Helena sweeps season series with Pelham, reaches 30 wins on season

Published 2:16 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HELENA – The Helena Huskies took down their local rivals the Pelham Panthers and reached a key milestone in the process.

Helena swept the season series over its area foe with a 14-8 win on Tuesday, April 9 at Helena High School, and in the process, the Huskies earned their 30th win of the season, bolstering their case for the top spot in Class 6A.

After a scoreless first inning, a Molli Rollan single got Helena going in the bottom of the second, and then Hayden Traywick was hit by a pitch to make it two base runners.

Tatum Cooper sacrificed herself to advance the runners to second and third, and the bases were loaded shortly after that once Cammi Pugh was hit by a pitch.

That brought up Presley Lively who continued her strong recent stretch at the plate with an RBI single to bring home both Rollan and Traywick and open up a 2-0 lead.

Gracie Storey then came to the plate, and an error after she hit a ground ball brought Pugh home to make the lead 3-0.

However, Pelham responded in a big way to take the lead in the top of the third.

With Jordan Young on third thanks to her lead-off double and a sacrifice bunt, Laini Stewart reached base on a fielder’s choice, but Young still got home to put the Panthers on the board.

Shelby Grace Bailey then hit a single before Jordan Gray reached on an error, and Jordan Howard cut the deficit to one right after with a flyout.

With Rebecca Roy facing the final strike of the inning, she hit an RBI double to left field to clear the bases and give Pelham the 4-3 lead.

Taylor Howard followed that with an RBI double of her own to end the inning with a 5-3 advantage.

Helena quickly slashed that gap to just one run after the first two pitches of the bottom of the fifth. First, Addison Draiss singled to get on base, and Rollan brought her home with an RBI triple to make the score 5-4 Panthers.

Traywick then hit into a ground out to bring Rollan home and tie up the game at five runs apiece.

While the next batter grounded out, Pugh singled to keep the inning alive, and then Lively came up with an RBI double to bring home Pugh from first and give her team the lead once again.

With the Huskies now up 6-5, they held on the rest of the way for the win.

Traywick took advantage of hits by Emma Olive and Draiss in the bottom of the fourth to hit an RBI single and extend the lead to 7-5.

While that was the only run Helena could add in the inning, it made up for that with a seven-run sixth.

After a Pugh single to start the inning, Pelham gave Lively a free pass to dodge the hot bat. However, Storey doubled on the next pitch to score both Pugh and Lively, extending the lead to 9-5.

That lead quickly became five after Henley Traywick singled to score Storey.

Pelham then secured the first out of the inning, but the scoring resumed on the next pitch with a Draiss RBI single to extend the lead to 11-5.

Rollan then made it two runs off two pitches with an RBI single of her own, making the score 12-5 and getting on base for Hayden Traywick.

The sophomore shortstop launched a two-run home run to left on an 0-1 pitch to put Helena up 14-5 with her team’s final runs of the day.

The Panthers closed the gap in an emphatic way in the top of the sixth, using back-to-back singles by Young and Emery Plunkett to start the inning to set up Stewart for a big three-run home run, cutting the deficit to six in the process.

However, those would be the last runs of the day, and Marlee Parsons finished out the win with a one-two-three top of the seventh.

Parsons took the win with four innings of relief, earning three strikeouts against three runs, seven hits and two walks.

On offense, Pugh finished 3-for-3 with three runs, Draiss was 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs and an RBI and Lively went 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and a run.

Rollan had a 3-for-5 day with three runs and two RBI and Hayden Traywick finished 2-for-3 with a team-high four RBI to go with two runs.

On the opposite end, Stewart, Bailey, Young and Plunkett each finished with two-hit afternoons.

Both teams will have a quick turnaround as Helena faces Hillcrest at home on Tuesday, April 9 at 4:30 p.m. and Pelham hosts McAdory on the same day at 5 p.m.