Helena Magazine

Helena softball’s season ends after going 0-2 at states

Published 5:25 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

OXFORD – The Helena Huskies saw their season end after losing to the Hazel Green Trojans, 10-5, and to the Oxford Yellow Jackets, 6-3, on Thursday, May 18 at Choccolocco Park.

“My feelings are extreme disappointment but also proud of how this team continued to play together,” Helena coach Scott Lowery said.

In the first game, Helena jumped out to an early lead when Mary Beth Allen drove in Victoria Mauterer on an RBI single.

After a scoreless second inning for both sides, Hazel Green put two runners on base with a walk and a single, and both scored off an error in left field to give the Trojans the 2-1 lead.

Helena shut down the Trojans in the top of the fourth and then Allen hit a leadoff home run to tie the game.

In the fifth, Hazel Green responded with a three-run inning. The first run came from an RBI double, but after two more runners reached, an RBI single scored two more runs to extend the Trojans’ lead to 5-2.

Helena came back with two singles and an RBI groundout from Marlee Parsons that plated a run.

They kept the momentum going with an RBI single from Allen for her third RBI of the game, and she scored off an RBI single from Amelia Powell after a pitching change to tie the game at 5.

Hazel Green had the final say with an explosive top of the sixth inning. An RBI triple started the scoring followed by an RBI groundout to give the Trojans a 7-5 lead.

From there, the next four runners reached, and three more RBI singles later, the lead was 10-5.

Helena couldn’t respond, as their last six batters failed to reach base.

A scary moment happened in game one when coach Lowery was hit in the face with a line drive in the bottom of the third inning while standing in the third base coaching box.

Coach Lowery suffered an orbital fracture, but quickly returned to coaching and even used it as motivation for his team going into game two.

“I sent the girls a picture of me during X-rays of my swollen face and said, ‘I am OK, we will respond great this next game,'” Lowery said.

The Huskies dropped to the loser’s bracket, where they matched up with the hometown Oxford Yellow Jackets with their season on the line.

Helena came out with another first inning run when Presley Lively took advantage of two Oxford errors and scored before the second batter Mauterer even finished her at-bat.

The Huskies extended the lead in the top of the second after a single and a walk brought up Harley Morrison, who scored on an RBI single to go up 2-0.

In the bottom of the third, Oxford tied the game with a two-run single to center field.

Needing a response, Helena got just that in the top of the fourth with a Cammi Pugh line drive single that scored Powell after she advanced to third.

Helena defended their 3-2 lead in the fourth and fifth innings but were unable to add any hits when they came to the plate.

That proved costly when Oxford put runners on second and third with one out.

After intentionally walking the next batter to try and force an inning ending double play, multiple errors off a single allowed two runs to score and Oxford to take a 4-3 lead.

Helena got the next out, but then Oxford added to the damage with a two-run double to go up 6-3 before the inning ended on the next batter.

The Huskies faced their final three outs, and had reason for optimism after Morrison took a four pitch walk to open the inning.

The next two batters would get out, and although the Huskies hit a single after that, the third out came on the next play and Helena’s season ended.

Even with the results, Helena had an incredible season and recorded 33 wins across the 2023 season. That includes a perfect run through the regional bracket, and ultimately it ended with two close games in the state tournament.

There were many reasons to be proud of the Huskies’ season, but coach Lowery was most proud of his team’s collective buy-in.

“I am most proud of how this team believed when I said the very first practice, ‘we are going to the state tournament and will have a chance to win it, if you don’t believe that, don’t show up anymore,'” coach Lowery said. “We lost 8 college starters from last year and I said that they were great players but they are not here anymore, so we have to move on and embrace new roles, and they did. I loved this underdog group that embraced their challenges and accomplished so much.”