HMS softball caps off record-breaking 34-1 season with championship

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The word domination might not do the Helena Middle School softball team justice when describing their 2017 season.

The HMS softball team blew through the competition en route to a 34-1 overall record and a league championship as they broke several records along the way in the historic season.

HMS head coach Mark Sanders has been coaching softball for 16 years and said it’s one of the best teams he’s been a part of.

“The first thing that stands out would be their athletic ability,” Sanders said. “They’re extremely athletic and great softball players. They knew the game really well before coming to the middle school team. The second thing after that would be how they love each other unconditionally. This was a true team in every sense of the word. There was not one kid on that team that was selfish about what role they had and their focus was that the team goal was more important than individual goals. We had 19 unselfish girls.”

Out of the 34 wins the HMS softball team accumulated, 19 of those were shutouts and the Huskies only played three 7-inning games during the season because of the mercy rule. The lone loss in the season came in extra innings.

The Huskies played in five tournaments and won four of them, including the Thompson Tournament, McAdory Tournament, Bumpus Tournament and the League Tournament.

The League Tournament at the end of the season was a seeded double-elimination tournament. HMS defeated McAdory 4-2, Chelsea 8-0 in the semifinals and in the championship game defeated Chelsea again by a score of 11-0.

“It was just a special year and a lot of records were set,” Sanders said. “This is just an extraordinary group of players and parents, just a fabulous group. It was an honor to work with them and be their coach.”

Other accomplishments in the season included several no hitters thrown by HMS pitchers as well as a perfect game. Sanders also recorded his 350th win as a softball coach at the middle school level.

Sanders emphasized that the season would not of been possible without the support from HMS administrators and coaches.

“We have great administrators here and great support with Scott Knight, Jennifer Cofer and Bakari Young,” Sanders said. “Those three people along with our athletic directors Bobby Cummings and Meredith George are so supportive of our sports programs. They come to games, they cheer us on and talk to our players and they’re just wonderful to work for. Two of my assistant coaches Bruce Howland and Steve Wallace did a phenomenal job this year and we couldn’t of done it without them.”

The 2017 Helena Middle School softball players are as follows:

–Camryn Bailey

–Kaysi Bargman

–Grayson Barnett

–Emma Bjornstad

–Lexie Bullock

–Daisy Capps

–Emily Crowe

–Peyton Doriety

–Elise Dufour

–Autumn Edmonds

–Alex Erwin

–Sara Ezekiel

–Bella Holliday

–Haley Morris

–Madison Porter

–Alana Scott

–Ann Marie Stanbridge

–Raegan Thrasher

–Julia Wilkins