Helias teammates Kelly Fick and Josh Wilson proved to be too much for Rock Bridge.
Fick, a freshman left-hander, pitched a three-hitter and Wilson, a third baseman, hit a home run over the right-field wall in each of the first two innings as Helias beat Rock Bridge 7-1 on Wednesday at Hickman Field in the Class 4 District 10 semifinals.
“It was a tough night all around,” Rock Bridge coach Terry Whitney said. “I didn’t expect that, to be honest. I thought we’d be OK, but our hitting has been our strong suit all year and it just wasn’t there tonight.”
The No. 2 seed Crusaders advance to the District 10 championship today at 5 p.m. against the No. 4 seed Jefferson City Jays.
Wilson wasted little time getting Helias’ first run, hitting a home run in the Crusaders’ first at-bat.
Later in the first, shortstop Brian Bassman hit a two-out single to score Matt Kliethermes and Brett Cavender.
That proved to be all Helias would need; Fick cruised, holding the Bruins hitless through 5 2/3 innings and striking out five.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to their pitcher,” Whitney said. “He was just incredible tonight.”
Meanwhile, Rock Bridge starter Marcus Himmelberg struggled, giving up five runs through 3 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out no one.
Wilson added a two-run home run in the second that looked nearly identical to his first as it sailed over the head of right fielder Ryan Concannon.
The Crusaders rounded out their scoring in the fifth when Cavender and Brian Markway scored on Bassman’s single.
The Bruin offense finally showed signs of life in the sixth when Concannon broke up the no-hitter with a two-out single to center field. Taylor Drennan scored the team’s only run in the seventh on Andy Burks’ double.
“The one thing I can say about this team is that they always competed,” Whitney said. “Even down seven, we were still swinging away and playing hard. We’ve been coming from behind all year, so we still thought we had a chance, even down 5-0.”
The loss marks the end of the season for the No. 3 seed Bruins, who finished 13-8. Whitney said he’s proud of what his team has done.
“This is probably the best hitting team I’ve ever had,” he said. “They were a great team to work with because they never gave up.”