Helena beats Pelham twice to claim 2023 Area Championship

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – With two wins against rival Pelham by a combined score of 24-1, the Helena Huskies swept their way to the Class 6A, Area 7 Tournament Championship May 2-3.

As the regular-season area champions, the Huskies not only earned hosting rights for the tournament, but they got a bye in the opening round.

Following a Pelham win against Briarwood in round one, Helena squared off with the Panthers for the first time and picked up a 10-0 shutout victory to cement a spot in regionals as well as the area tournament championship.

Then, after the Panthers took down Briarwood for a second time to earn their spot at regionals, the two rivals met again, and the outcome was similar with the Huskies completing a sweep of the tournament with a 14-1 victory to claim the area championship.

In the first of the two games, Helena took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and while the start wasn’t as fast as game two ended up being, the pitching effort of Hayden Traywick.

She not only held the Panthers in check early, but she struck out nine in what became a complete-game shutout. She gave up seven hits, but no runs or walks, as her effort allowed the offense to steadily pull away.

Helena added one run in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 3-0, but it was a seven-run bottom of the fifth that ended the game in five innings.

The Huskies used five consecutive singles, a walk, a sac fly, a triple and a double to score the seven runs and put away the 10-0 shutout.

Presley Lively led the way offensively with three hits and three RBIs in the victory, while Amelia Powell posted two RBIs on one hit. Cammi Pugh and Victoria Mauterer each finished with a hit and one RBI, while Ava Middle Brooks and Henley Traywick both added an RBI.

A confident Helena team then looked to finish off the area championship a day later, and their bats didn’t cool down.

The Huskies jumped all over the Panthers with an 11-run opening inning to take early command in the game. They went on to add three runs in the second, while Pelham could only muster up one run in the top of the fourth in what became a 14-1 victory in another five-inning game for Helena.

Mauterer got the win this time around, striking out two and giving up no runs on three hits and a walk, while Powell pitched the final two innings and allowed one unearned run on two hits and two walks with a strikeout.

Emma Olive was the leader at the plate with two hits and four RBIs, while Middlebrooks and Lively both finished with two hits and two RBIs. Morgan Allen added two doubles and an RBI, while Traywick finished with a hit and one RBI. Powell also added an RBI in the championship win.