Helena outpaces Pelham for win in area opener

Published 3:39 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – As the two rivals met on the softball diamond for the first time in 2024, the Helena Huskies got the better of the Pelham Panthers as they took an 8-1 win on Wednesday, March 6 at Pelham High School.

The victory gives Helena a 1-0 start to area play while taking its overall record to 16-2 to continue its strong start to the season.

After a leadoff single by Presley Lively to start the game, she advanced to third on a stolen base and an error. Gracie Storey then hit an RBI single to bring her home and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

Pelham recovered with a pair of strikeouts, but an error allowed Storey to score from second, making the score 2-0 after the first inning.

Hayden Traywick dispatched the Panthers with a one-two-three bottom of the first, and Helena got right back to work on offense in the ensuing inning.

Cammi Pugh hit a leadoff single on the first pitch of the second inning which Lively followed up with a first-pitch double. Pugh then scored from first to increase the lead to three.

The next batter Storey launched a solo home run to left field to score the fourth run of the game.

The Huskies then got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout and a double play in the bottom of the third to keep the shutout alive.

Hayden Traywick kicked off the fourth inning with a single on the first pitch she saw, and after an error on the ensuing at-bat, the courtesy runner Addison Draiss made her way home to make the lead 5-0. Two pitches later, Lively hit an RBI single to score Pugh.

After a groundout on the next batter, Hannah Steele singled to put runners on the corners for Henley Traywick. The sophomore flew out to right field to allow Steele to score after tagging up.

While the Huskies loaded up the bases on the next three batters with a single and a pair of hit batters, the Panthers got the third out without allowing any more damage as Helena led 8-0.

Jordan Young started the bottom of the fourth with a single to center field, and Rebecca Roy back it two straight hits with a single of her own to set up runners on the corners with no outs.

Taylor Howard then hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Young to cross home plate and score the first Pelham run of the afternoon.

However, that was as close as the Panthers would get as Jaida Holtzclaw finished off the seven-run win in the circle.

Hayden Traywick took the win with four strikeouts in four innings, allowing three hits and two walks as one unearned run crossed the plate.

Lively went 4-5 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs. Storey had a 3-4 afternoon with two runs, two RBIs and a home run.

Helena will hope to take the momentum into the Jag Classic in Hoover from March 8-9. Pelham will face Gardendale on Thursday, March 7 ahead of playing in tournament action at McAdory over the weekend.