Helena sweeps Calera to start area play 2-0

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

In two completely different games, the Helena Huskies were able to pick up two wins against the Calera Eagles March 18-19 to start area play with a sweep.

The first game on Thursday, March 18 saw the Huskies outlast the Eagles in nine innings thanks to a five-run top of the ninth, while the second game a day later went much faster thanks to a 17-3 victory in five innings.

In the opening game between the two, Helena started the game off with a run in the top of the first thanks to a home run from Landon Leake, while Calera followed with an RBI triple from Matthew Windham.

Windham then broke a 1-1 tie by scoring on a wild pitch to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead through the first inning.

At that point, it look like a back-and-forth game was set to take place, but both teams saw their pitchers settle in and become determined to not let that happen.

For Calera, it was Matthew Bullard, whose only blemish the rest of the way was an RBI single from Noah Gwin in the top of the fifth, which tied the game 2-2.

Bullard, however, got three consecutive outs with runners on first and second to get out of that jam and went on to finish his night with 10 strikeouts. He didn’t allow another run the rest of the way and gave up just six hits while getting the Eagles through the eighth still tied.

For Helena, it was a combination of Jack Freeman and Gavin Daniel. After giving up two in the first, Freeman bounced back and didn’t allow another run in his 3 2/3 innings on the mound. He struck out five and allowed four hits in that span.

Gavin Daniel then stepped in to finish the final 5 1/3 innings, striking out six more and giving up just one hit.

The difference, however, came when Bullard had to be pulled due to pitch count going into the ninth inning.

The Huskies took advantage of seeing a new arm and put their drought at the plate behind them.

A walk to Brock Sisson led off the inning, while an RBI double from Connor Gibbs made it 3-2 Helena with one out.

A hit batter and a single set the stage for a sac fly from Brody Moss to make it 4-2 with two outs.

The Huskies still weren’t done as Leake picked up a walk to give McGwire Turner a chance. He took the third pitch he saw to center field for a two-RBI double that put the Huskies up 7-2 and completed a five-run inning.

The Eagles put two runners aboard with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but Daniel struck out the next batter to finish off the victory.

Helena was led by Turner with a 2-for-5 game featuring three RBIs. Gwin added two hits and one RBI, while Moss, Leake and Gibbs each had one RBI.

Calera was led by Carter Sheehan with two hits, while Windham finished with the one hit and one RBI.

The second game got off to a similar start after Calera scored three runs in the top of the third, followed by four from Helena in the bottom half.

It looked again like there might be a back-and-forth battle, but this time around, it was a one-sided outing the rest of the way in favor of Helena.

The Huskies added an eight-run second inning, which deflated the Eagles and paved the way for a 17-3 victory after Helena scored five more in the fourth to end the game in the top of the fifth.

Helena was led by Tyler Jon Santos and Griff Minor with three hits each, while Minor also added an RBI. Turner finished 1-foor-1 with two walks, two RBIs and three runs scored. Moss went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Ryan Storey and Gwin each added two hits and one RBI. Jordan Pearson finished with one hit and one RBI.

Calera got one hit and two RBIs from Connor Odom to lead the way.

Following a tough first inning that saw three unearned runs score, Jacob Peters bounced back to strike out seven and pick up the complete-game win on the mound.