Helena pitches its way past Russell County to open playoffs

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Many players on the Helena High School baseball team had a different look on Friday, April 21, sporting dyed bleach blonde hair under their white and blue HHS baseball caps for the first round of the 6A AHSAA playoffs.

Hair color aside, Helena proved once again why they’re one of the hottest teams in the state as they put away Russell County with ease, sweeping the Warriors by scores of 6-0 and 5-1 in a best of three series to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Game 1. Helena 6 – Russell County 0

For many games this season, Helena has relied on a solid starting pitching rotation and in game one of the playoffs, the Huskies provided more evidence of this.

Riley Davis toed the rubber in game one for the Huskies and pitched a gem. Davis pitched a three-hit shutout on just 78 pitches while also striking out three.

Helena got one run apiece in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead to give Davis some run support.

The Huskies then blew the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning scoring four runs to take a 6-0 lead that would prove to be the final.

The inning began with a leadoff walk. Sam Praytor was the next batter and doubled to left field to score Davis from first to push the lead to 3-0. Brooks Brophy then hit an RBI single to make it 4-0. The biggest blow then came with two outs in the inning as Braylon Moss singled on a full-count pitch that would score Brophy and Nash Adams.

Brophy and Adams both went 2-for-4 and Moss went 2-for-3 to lead the Huskies at the plate.

Game 2. Helena 5 – Russell County 1

In game two of the best of three series, Helena got on the scoreboard quickly as the Huskies scored three runs in the top of the first inning.

Praytor hit an RBI double, followed by a two-RBI triple by Adams to make it 3-0 Helena.

Helena got another quality start from a starting pitcher as Troy Cordrey went the distance for the Huskies.

Cordrey pitched a five-hit complete game surrendering just one run while striking out five Warrior batters.

It seemed as though the Huskies may not surrender a run in the series but Russell County finally got on the scoreboard for the first time in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single.

In the end, the lone run didn’t mean much as Helena outscored the Warriors 11-1 in two games and also got two complete games from Davis and Cordrey on the mound.

The Huskies should be well rested going into the second round of the playoffs. Helena never went to their bullpen against Russell County and avoided playing a third game on Saturday because of the sweep.

Helena will travel to face Opelika in round two of the playoffs on Friday, April 28. Game one will be Friday at 5 p.m., followed by game two. If necessary, game three will be Saturday, April 29 at 1 p.m.

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