Experience is big when it comes to post-season playoffs, and the Halifax County High School baseball team has a good measure of it heading into Thursday’s Virginia High School League Class 5 State Tournament semi-final game against Mills Godwin High School at Glen Allen High School.
Five senior starters on the Comets team, pitcher and third baseman Drew Harlow, pitcher and third baseman Alex Lowery, first baseman Shaun Perkins, second baseman Dylan Clark and shortstop Troy Ferrell were all on the diamond in 2017 when Halifax County High School played its way into the state championship game, and, for the third straight year, are playing in the VHSL state tournament.
The Comets lost to Briar Woods High School 5-4 in a 14-inning marathon in the 2017 VHSL state title game, and the five current Comets seniors that were on the 2017 state runner-up team say the experience they gained in that setting is a big factor in the Comets’ favor this time around.
“Five of us having played in the 2017 state championship game really helps us out a lot,” Harlow said.
“It has really boosted our confidence because we have already been in this situation before. We’re back where we were then in 2017. We know what it feels like. We know what to expect.”
Lowery pointed out that having played in the Final Four and in the state championship game in 2017 “makes it easier to understand what’s going on, and easier to stay more relaxed and calm.
“It helps us remember to stay together as a team when we play, and have each other’s back. It also helps us encourage the other players to get ready for an experience they haven’t had yet.”
Ferrell, the Comets’ shortstop, says having played in the Final Four in 2017 provides an extra measure of motivation.
“Our motivation is huge, because we don’t want to have the same feeling we had after the last one,” Ferrell remarked.
“You can loosen up a lot more because you have been in that situation before. You can hopefully calm the rest of the team down with you. We want to get the job done this time.”
Clark, the Comets’ second baseman, echoed his teammates sentiments.
“Being there in 2017 definitely has prepared us for this year,” Clark pointed out.
“In 2017, we learned how the finals felt, and we’re ready for it now.”
Perkins remembers how competing in the 2017 state finals and the loss in the state championship game felt. Those feelings, he said, will be a big motivational factor on Thursday.
“Being there so close (to winning), it hurts,” Perkins remarked.
“We’re all here for one goal, and we’re right here at it again. We’re motivated more than ever.
“The environment out there is so much different than a regular game,” added Perkins.
“Everybody’s just got to go out there and be focused and do their thing. We’ve been doing this for pretty much our whole lives. It’s another thing. We’ll be out there Thursday ready to play. We’re coming out here to win this time.”