Helena takes three straight wins to close Perfect Game HS Showdown

Published 7:14 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After starting the Perfect Game High School Showdown with a 4-1 loss to Louisiana’s Catholic-Baton Rouge, the Helena Huskies continued fighting and finished the weekend with a 3-1 record.

The Huskies beat the Dothan Wolves on Friday, March 1 before defeating the Florence Falcons and Georgia’s Winder-Barrow Bulldogs to close out the tournament on Saturday, March 2.

In their game against Dothan, Helena struck early thanks to an error by the Wolves with runners on the corners to give it a 1-0 lead after the first inning.

While the second inning came and went without a run, a pair of walks put two runners on with two outs for Reece Mims, who hit an RBI single to keep the inning alive and increase the lead.

After Ty Stricklin was hit by a pitch, Caleb Higgins drove in two more runs with an RBI single of his own, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Huskies after three innings.

Dothan got on the board in the bottom of the third after a pair of Helena miscues let the Wolves score a run on an error.

With the score now 4-1, Mims and Stricklin kicked off the top of the fifth with back-to-back singles, which put runners on first and second for Higgins.

Higgins bunted in an attempt to advance the runners, and he got that and more as an error let him reach base and pinch runner Trey Lampman score.

With no outs on the scoreboard, the Huskies used back-to-back sacrifice flies to clear the bases and take the lead to 7-1.

After the Wolves allowed a pair of free runners in the top of the sixth, Stricklin hit an RBI single with two outs, making the lead 8-1.

Dothan clawed back a run with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the frame, but Helena restored its seven-run lead on its final offensive play of the game as Hayden Berry hit an RBI single.

However, Dothan didn’t go down quietly as three straight hits to start the inning led to its third run of the night. A pair of wild pitches and an RBI groundout cut the Huskies’ lead to three, but John Englezos earned a strikeout to finish off the win.

Logan Barber took the win with five no-hit innings and six strikeouts against one unearned run and four walks.

Helena used that win to continue rolling on Saturday with a pair of victories.

In the Huskies’ first game of the day, Florence scored the opening run off an RBI single in the bottom of the first, but Helena roared back with a massive second inning.

Four walks in five batters put the first Huskies run of the game on the scoreboard and opened the door for success throughout the inning. Jarret Scott hit an RBI single to give his team a 2-1 lead.

Helena bounced back from a strikeout to earn two more runs off a Nicholas Peters RBI single and a Mims walk to finish the inning leading 4-1.

That score held until the top of the fifth as the Huskies continued to dominate on defense, and they weren’t done adding to the lead.

After a leadoff double from Mims, Berry hit an RBI double to bring home the pinch runner Lampman. Two batters later, a Carson Acker sacrifice fly scored Berry to increase the lead to 8-1.

Helena finished off the scoring in the top of the seventh with a two-run single by Stricklin to cap off a run of three straight singles by the Huskies. In the end, Helena earned the 8-1 victory.

Brayden Dockery took the win with five strikeouts in six innings while giving up just one run, two hits and two walks.

Helena then had the last word in the second game of the day against Winder-Barrow as it came back from trailing by two runs to win by one.

The Huskies started out strong after a leadoff walk by Stricklin in the bottom of the first led to an RBI triple from Scott. John Martin Williamson then hit into a sacrifice fly to bring Scott home and make the score 2-0 after the first inning.

Winder-Barrow earned a run in response in the top of the second thanks to four straight batters reaching base capped off by a wild pitch to let the run score.

The next inning, the Bulldogs tied the game on a one-out RBI single after a leadoff triple.

Williamson hit a single on the first pitch of the bottom half of the frame, and two batters later, Mims hit an RBI single to help Helena retake the lead 3-2.

In the top of the fifth, Winder-Barrow capitalized on an error to tie the game up once again. While that was all the Bulldogs could offer in the fifth, a pair of RBI doubles in the sixth inning put them in front 5-3.

Helena overcame a double play in the bottom of the sixth that wiped out two of their baserunners to put Huskies on the corners for Peters. He hit an RBI single to bring Williamson home and put his team down just one heading into the seventh.

After not allowing a hit in the top of the seventh, Helena hit three straight singles to load up the bases after a leadoff pop out. While another pop out reduced the Huskies to their final out, Williamson singled to left to bring home two runs and earn the walk-off 6-5 win.