Clean sweep: Huskies dominate in wins over rival Pelham
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
The week of March 20 was critical for the Helena and Pelham baseball teams as both had aspirations of getting a leg up in the Class 6A Area 8 standings.
The teams faced off three times in three days and it was the Huskies who took all three games over their rival to move to 3-0 in area play.
Helena won the first meeting by a score of 7-2 on March 21, followed up with a 9-2 win and a 12-2 win in a doubleheader on March 23.
Game 1. Helena 7 – Pelham 2
In the first area game of the season, Helena traveled to Pelham to face off against the rival Panthers and a 5-run second inning and four errors committed by Pelham was the difference in the Huskies’ 7-2 win.
Pelham scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when John Michael Long drove in Mitchell Rottier from third base to make it 1-0.
Helena quickly answered in the top of the second inning with five runs to take a 5-1 lead.
Pelham starting pitcher Rottier began the top of the second inning with a walk and hit by pitch and Helena took advantage of the miscues.
Nick Ragsdale and Braylon Moss hit back-to-back singles and Moss drove in Brooks Brophy and Troy Cordrey to make it 2-1 Huskies.
Later in the inning, Helena made a two-out rally as Jake Busby reached base on a Pelham error that also scored Ragsdale. Riley Davis then doubled on a line drive to center field to score Moss to extend the lead to 4-1. The final run of the inning came on a Sam Praytor single that scored Busby.
Both teams were held in check over the next couple of innings until Helena scored two more runs in the top of the sixth to take a 7-1 lead.
Pelham tacked on one run in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Garrett Stonicher but that’s as close as the Panthers would get.
On the mound, Davis threw five innings for Helena allowing five hits and striking out four. Brophy did a fantastic job in relief, as he allowed no hits in the final two innings.
Game 2. Helena 9 – Pelham 2
Two days later, Helena and Pelham met again for the first of two games on March 23.
Helena’s offense strung together four straight innings scoring at least one run in a balanced 9-2 win in game one of the doubleheader.
Leading 2-0, Helena tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning after Brophy hit an RBI single to score Davis, and Ragsdale hit an RBI single to score Lawson Peoples.
Pelham’s only two runs of the game came in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Clark to score Rottier and an error that scored Stonicher to cut Helena’s lead to 4-2.
Helena essentially put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Huskies strung together a 5-run inning using timely hitting to take advantage of Pelham pitching mistakes.
Pelham surrendered three walks and Helena hit three singles and a fielder’s choice in the inning to make it 9-2.
Landon Green earned the win for Helena after pitching a no-hitter in five innings while striking out six. Brophy came in for relief for the second time in two days and recorded the final six outs while giving up three hits.
At the plate, Ragsdale led the Huskies going 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Game 3. Helena 12 – Pelham 2
The final game of the week between the two rivals was a chance for Helena to complete a sweep or Pelham to salvage a game in the series, and it was Helena that capitalized in a big 12-2 win in a shortened game due to the 10-run rule.
Helena finished with 12 runs on 12 hits and scored runs in each of the five innings.
Pelham recorded just two hits in the game and committed five errors as a team, which didn’t bode well in the final game of the doubleheader.
Leading 3-1, Helena put the game away in the third and fourth innings by scoring four runs a piece in each frame.
In the bottom of the third, Wesley Featherstone hit a two-RBI double to score Green and Brett Walton. RBI singles by Trevor Bell and Busby later in the inning extended Helena’s lead to 7-1.
The next inning, a pair of two-RBI singles by Moss and Busby blew the game open as the Huskies led 11-1.
The play that completed the 10-run rule was another RBI single by Moss in the bottom of the fifth that scored Brophy and gave Helena the 12-2 victory.
Cordrey pitched all five innings for Helena as he struck out six and allowed just two hits on 59 total pitches. Cordrey also had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-3.
With the three game sweep of Pelham, the Huskies are now in the driver’s seat of the Class 6A Area 8 standings. Helena has now won six in a row and nine of their last 10 games to improve to 15-3 on the season.