Madi Watkins

Halifax’s Madi Watkins signals the next play during the Comets’ matchup against the Vikings in Tuesday’s tate quarterfinal matchup.

Even though Friday’s loss in the 2022 Class 4 state semifinals will definitely sting for the next couple of days, the Comets will have plenty of positives from this year to look back on when the healing kicks in.

Here’s a look at some of the memories from the 2022 season:

Comets rout Orange County in regional championship to bring home first regional title in six years

Ask any coach or team what their worst nightmare is and it’s a pretty sure shot you would get a reply of having to make a long road trip for a playoff game.

That’s exactly what Halifax had to face this year as it made the 120-plus mile trip to Orange for its Region 4D title game matchup against Orange County.

The Comets weren’t fazed by their journey as they routed the Hornets 10-1 to guarantee a home game in the Class 4 state quarterfinals. Senior Sarah Watts played a big role in the regional title win, driving in a game-high three runs on a home run to left field in the fifth that gave Halifax a 5-0 lead.

Junior Shamya Hankins kept the momentum going in the frame, following Watts’ blast with a solo shot of her own to give the Comets rare back-to-back homers in the regional title tilt. Senior Madison Barnes and junior Jadyn Harlow also drove in a pair of runs while Harlow, Hankins and Watts smacked a pair of hits to lead Halifax as well.

Barnes got the win in the circle, surrendering one run and six hits while striking out seven in the complete-game performance.

Halifax starts playoff run with easy run through Piedmont District tournament

Halifax may have entered the Piedmont District Tournament with a 14-2 record, including a perfect 8-0 mark in district play, but games aren’t played on paper and the Comets still had to show up and play if they wanted to bring home a district title and guarantee themselves a spot in the regional playoffs.

Halifax did just that, defeating Magna Vista and Tunstall to win the 2022 Piedmont tournament title.

Watts led Halifax in its 17-3 win over Magna Vista in the semifinals, driving in three runs on her blast to left in the bottom of the first.

Senior Lynia Reed turned in quite a game against the Warriors, finishing tied with Watts for the game-high in RBIs with three while also finishing knotted with senior Trinity Martin for the game-high in hits with three.

Sophomore Emma Payne and freshman Olivia Seamster had big games as well against Magna Vista, driving in a pair of runs apiece. Harlow drove in a run as well on her solo home run to left in the first that got the Comets off to a quick 4-0 lead.

Once again, Watts led Halifax against Tunstall, driving in a game-high two RBIs on her second homer of the tournament — a two-run shot to left in the third — that pushed the Comets’ lead to 4-0. Senior Madison Watkins was a performer as well, turning in a perfect 3-for-3 performance at the plate against the Trojans.

Emma Payne throws no-hitter against Pulaski County in Region 4D quarterfinals

Any baseball or softball fan worth their salt knows you never mention a no-hitter while the pitcher is in the process of throwing one.

That’s because of how rare a no-no is and fans, players and coaches alike don’t dare mention it in fears of ruining it.

Even more rare than a no-hitter is a no-hitter in the regional playoffs which Payne was able to pull off in the Comets’ regional quarterfinals matchup against Pulaski County.

Payne only allowed two base runners the entire contest, one coming on an error in the first and the other on a walk in the top of the fifth. She also struck out four batters in her seven innings in the circle.

A near-impossible feat for many pitchers, much less a sophomore. She also helped her own cause with a game-high two RBIs as well.

Barnes, Payne team up for a one-hit shutout against Jefferson Forest in regional semis

The Comets were a two-headed monster all season. Halifax had five players hit at least .400 and three players drive in 30-plus run on the season. Even more impressive, Payne and Barnes only surrendered a combined 37 runs (23 unearned) and struck out 122 in a combined 124.1 innings pitched in the regular season. The Comets’ pitching prowess continued in the playoffs with Payne throwing the no-no against Pulaski in the quarterfinals and Barnes and Payne teaming up for a one-hit, shutout against Jefferson Forest in the regional semifinals. The Cavaliers only hit came in the top of the sixth and the Comets’ duo only allowed five base runners the whole contest.

Leaders

Harlow and Watts led Halifax in batting average with each finishing at .400. Harlow recorded two hits against Pulaski, Orange County and Loudoun Valley and drove in a pair of runs against the Hornets in the regional championship game. Watts went 3-for-3 with two RBIs against Jefferson Forest and finished 2-for-3 with a trio of RBIs against Orange County.

She also smacked home runs against the Cavaliers and the Hornets to lead the team with a pair of dingers. Hankins also played a key role, finishing with a line of .267/1/3 over the Comets’ five-game run.

Watts and Barnes led Halifax with six RBIs apiece. Barnes drove in two runs in the regional title game and recorded an RBI in contests against Loudoun Valley and Hanover.

Watts drove in three runs against the Hornets while recording a pair of RBIs against Jefferson Forest.

Payne finished close behind with four RBIs with two coming against Pulaski County in the regional opener. Harlow and Hankins finished tied for third with three RBIs apiece.

Barnes served as the Comets’ ace throughout their run, finishing with a 3-1 record to go along with a 1.94 ERA and 18 strikeouts.

Payne was just as solid, posting a 1-0 record while not giving up a run and striking out nine.