BLUFORD – Recent Webber Township High School graduate Jaxon Helm was effective on the mound in leading the Trojans to an 11-0 victory against Christ Our Rock Lutheran in Monday’s play-in game in a class 1A baseball regional.
The victory is the first regional under first-year head coach Drew Millwood.
“I am overjoyed,” said Millwood after the win. “We came out and hit the ball really well.”
Helm threw a no-hitter to eliminate the Stallions. Webber moves on the compete in Centralia at the Christ Our Rock Lutheran Regional against South Central on Thursday.
Helm finished with 10 strikeouts and walked two.
“Jaxon Helm pitched really well,” said Millwood. “We made the plays we needed to. There weren’t many, but we made the ones we needed to. He kept the ball down and hit secondary pitch was working well today and he located his fastball.
“We played defense and pitched well and if you can do that, you give yourself a chance and we hit the ball, which came out nice today.
The Trojans scored eight runs in the first two innings. Five came in the first inning. Dylan Stratton led off the first with a double and scored when Charles Neal ripped a single for a 1-0 lead.
Noah Raundenbush, Dakota Tate, and Deacon Reynolds all finished with a RBI in the first inning for a Trojans’ 5-0 advantage.
“We played Christ Our Rock before, but it’s tough to beat a team three times,” said Millwood. “I didn’t want them to be able to hang around and have that confidence built for them. We came out and jumped on them early and Jaxon shut them down on the mound.”
Then in the second inning, the Trojans scored three unearned runs. After the first two outs were recorded, Helm singled and Raudenbush reached on an error that should have ended the inning.
That setup Garrett Thompson to deliver a three-run homer to extend Webber’s lead, 8-0, after two innings.
“I couldn’t be more happy for the kid,” said Millwood. “He struggled a little to start the year. Not necessarily at hitting the ball, but getting hits. He seemed to hit a lot right at people early and he was down on himself.
“He’s turned it around, picked his head up and has been battling these last couple weeks and has hit the ball well. Today it was another day of hitting the ball and having good at-bats.”
The victory, and the fact that Helm made it through the game on just 75 pitches sets up Millwood to use his ace – lefty junior Charles Neal – against the second-seed Cougars.
“It was huge for Jaxon to come in and pitched the whole game today,” said Millwood. “We get to save Chuck for Thursday. That’s who we want going for us. As long as we play defense and scrap across a couple runs, we feel like we have a good chance with him on the mound.”
In the fourth, Webber Township scored three more runs to help short-game the Stallions. Helm was hit by the pitch and made it to third on a passed ball. He scored on an error off the bat of Raudenbush.
Payton Hills drove in a run when he reached on a fielder’s choice while Reynolds added another RBI on a double.
The Trojans will play South Central Thursday at 4:30 PM in the second semifinal at the CORL regional. The first semifinal is Wednesday between top-seed North Clay against Woodlawn.