Helena holds off Spain Park for 35th win to end regular season

Published 4:16 pm Thursday, April 25, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HELENA – The Helena Huskies capped off a challenging final week of the season with a win over a Class 7A county foe as they held on for the 8-6 victory over the Spain Park Jaguars on Wednesday, April 24 at Helena High School.

While Helena went on to secure the win, Spain Park started out the game in front after a lead-off single by Maggie Daniel turned into a two-run home run by Charlee Bennett with one out in the top of the first.

The Huskies responded to their early 2-0 hole in the bottom half of the frame after Presley Lively walked to start the half-inning. She stole second base and advanced to third off a passed ball before Hannah Steele drove her home with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one.

In the bottom of the second, Helena got a chance to load up the bases off a walk, hit by pitch and a fielder’s choice that didn’t result in an out. Spain Park recovered to take a strikeout, but Cammi Pugh drew a bases-loaded walk to tie up the game.

That walk left the base paths filled for Lively, and on the first pitch of the at-bat, she cleared the bases on an RBI double to give Helena the 5-2 lead.

The Jags wasted no time responded to the Huskies’ four-run inning in the top of the third after Daniel launched a solo home run on the first pitch of the inning to put her team down just two runs.

Emma Olive kicked off the bottom half of the inning with a double, and two batters later, Destiny Brashears restored Helena’s three-run lead with an RBI double.

That lead only grew in the bottom of the third when a one-out single from Lively turned into another run off an RBI triple by Steele.

During Henley Traywick’s ensuing at-bat, Steele came home off a passed ball to increase the lead to 8-3.

However, Spain Park threatened that lead over the final three innings of the game.

A Caroline Charles single was followed by a hit by pitch to start the top of the fifth, and both runners advanced to scoring position off a sacrifice bunt by Reagan Roberts.

Charles then came home after tagging up following a Bennett fly out, and Daniel scored from third during Teagan Huey’s ensuring at-bat thanks to a passed ball.

With the score now 8-5, Allie Whitaker made the score 8-6 in the top of the sixth after she scored on a wild pitch following a lead-off double and a sacrifice bunt that advanced her to third.

However, Harley Morrison got out of the two-runner situation by securing the final out of the inning and orchestrating a one-two-three top of the seventh to seal the 8-6 win for the Huskies.

Lively led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and two runs. Steele also had a multi-RBI day by earning two RBI in a 1-for-3 day that also saw her score a run.

Morrison took the win after she went the distance and worked her way around five earned runs, six total runs, eight hits and two walks. She ended the game with two strikeouts.

With the win, No. 1 ranked Helena will start the playoffs with a 35-7 record and a three-game win streak.