an RBI triple and Ashley Watts had a run-scoring single in the second, and HCHS had a 2-0 lead.

But the Comets did not break the game open until the bottom of the fourth inning.

Cecilie Elliott reached on an error, and Taylor Barnes reached on another error. Cori Campbell put down an infield hit to load the bases.

Ashley Watts made it 3-0 after drawing a walk.

Leadoff hitter Tayler Mosley then draw another bases-loaded walk, making it 4-0.

Miyana Ross then delivered the key hit of the game, a scorcher to the wall that sent three Comets home.

“I wanted to score some runs for my team. We were down. I’m glad I cleared the bases for everybody,” said Ross. “I’m glad I could pick my team up and score some runs. It’s contagious. Once one person hits, everybody starts hitting.”

HCHS got key hits with runners in scoring position.

Logan later doubled off a PH outfielder’s glove and two more Comets scored.

Logan said, “it (the pitch) was right there. I was happy I could hit it, (so) those two runs could score.”

The big hit made Logan even more confident.

Barnes later added an RBI single in the fourth.

PH, however, proved stubborn and came back with four runs in the fifth and three in the sixth against Courtney Epps, who entered in the top of the fifth. Epps, hampered by shaky defense, struggled a bit. HCHS made several errors in the field during the PH comeback.

“Courtney did fine. Some errors behind her, and (PH) got her timing. ... You can’t assume anything. We brought Taylor back in. They were having a hard time adjusting to her speed. We had to do that and try to shut the game down. We had to get this win to get ourselves on into Friday in hopes of seeing FCHS again,” said Saunders.

Finally, after PH had drawn within 11-7, Saunders had seen enough. She summoned Barnes back to mound after PH managed a three-run triple, and the freshman cut the rally off by getting the final out of the PH sixth.

The Comets got two runs back on an RBI single from Ashley Watts and an RBI sacrifice from Mosley.

Barnes retired three straight PH batters in the top of the seventh, and the drama was over.

HCHS finished with ten hits, enough to hold off PH. Logan singled and doubled and walked, scoring twice and adding two RBI. Cori Campbell had an RBI triple and a single, while scoring twice. Watts had two key late RBI and scored twice.

Barnes was very effective on the mound, stranding one PH runner at second in the first inning. Barnes walked one runner in the third and another reached on a Comet error in the fourth.

Barnes finished with eight Ks, spread over two stints. HCHS also got strong offense and generated positive offense at the right time.

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