Helena shines at Gina Firth Classic behind four wins before beating McAdory

Published 8:59 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

Fresh off a 9-6 win over the Calera Eagles, the Helena Huskies continued their strong start to the season with a 4-1 weekend at the Gina Firth Classic hosted by Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa on Feb. 23-24.

The Huskies took four straight wins against the West Morgan Rebels, Cullman Bearcats, Lawrence County Red Devils and Brookwood Panthers, and they continued that by rebounding from their first loss of the season with a 10-run win at McAdory in regular season play on Monday, Feb. 26.

Helena started out the tournament in dominant fashion with an 11-1 win over West Morgan on Friday, Feb. 23.

While the Huskies controlled most of the game, the Rebels got on the scoreboard first after drawing a leadoff walk and scoring on an RBI groundout following a pair of stolen bases.

Helena had to wait until the second inning to respond, but it did so in a big way. After a one-out single by Emma Olive, a pair of walks loaded up the bases for Presley Lively with two outs.

She delivered in the big spot, clearing the bases with a double to give her team a 3-1 lead.

After a leadoff double in the third, Addison Draiss drove Hannah Steele home with an RBI single to increase the lead to 4-1.

That was all before a dominant fourth inning when the Huskies pulled away.

Harley Morrison started strong with a leadoff triple, and after a walk left runners on the corners, Cammi Pugh hit an RBI single to kick off three straight scoring plays.

Lively hit a two-run single and allowed Steele to hit a two-run home run, making the score 9-1.

An error and a walk kept Helena in business and let Olive hit an RBI double and Tatum Cooper to close out the scoring with an RBI single for the 11-1 win.

Morrison earned the win behind four innings of one-run softball where she earned three strikeouts against three hits and a walk. Hayden Traywick finished the job with a perfect fifth inning and struck out all three batters she faced.

The offense continued with a 10-0 win over Cullman in the nightcap.

Helena kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI double by Olive that was quickly followed by an RBI single by Destiny Brashears to give the Huskies an early 2-0 lead.

After a scoreless second inning, an error and a single put a pair of Helena runners on with two outs. Hayden Traywick reached base on another error to bring both runners home and she came home off an RBI single by Henley Traywick to make the score 5-0.

Three straight singles in the bottom of the fourth gave the Huskies a six-run lead, and they finished the job off an RBI single by Draiss and an error that scored all three base runners, ending the game by the run rule.

Marlee Parsons earned the win with a complete game no-hitter in four innings. She had two strikeouts against two walks.

The next day on Saturday, Feb. 24, Helena kept the momentum going against Lawrence County with an 11-2 victory.

Each team scored a run in the first inning as Brashears hit an RBI single that was answered in the bottom of the inning by an RBI double from the Red Devils to tie the game at 1-1.

The Huskies’ bats erupted in the top of the second to help them pull away.

A Hayden Traywick leadoff single led to an RBI single by Morrison to take the lead. Then, Steele hit a two-out RBI single to tack on another run and leave two runners on for Olive, who hit a three-run home run to left to increase the lead to 6-1.

Lawrence County responded on the final play of the second inning with an RBI single, but the second run of the night would be all the Red Devils could muster.

A pair of singles put runners on the corners with one out for Lively, who earned a triple to score both Huskies. Steele then hit a two-run home run to make the score 10-2.

A hit by pitch and a single put a pair of runners on for Hayden Traywick. She scored the final run of the game on an RBI single to finish off the 11-2 win.

She also earned the win in the game in two innings thanks to her five strikeouts against four hits, two runs and one earned run.

Helena rolled straight into a 4-0 win over Brookwood to advance further in the tournament.

The Huskies did all of their damage in the second inning after a single and an error set them up with two runners on base and one out.

An RBI groundout by Pugh kicked off four straight scoring plays. Lively hit another triple to bring home Darden, and Steele followed that up with an RBI double to make the lead 3-0.

Olive finished out the inning with an RBI single to finish off the scoring, and Parsons took care of the rest on the mound. She earned the win with a complete game shutout over four innings, earning two strikeouts against two hits and a walk.

Their run came to an end in the next round against the Curry Hornets. The Hornets scored a pair of runs in the first, but even though Helena scored one in the bottom of the first, it couldn’t close the gap and Curry scored four more in the fourth to put away the game.

While the loss was the Huskies’ first of the season in 11 games, they bounced back with an 11-1 win over McAdory on Monday, Feb. 26.

Helena opened up the scoring off an error by the Yellow Jackets catcher and followed that up with a first-pitch RBI groundout by Brashears in the bottom of the first.

The next inning saw the Huskies score on a wild pitch to make the score 3-0 after two innings.

Helena pulled away in the top of the fourth as six straight runners reached base. Pugh plated two runs on an RBI double, and two batters later, Steele let two more runners reach home plate thanks to Steele’s single.

Three batters later with one out, Gracie Storey hit an RBI single to make it 8-0, and Hayden Traywick let the final run of the inning score on a sacrifice fly.

McAdory scored its first run of the game off a groundout in the bottom of the fifth, but the Huskies had the final two runs of the night on a Hayden Traywick sacrifice fly in the sixth and a Lively groundout to finish off the 11-1 win.

Morrison earned the win with four relief innings where she allowed just one hit and one unearned run. Hayden Traywick had five strikeouts across the first three scoreless innings.

Helena will have a quick turnaround when it faces Chelsea at home on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 4:30 p.m.