Improbable rallies are hard to craft and much more difficult to repeat.
That was a lesson learned by Franklin County’s varsity baseball team Friday night at W.W. Naff Jr. Field.
The teacher: long-time diamond rival Halifax County.
Days removed from a four-run, bottom-of-the eighth inning rally that enabled the Eagles to conquer Tunstall’s Trojans, a duplication of such last-bat heroics was not in the proverbial cards in a 7-4 Piedmont District setback to the Comets.
Instead, it was Halifax which manufactured three runs in the top of the ninth to claim victory, its second this season over Franklin County, in match-up that took almost three hours to complete.
With the win, the Comets maintain their unblemished district record, while Franklin County is saddled with two league setbacks, the earlier one was a one-run defeat to the Comets.
Franklin County cashed in a 4-0 lead, one that the Eagles achieved by scoring two runs each in the first and second frame.
Halifax tallied two runs in the third and one each in the fourth and fifth to produce the stalemate a 4, and neither team scored in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
In the top of the ninth, the Comets took advantage of four hits, all singles, a walk, a sacrifice and a Franklin County error to generate their four runs as the expense of two Eagles relief pitchers.
Drew Harlow, the last of three Halifax pitchers, retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to earn the victory. Harlow threw five innings of relief and permitted one hit and three walks. He struck out 10.
Halifax limited Franklin County to three hits – two base hits by Easton Forbes in four plate appearances and a double by Cameron Mullins that drove in two runs.
Mullins was thrown out at third base as he tried to extend his double into a triple.
Franklin County batters struck out 19 times. The Eagles did benefit from 11 walks and four Halifax errors, while committing three defensive blunders.
Halifax finished the game with 11 hits, including doubles by Dylan Clark, Luke Fulcher, Alex Lowery. Troy Ferrell and Joey Duffer.
Clark and Ferrell each drove in two runs and Shaun Perkins plated three.
Duffer was 3 of 4, while Clark, Perkins and Ferrell each had two hits.
Halifax County batters struck out 17 times and only one drew a walk.
Franklin County stranded 12 runners on base, while Halifax led nine runners aboard.
Franklin County left two runners in scoring position on base in the fourth and in the bottom of the sixth; the Eagles stranded a runner at third. In the eighth, the Eagles had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score.
Perkins drove in two runs in the top of the ninth when he singled on a 3-2 pitch. Also, Perkins drove in the game-tying run in the top of the fifth with a single.
Troy Ferrell started for the Comets and lasted one inning. He yielded one hit, four walks and four runs, while striking out two.
Christian Worley worked three innings and allowed one hit and four walks, while striking out seven.
Will Turner started for Franklin County and lasted five innings. He surrendered seven hits and four runs, two of which were earned, while striking out 11.
Davis Ferguson pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief and was a hard-luck loser for the Eagles. He allowed three hits and all three of Halifax’s ninth-inning runs were charged to him, two of which were earned.
Ferguson struck out six and walked one.
Jacob Moureau tossed 2 /3 of an inning and gave up one hit.