Helena wins two on day one of state tournament, one of final four teams left

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

OXFORD –  For the second year in a row, the Helena Huskies became one of the final four teams left standing in the 6A softball season after winning two games to open the state tournament on Tuesday, May 17 at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park.

The Huskies ultimately fell to Athens in a top-three battle in their final game of the day to finish the opening day of the tournament one win shy of advancing to the state championships.

Even with that, thanks to winning their first two games of the tournament, the Huskies are still just a win away from that spot, while they’ll need to wins against Athens if they make it.

In their opening game of the tournament, Cam Bailey was flawless in the circle, which continued for most of the day.

She helped Helena pick up a 3-0 shutout against Robertsdale behind 11 strikeouts. Bailey was one hit away from a perfect game, as she allowed no walks and one run in the complete-game shutout.

At the plate, she helped herself out with a hit and RBI in the win, while Bella Holliday added one RBI. The Huskies also got hits from Presley Lively, Alex Erwin and Haley Morris in the win.

That kept them in the winner’s bracket for a battle with No. 6 Mortimer Jordan, but the Huskies quickly fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first and trailed 7-2 after the top of the fourth.

But with an offense that can get hot in a hurry, they didn’t panic.

Helena came back with two runs in the fourth, four in the fifth and two in the sixth to storm in front.

The four in the fifth tied the game, while Alana Scott gave them the lead in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single followed by a sac fly from Ann Marie Stanbridge that made it 10-8.

Mortimer Jordan did load the bases in the top of the seventh looking to stay alive, but a pop out ended the threat and kept Helena in the winner’s bracket.

Bailey struck out four and allowed one run on four hits in 3 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

At the plate, Lively went 3-for-3 with one RBI, while Morris went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Scott and Stanbridge also added two RBIs on one hit each, while Holliday finished with a hit and one RBI. Bailey added multiple hits with two in the win.

With a spot in the championship on the line against Athens and an easier path to the title, Helena fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning, which became too much to overcome against one of the state’s top pitchers.

The Huskies scored one run in the top of the third but ultimately left runners in scoring position throughout to prevent tying or taking the lead and leading to a 3-1 loss.

Holliday finished with two hits, while Stanbridge and Lively each had one hit.

Helena will now play either Calera or Pell City at 12:30 on Wednesday for a chance to meet Athens in the championship. The Huskies would need two wins against Athens to claim the title.