Helena walks off in area opener against Calera

Published 10:01 am Friday, March 18, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – After they seemingly lost all of the momentum in the top of the sixth inning by giving up four runs, the Helena Huskies didn’t panic in their area opener against county foe Calera on Thursday, March 17.

The Huskies, who led 3-0 going into the sixth, fell behind 4-0 after the Eagles scored four in the top of the sixth.

That score remained intact in the bottom of the seventh with Helena looking to overcome the loss of momentum.

After a strikeout started the inning, it became more bleak, but a single from Connor Gibbs and walk from Miles Mitchell put two aboard with one out.

Another strikeout followed, but Reese Mims then walked to load the bases with two outs.

Alex Brown then stepped to the plate, and in a 2-1 count, he drove a ball to center field that not only allowed Gibbs to score, but with two down and the runners running on contact, pinch runner Tucker Bryan rounded third and got home for the 5-4 walk-off victory.

With the win, Helena improved to 7-6 on the season and 1-0 in area play, while Calera fell to 5-8 overall and 0-1 in area play with their fifth tight loss of the season.

Helena got the scoring started in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from McGwire Turner, while Jarrett Scott drove home two more an inning later with a double.

But Calera put together an impressive top of the sixth.

The Eagles led off with singles from Preston Stokes, Matthew Windham and Connor Odom to load the bases with no outs.

The next three at bats featured two errors and an RBI single from Bentley Berry to quickly tie the game.

A bases-loaded walk to Tyler Douglas then gave Calera the lead.

A big moment, however, followed for Helena.

With the bases still loaded and no outs, the inning could have been more damaging, but Mitchell Rhodes settled in on the mound and struck out three in a row to end the threat and keep Helena down by one.

That kept the Huskies in the game, and set the stage for the walk-off in the final inning.

Scott finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs at the plate for Helena, while Turner finished 2-for-3 with an RBI. Brown added multiple RBIs, totaling two on one hit.

Rhodes got the win after pitching six innings, striking out seven and allowing four runs on five hits and two walks. Ryan Pearson got through the seventh inning quickly, allowing one hit, but forcing a double play and a strikeout.

Calera was led by Odom with a 2-for-3 game. Christian Byrley, Berry, Mac Graham and Douglas all had RBIs for the Eagles in the loss.

Stokes got the start on the mound and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits.