It didn't resemble a typical summer baseball game.
The Helias Crusaders got all they wanted from the Harrisburg Bulldogs in the first game of Tuesday night's doubleheader at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.
"We feel bad there wasn't a spring season, but I know they feel that way as well because they've got some guys that can play," Helias coach Garrett Wiggans said after the Crusaders topped the Bulldogs 5-0 in the opener before posting a 9-1 victory in the nightcap.
"They have some ballplayers and they kept us off-balance for a lot of that first game. That was a well-played game for both sides."
Defense was the key early for the Crusaders in the first game.
The Bulldogs had runners at the corners with one out in the first. But starting pitcher Jason Haselhorst induced a grounder back to the mound to start a 1-6-3 double play.
"When you're struggling at the plate early in the game, it's great to play good defense," Wiggans said.
In the second, Harrisburg had a runner at first with one out. Haselhorst got the Bulldog batter to hit a fly ball to Griffin Buschjost in left for the second out and when he saw the Harrisburg baserunner standing on second, threw a strike to first baseman Zach Wolken for an out of the ordinary double play.
"Usually you don't see that from left field," Wiggans said. "Griffin would be the first to tell you he doesn't have an amazing arm, but he sure threw it strong and right where it needed to be."
Helias got on the board in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Zach Paschal walked before moving to second on a wild pitch. He then scored when Peyton Huddleston drilled a 2-2 pitch to center for an RBI.
The Crusaders added two runs in the fourth. Wolken led off with a walk before scoring on a first-pitch triple by Jake Weaver to right-center. Weaver scored later in the inning on an error to make it 3-0.
Helias got two more runs in the fifth. Trevor Austin drew a one-out walk and scooted all the way to third on an errant pickoff throw. Wolken then singled to make it 4-0.
Weaver and Paschal followed with singles to load the bases before Huddleston singled to make it 5-0.
"Our offense finally came around a little bit late in the game," Wiggans said.
Haselhorst then set down the Bulldogs in order in the top of the sixth as the game was called due to the time limit. He finished with a four-hitter, allowing one walk while striking out eight. Haselhorst threw first-pitch strikes to all the Bulldogs the first time through the order.
"Jason threw another good game," Wiggans said. "The big thing was when he was missing, he was missing down. They didn't get a lot of good contact against him."
In the nightcap, the Crusaders scored a combined six runs in their final three innings to take the eight-run victory.
Harrisburg scored its lone run in the top of the first inning. Helias took the lead for good with a pair in the bottom of the second without benefit of a hit. The Crusaders drew threw walks in the inning and were aided by a pair of wild pitches, an error and a stolen base.
A sacrifice fly by Quinton Baker plated Huddleston in the fourth to make it 3-1. Helias blew the game open with a four-run fifth. Paschal had a two-run triple to key the inning while Cole Stumpe and Huddleston both added an RBI.
Helias closed the game by run rule in the bottom of the sixth. Kaleb Haley singled to start the inning and moved to second on an error on the play. Stumpe then tripled to plate Haley as the Crusaders finished with 10 hits in the nightcap.
Zane Crocker-Nierman went the distance to get the win for the Crusaders, tossing a three-hitter. He walked two and struck out nine.
"He's got some little mechanical things he needs to fix, but that will come as he gets a little more experience," Wiggans said.
Helias will wrap up its summer league slate Thursday with a doubleheader at Fatima. Fatima handed Helias its lone loss in the league in the opening doubleheader at the Legion Complex
"We'd sure like to get two wins at their place," Wiggans said.
The first game is slated for a 6 p.m. start in Westphalia.