Helena Middle School softball team wins Metro Championship
Published 11:01 am Monday, April 17, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
The dominance of the Helena Middle School softball team continued this season, culminating April 14-15 by sweeping through the Metro Tournament to claim the 2023 Metro Championship.
The Huskies took down Bumpus, Chelsea, Hewitt-Trussville and Oak Mountain over the two-day tournament to pick up the championship, winning a couple of clutch games in the process.
The championship game ended up being the team’s most dominant performance, picking up a 10-0 shutout of county foe Oak Mountain.
Helena scored three runs in the home half of the first inning and held that lead through the top of the fifth before the Huskies tacked on seven more between the fifth and sixth innings to complete the 10-run rule win in six innings.
A big reason for the championship win was a dominant effort from Macy Rooker in the circle. She struck out eight and gave up just one hit and no walks or runs in the shutout win to allow Helena to steadily pull away for the title.
The Huskies were able to give her some early cushion thanks to a two-run home run from Kinley Elliott and an RBI double from Eveline Guess to make it 3-0.
Rooker went on to strike out the side in the top of the second and put the Eagles down in order in the first three innings of the game. Oak Mountain picked up its first hit in the top of the fourth, but a strikeout followed to end the inning.
That ended up being the only baserunner for the Eagles in the game.
Helena, however, added two more runs in the fifth on another two-run bomb from Elliott to make it 5-0. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Macie Brashears had an RBI single, Elliott had a two-RBI double, another run scored on a wild pitch and the final run on an RBI double from Allie Cantley to complete the 10-0 championship win.
Elliott had a huge game at the plate with a 4-for-4 game featuring two home runs, six RBIs and two runs scored to set the pace for the Huskies. Cantley added a 3-for-4 game with an RBI and a run scored, while Brashears added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
Payton Epperson also added multiple hits at two, while Guess had one RBI on one hit. Abby Griffin also had one hit in the championship game.
The path to the championship started a day earlier with a matchup against Bumpus Middle School to open the tournament.
Helena actually fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first and still trailed 2-1 in the top of the third, but two runs in the bottom of the third gave the Huskies their first lead at 3-2.
That was part of a three-inning stretch with at least one run scored, but it was a three-run bottom of the fourth that really gave the team cushion with a 6-2 lead.
Bumpus added one run in the top of the fifth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit in a 6-3 win for Helena.
Elliott finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the way, while Brashears finished with a hit and two RBIs. Cantley and Griffin both added one hit each. Rooker allowed three runs on eight hits and finished with seven strikeouts in the win.
Helena stepped back on the field the next day to kick off championship day with a matchup against the Chelsea Hornets.
The matchup marked a true test for the Huskies, who trailed 3-1 with time running out in the bottom of the fifth.
Helena held a 1-0 lead through three, but Chelsea responded with three in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1.
The Huskies, however, responded with a three-run fifth that made the difference. A home run from Elliott, an RBI single from Cantley and an RBI sac fly from Guess gave the Huskies a 4-3 lead.
Then, in the top of the sixth, Helena allowed one baserunner, but ultimately closed out the game with a pop out.
Claire Gortney led the way with a 3-for-3 game at the plate, while Elliott and Guess finished with one hit and one RBI each in the win. Kelsey Burden, Cantley, Griffin and Epperson all finished with one hit.
Rooker struck out four and gave up three runs on three hits in six innings to grab the win in the circle.
That led to a semifinal matchup with Hewitt-Trussville, and this time around, Helena grabbed the early lead and didn’t relinquish it.
A three-run first inning made the ultimate difference, building early confidence for the offense and allowing breathing room for Griffin and Guess in the circle.
Hewitt added one run in the top of the second, but Helena quickly responded with one in the bottom of the second. From there, the only other game came in the top of the fourth from Hewitt-Trussville, as Helena held on for a 4-2 victory to punch a ticket to the championship game.
Burden and Brashears led the way with two hits, one RBI and one run scored. Griffin also added two hits, while Elliott, Guess and Vangie Pinkney all had one hit. Cantley also added an RBI.
Griffin picked up the win in the circle, allowing two unearned runs in three innings of work with a strikeout, while Guess earned the save, finishing the game with no hits allowed, no runs allowed and one strikeout.