COLUMBIA — Molly Berkey hit a home run in the top of the third inning Tuesday afternoon to account for the game's lone run as the Helias Lady Crusaders defeated the Blue Springs Wildcats 1-0 in the first round of the Class 5 District 5 Tournament at Battle High School.
With one out in the top of the third, Berkey belted a 1-2 pitch over the fence in center field to give the Lady Crusaders the lead.
That was one of five Helias hits in the game.
Berkey went the distance in the circle, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out five.
Blue Springs threatened to score in the bottom of the first. A one-out single, followed by a double, put runners at second and third. But Berkey got two strikeouts to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
That was the first of eight straight Wildcats set down by Berkey. Blue Springs mounted another one-out rally in the fifth.
A walk and a single put runners at first and second. After getting a fielder's choice for the second out that put runners at the corners, Berkey induced a fly out to center to end the inning.
Berkey then closed the game by allowing just one baserunner in the final two innings.
Blue Springs, the No. 4 seed, ends its season at 14-12.
Helias (21-7-1), tied for 10th in the Missouri High School Fastpitch Coaches Association's final regular-season rankings, will take on No. 1 seed and top-ranked Blue Springs South (26-4) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today. Blue Springs South advanced with a 10-0 victory against Sedalia Smith-Cotton in the opening game of the tournament Tuesday.