Helena closes weekend with high-scoring win over Vestavia Hills

Published 12:33 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HELENA – The Helena Huskies challenged themselves against a pair of top teams on Saturday, March 23 at Helena High School, and while they fell to Class 6A No. 1 Hartselle 12-1 to start the doubleheader, they ended the day on a high note.

Helena defeated the Class 7A No. 6 Vestavia Hills Rebels 12-10 in a high-octane battle between two strong offenses.

However, before the Huskies took the win, they had to withstand an early onslaught from the Rebels.

The first six Vestavia Hills batters of the game reached base, with the first three loading up the bases off an error, single and hit by pitch. That led to a bases-loaded walk, three-run double and RBI single to give them a 5-0 lead.

Helena recovered quickly after the fifth run to get the next three batters out and took that momentum into the bottom of the first.

Ty Stricklin led off the second inning with a double, and Jarret Scott followed that with a single. Reece Mims was then hit by a pitch to load up the bases on the first three batters.

Then, Braydon Kendrick busted the scoring open with a two-run double. Davis Kelley added a third run with an RBI single, and after a run scored off John Martin Williamson’s fielder’s choice on the next at-bat, the Huskies only trailed 5-4 after entering the inning with a five-run deficit.

The Rebels took that lead back to two in the top of the second with a run scored off a sacrifice fly, but Helena wasn’t finished on the offensive end.

Caleb Higgins hit a leadoff triple to start the bottom of the second, and a hit batter put runners on the corners for Scott. The junior hit an RBI double to bring a run home and cut the deficit to one.

That brought up Mims, and he ripped a single to center field to bring home both Stricklin and Scott and give the Huskies the 7-6 lead, their first of the game.

The next inning, Mims sent home another pair of runs, this time with an RBI double with two on and two out that plated Higgins and Scott and increased the lead to 9-6.

That lead wouldn’t last long as Vestavia Hills took advantage of two runners on base and two outs to hit a three-run home run and tie the game up at nine runs apiece.

After the Rebels held Helena scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, they hit a two-out RBI double in the top of the 5th to reclaim a 10-9 lead.

That wasn’t the last the Huskies had to offer as the hosts came from behind once again in the final stretch.

After a hit batter and a Scott single to kick off the bottom of the fifth, a fly out advanced Stricklin to third and allowed him to come home on the ensuing at-bat thanks to a groundout.

That tied the game up at 10-10, and after a one-two-three top of the third on defense, Helena had the chance to complete the comeback in the bottom of the sixth.

An error allowed Williamson to reach base and brought Hayden Berry to the plate. The right fielder then launched a home run to right, scoring two go-ahead runs and closing out the 12-10 win.

Mims ended the day with 4 RBIs and a run off a 2-4 performance at the plate, while Kendrick had three RBIs and a run while going 1-2 with two walks. Scott went 3-4 with three runs, an RBI and a walk and Higgins finished 2-4 with two runs.

Bennett Plowden led the team with four strikeouts on the mound while Carson Acker and Austin Acosta earned the win and save respectively with a scoreless inning each.

Helena will play in the Buccaneer Classic at the Hoover Met Complex over spring break from March 27-30 with seven games scheduled over the four-day tournament.