Helena wins regular season area title, will host area tournament

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The final regular season area game between the Helena Huskies and Chelsea Hornets on Wednesday, April 19, had big implications on the line as far as area tournament seeding.

Helena entered the game with a 3-0 area record, while Chelsea came in at 2-1 with their only loss being to the Huskies a few weeks earlier.

A win by Helena meant the Huskies would win Class 6A Area 8 outright, but a win by Chelsea would result in a two-way tie for first place.

In the end, Helena outlasted Chelsea by a score of 2-1 as both starting pitchers did a solid job of limiting hits.

Neither team could break through and push a run across in the first three innings until the Hornets led off the top of the fourth inning with a double.

After Camryn Smith doubled it seemed as though Helena starting pitcher Avery Barnett would pitch around the lead-off double as she retired the next two batters. However, Morgan Seay hit a two-out RBI single to score Smith and give the Hornets a 1-0 advantage.

The lead was be short lived for Chelsea as Peyton Wilkins hit a two-out RBI single to score Meghan Fortson in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Huskies to tie the game 1-1.

The deciding run ultimately came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Grace Robertson hit a one-out single and later advanced to third after a Chelsea error.

Mackenzie Wilson then hit an RBI single to score Robertson to give Helena the 2-1 lead.

Chelsea needed at least one run over the course of the next two innings to extend the game but failed to do so, as Barnett got out of the sixth inning after an error put Chelsea’s Smith at first base. In the top of the seventh inning, Barnett pitched a 1-2-3 inning to end the game and preserve the 2-1 victory.

Wilson and Wilkins both led Helena at the plate with one RBI apiece.

Barnett pitched a complete game scattering five hits while striking out seven as she surrendered one run.

With the win, Helena finished a perfect 4-0 in regular season area play and will now host the area tournament.

To view more photos from the game, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.