Helena downs Prattville, Middle Tennessee Christian, Leeds at Buccaneer Classic

Published 4:09 pm Monday, April 1, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Helena Huskies rebounded from an 8-5 loss to the Houston Mustangs to start the Buccaneer Classic to win three of their next four games in Hoover from March 27-30.

Helena took down the Prattville Lions, Middle Tennessee Christian Cougars and Leeds Green Wave to end the tournament with a 3-2 record.

In their second game of the tournament, the Huskies got an early leg up on the Lions but had to come from behind for the win.

After a scoreless first inning, a walk and a hit by pitch put a pair of runners on for Helena in the bottom of the second. That set up John Martin Williamson to hit an RBI single and give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.

While the lead held during the third inning, a lead-off double by Prattville in the top of the fourth turned into the tying run off a ground out and a fly out.

The Lions then got another stretch of offense during the top of the sixth and capitalized for another run.

The first two batters of the inning hit singles to get on base, and the bases were loaded shortly after due to a catcher’s interference call. Prattville then hit an RBI single to take a 2-1 lead, but Helena recovered in the field to throw out two batters and get the third out off a ground out.

The Huskies responded in the bottom of the sixth with a lead-off single by Nick Peters. They advanced him home with a ground out, error and another ground out to tie the game up at 2-2.

Williamson then reached base on an error, and that mistake proved costly for the Lions as Hayden Berry hit an RBI triple to bring Williamson home and earn the 3-2 lead.

From there, Austin Acosta came in, threw a pair of strikeouts and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh to secure the save and the one-run win.

Brody Butler earned the win as he went six innings while allowing one earned run, two total runs, four hits and a walk.

While Helena lost its second game of the day to the Farragut Admirals 5-3, it bounced back for two more wins before the end of the week.

On Friday, the Huskies took on Middle Tennessee Christian and went down to the wire with the Cougars.

Each of the first six innings came and went without a run as both pitching staffs dueled it out. Brayden Dockery was first with eight strikeouts in 4.2 shutout innings against two hits and five walks and Ty Bryan and Carson Acker both kept Middle Tennessee Christian scoreless afterwards.

Acosta came in to secure the final out in the top of the seventh and gave Helena one last chance to break the deadlock.

The Huskies got a golden opportunity thanks to back-to-back walks to start the inning. Jarret Scott then bunted to reach base and advance both runners to second and third, which brought up Reece Mims with the bases loaded

With no outs, Mims tried his hand with a bunt of his own, and an error by the Cougars pitcher led to the walk-off run and a 1-0 win for Helena.

The next day, the Huskies overcame an early deadlock to top Leeds in the tournament finale.

The Green Wave got the better of the two sides to start out the game after hitting a two-out RBI single to take a 1-0 lead.

That advantage held until the bottom of the third when a one-out walk turned into a threat after a wild pitch advanced Higgins to second.

With two outs on the scoreboard, Scott hit an RBI double to score Higgins from second and tie the game up at 1-1.

Leeds would further implode on the mound in the bottom of the fourth to allow the Huskies to pull away.

After Braydon Kendrick drew a one-out walk, the Green Wave struck out the next batter but lost control of the strike zone afterwards.

Leeds hit a batter following back-to-back walks, which gave Helena a 2-1 lead. A passed ball during the next at-bat plated another run and a walk loaded up the bases to keep the inning alive.

Scott then scored two runs on a single, and two pitches later, Mims hit an RBI single to make the score 6-1.

While the Green Wave hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, the Huskies held them scoreless from there and earned the 6-2 win.

Scott finished the day 2-3 with three runs and a walk to lead the Helena offense.

The Huskies will return after spring break for an area series against Calera. The first game will take place on Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Helena High School and the series will wrap up on Thursday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Calera High School.