Helena softball shuts out Pelham for first area win
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
HELENA–After weeks of playing non-area opponents, the Helena Huskies softball team got their first crack at rival Pelham in their first area game of the season on Tuesday, March 22, and they took full advantage of the opportunity, shutting out the Panthers 7-0.
In a three team area, each game will mean a lot going forward and it was Helena that got a jumpstart in the standings behind strong pitching from starter Avery Barnett and solid approaches at the plate.
Helena got on the scoreboard quickly in the first inning when Grace Robertson hit a triple to score Tamar Watts to put the Huskies up 1-0. The next batter was Katie Lively who doubled to centerfield to score Robertson to make it 2-0 Helena after one inning.
In her second plate appearance in the bottom of the third, Lively hit another double to score Chaney Handley and Robertson to make it 4-0. Later in the inning, Maggie Blanton singled to drive in Lively.
Leading 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Lively essentially put the game away with a two-run home run over the centerfield wall to make it 7-0 Helena.
Lively had an unbelievable day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. Helena finished with 11 hits as a team.
In the circle, Barnett took advantage of the run support and pitched a complete game while giving up just four hits. Barnett struck out three and walked one batter.
“Our defense was working really well today and they were playing great behind me,” Barnett said. “We were hitting great too so I felt really comfortable out there, which helps me be more confident in my pitches so that helps a lot. Going into it I was working a lot on my spins throughout the week and preparing for this.”
Seven different Huskies recorded at least one hit in the win over Pelham in a game that head coach Heidi Kouveras said will give them confidence going forward.
“It puts us in a good upward movement for Chelsea I think as far as confidence level and feeling good about the way we’re taking cuts at the plate,” Kouveras said. “We’ve been doing really well lately adjusting from the slower pitching to quicker pitching which is normally hard for most teams but I think this is just a confidence win.”
With the win, Helena improved to 10-7 overall and 1-0 in area play.