Brooks Helton was tired of losing. Rhea County found out the hard way just how far the Pioneer senior would go to prevent a 10th straight defeat.
Helton hit two home runs, the second a game-ending blast to center field, and finished with seven RBIs to lead Warren County to a 12-2 win over the Eagles.
In a performance Babe Ruth would be proud of, Helton finished 4-for-4 at the plate while also going the distance on the mound. The senior struck out nine in five innings as his team snapped a nine-game losing streak in its first District 6AAA game.
It’s a victory Helton hopes spring board the Pioneers to success.
“I think we know we have a good team, we just weren’t clicking,” said Helton after the game. “Everything came together tonight and we really played as a team. If we play like that, we’re a dangerous ball club.”
Rhea County couldn’t seem to find a pitcher who could match the Faulkner University signeee.
Helton homered off Rhea County starter Ricky Guthrie in the third inning, giving Warren County a 4-2 lead. He ripped an RBI single in the fourth on the first pitch from reliever Houghston Schaefer.
Even still, Helton saved his best swing for last against reliever Logan Douglas.
“I took a strike, then fouled a changeup off the right side,” recalled Helton on his final at-bat. “I knew he wasn’t going to come (with a) fastball, so I was sitting on off-speed. I was actually telling myself to stay back and take an up-the-middle approach.
“He left a changeup up in the zone and I got a good barrel on it.”
The crowd exploded when Helton hit a no-doubter to deep centerfield to end the game. He also started the scoring with a double in the first inning, driving in Trace Adcock.
Rhea County momentarily took the lead in the second, getting one run on a passed ball before an RBI single made it 2-1. Warren County limited the damage though, nailing a second runner trying to score on the go-ahead single.
Helton swung the home team back into the lead in the third, connecting on a three-run blast to left field.
Braden Bottoms added an RBI single in the frame to make it 5-2.
Ryland Holder and Helton each had run-scoring singles in the fourth to push the lead to five before the Pioneers put the game away in the fifth.
Dylan Ward and Ethan Smith started the fifth with RBI singles, followed by a sacrifice fly from Adcock. Helton finished the game moments later.
Warren County made the trip to Rhea County Tuesday hoping to earn a season sweep of its district rival. See the Standard website for details of the second game of the series.