Helena surges back with five-run sixth to defeat rival Pelham

Published 4:57 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – While the Pelham Panthers were on top for much of their rivalry battle with the Helena Huskies, it was Helena that had the emphatic last word.

Trailing 7-3 at the end of the fifth inning, the Huskies scored five runs in the top of the sixth to surge ahead and earn the 8-7 comeback win on the road at Pelham High School on Thursday, March 21.

While each team earned free base runners off walks in the first three innings, it took until the bottom of the third for either side to earn a hit.

That breakthrough came from Matt Egan who hit a leadoff single for Pelham in the bottom of the third. From there, the Panthers loaded up the bases off an error and Clayton Mains single to put the pressure on Helena.

While the Huskies got the next two batters out, Dylan Smith launched a triple to center field to clear the bases and put Pelham up 3-0.

After Brock Isbell was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive, Emerson Howatt hit an RBI single to make the lead 4-0 after the third.

The fourth inning came and went without a run, but a one out error in the top of the fifth put Hayden Berry on base. Then, Caleb Higgins hit an RBI double on an 0-1 pitch to put the Huskies on the board.

Despite being reduced to two outs with a strikeout on the next batter, Jarret Scott hit an RBI single to make the score 4-2.

Then, Reece Mims walked and Braydon Kendrick was hit by a pitch to load up the bases. Two pitches later, Scott scored off a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one at the end of the inning.

However, that 4-3 score didn’t last for long as the Panthers built out another lead.

The first two Pelham batters of the bottom of the fifth inning reached base and then got into scoring position thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Brock Isbell.

That led to three straight scoring plays, including a groundout by Howatt to score a run, a Kaden Bowen RBI double and Egan RBI single to put the Panthers up 7-3.

Helena responded in the top of the sixth by loading up the bases off a walk, John Martin Williamson single and an error and landed the final, decisive blow.

After suffering their first out of the inning, Ty Stricklin hit an RBI single to cut the deficit to three. Scott then plated a pair of runs with an RBI double to make it a one-run game.

Two pitches later, a passed ball allowed Stricklin to score the tying run and Scott to advance to third. Then, Mims hit a single on the next pitch to bring Scott home and take an 8-7 lead.

From there, Helena got out of a two-runner situation in the bottom of the sixth and took a one-two-three inning in the seventh to close out the win.

Helena will finish out the week with a doubleheader against Hartselle and Vestavia Hills on Saturday, March 23. As for Pelham, it will host Brookwood for senior night on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m.