Until the strike catches up, Troy’s throw will have to do. And who’s complaining? Junior Andrew Helman struck out 13 and limited Greenville to just 4 hits to help Troy sweep the MVL series with Greenville.
Greenville, Ohio – For months, Troy coach Ty Welker and pitching coach Heath Murray have been anticipating the kind of starting pitcher that makes a high school baseball team a threat to win any night, against any any team and against any odds.
In Tuesday’s opener against the Greenville junior, Trayce Mercer gave us a glimpse, holding off the green wave long enough for Troy to finally come back from a lost lead to win 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In Wednesday’s conclusion to the two-game season series, fellow junior Andrew Helman gave the People a brilliant 16×20 from deep in the Trojans’ mound with a thunderous 7-1 all-game victory… limiting Greenville to just 4 hits while batting. 13. His shortcomings amounted to four hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
And for an added degree of difficulty, he launched against an afternoon wind that gusted to 20 to 25 miles per hour. It seemed to make little difference as Greenville’s lone run came second on a walk with two outs, a wild pitch and a single scored by center fielder Matthew Edwards.
To support Helman’s effort, Troy scored twice in Game 1 against Greenville starter Alex Kolb on a walk, a fly ball passed on one strikeout and a two-out double over the head of Edwards in center field by Trojan first baseman Trayce Mercer.
In the fourth, Troy scored when Eli Smith went first with another pass/out fly ball, a walk to right fielder Hayden Fry, a wild pitch that Smith scored and an RBI single from receiver Owen Harlamert.
Kolb’s day ended after five innings — 4 runs on just 4 hits and 9 strikeouts — but Troy was just getting ready for the task against the Greenville bullpen. Leading 4-1, they led to the top of the 7th with a solo home run from Eli Smith, followed by a base hit and a pair of steps… then a fly ball blown by the wind upwind. over the head of Greenville center fielder by Nick Kawecki to score two more points and push the margin to 7-1.
At the limit of his throw count, Welker allowed Helman to finish what he started…as long as he was effective at it.
“We have our guys ready to make 100 to 105 pitches,” Welker said afterwards. “But if he had taken the leading man out of the way, we would have gotten him out of there.
Helman responded by retiring Matthew Edwards after throwing the first two pitches wide and low. Then he knocked out third baseman Ty Bush with just as good a fastball as he’d been throwing all day…then retired the endgame on a tapper between the mound and first base. He took it himself in the bag for the final outing!
After starting offensively, Troy (2-0) scored 7 runs on 8 hits and made 1 error.
Greenville fell to 0-2 with 1 run on 4 hits and committed three errors.
Helman scored his first run of the season and had a lot to say about the kind of help he’s had along the way.
“I felt pretty good,” he said with a smile, afterwards. “My season didn’t end well last year with a broken finger on my throwing hand. And tonight, I couldn’t do it without my teammates – Owen (Harlamert) behind home plate and everyone on the field.
Said to be mean to catch, let alone hit against, he credits his fastball as his bread-and-butter pitch.
“I think it’s the angle of my arm,” Helman added. “It’s not a handgun, but it’s not overdone either. I throw both 2 seams and 4 seams, and tonight I threw a fair amount of breaking pitches. But I was more comfortable with the fastball.
It’s not a twig there – a Trojan horse, if you will, Wednesday. Helman, at 6’1″ and 210 pounds, brings a lot of force when he drops this fastball on the plate.
“He’s got a deceptive arm slot,” adds pitching coach Heath Murray. “He can throw two seams and four seams. He wants to be there and he’s competing. All our guys are in competition.
And based on their three starters, Mercer, Helman and Brian Allen, there’s been off-season anticipation about this Troy team and how far they could go this year in the area’s Division I baseball. . They have two Division I varsity commitments in third baseman Connor Hutchinson (Ball State) and Ryder Kirtley (Virginia Tech), and enough emerging talent to complement it to make them that kind of everyday, no-nonsense opponent. any team.
“He [Helman] was in control,” smiles Ty Welker. “And that falls into place pretty well when you have a pretty good defense and a guy who throws punches and fights on the mound. He threw 107 pitches tonight, and first time around, I know some people will think that’s a lot. But we prepared those guys, and he threw over 90 last week. You know he could have been stronger in the seventh inning than he was in the first.
Pitching and defense travel, of course, and make you competitive against all comers. Still, you have to hit and you have to score. Welker thinks they will.
“We haven’t been outside much,” he added. “We had a scrum and a half. We faced a good southpaw tonight and made his shot count, which is what we like to do. But he struck out a lot (9) and we didn’t put a lot of balls in play. We’re working on an approach, because when we have guys in scoring position we don’t put the ball in play. hit or pop it, when a ground ball in second would score a point in some situations. Thought we had a better read on [Kolb] the second time in order, but we can’t be a team that waits until the third inning because that gives a team a chance to score on you. We took advantage of some mistakes and had a better approach the second time around. And against their enclosure too.
It should be interesting, and it should be a draw for North Market Street Field by mid-May. They are at home with opponent MVL West Carrollton on Friday. Third starter Brian Allen makes his debut and Welker and company expect to see no discernible difference.
If pitcher and defense are winning games, keep in mind there’s a reason major league teams play 30 exhibition games just to figure things out. High school, of course, doesn’t have such luxury, and that said, Troy is 2-0 against live shots.
They expect to improve!