The Brazos Valley Bombers made history Tuesday night as pitcher Clint Helms threw the Texas Collegiate League’s first-ever complete game no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader in Coppell against the Copperheads.
The no-hitter came just hours after pitcher Cody Curry (2-2) delivered a gem of his own, a complete game shutout in the opener of the twinbill. The Bombers took the first game 2-0 and won the nightcap 1-0 to leapfrog the Copperheads and take over first place in the Speaker Division.
Helms (1-2) wrote his name in the history books by going seven strong innings, walking four and striking out three. Only one Coppell runner advanced past first base in the game. Matt Curry walked to open the fourth, advanced to second on a groundout and moved to third on a fly to left. Paul Goldschmidt walked to put two Copperheads on with two out, but Helms defused the threat by coaxing All-American Jonas Fester into a flyout.
That was the closest Coppell ever came to threatening. Helms retired the side in order in first, third, fifth, and seventh innings. He closed out the game in classic fashion, striking out Justin Walker to secure the TCL’s first complete game no-hitter.
Helms was aided by a superb defense behind him, crediting plays by outfielders Mark McGonigle and Blake Walker to keeping the no-no alive.
McGonigle was also responsible for giving the Bombers the lead in the fourth inning. TJ Mittelstaedt opened the frame with a single and moved up to second on Walker’s groundout, then came home when McGonigle singled to right field. The Bombers would go on to load the bases with two outs, but couldn’t push across another run – not that Helms needed any more than one run of support on Tuesday.
The no-hitter was the first in the Bombers’ short history but it’s the second Helms has thrown in his pitching career. In his first game at the varsity level for Whitehouse High School, Helms was as good as could be, pitching a perfect game for the Wildcats.
In the opener, Curry was lights out as well, going the distance for just the second complete game shutout in the TCL this season – only to be overshadowed when Helms delivered the third just a few hours later. Curry surrendered just three hits, walking one and striking out one. He faced just 22 Copperheads batters, one more than the minimum for a seven inning game.
No Coppell baserunner advanced past first base with Curry on the mound. In fact, Curry and the Bombers did an excellent job of erasing any Copperheads that managed to reach base. Paul Goldschmidt opened the Copperhead second with a single, but Matt McGuirk followed by grounding into a double play. Austin Goolsby picked up a two-out single in the third but was stranded. In the fourth inning, Anthony Walsh led off with a walk, but Curry coaxed Justin Howard to ground into a double play. When Goldschmidt followed with a single, Curry promptly picked him off first to close out the inning. He then retired the last nine Copperheads he faced to close the book on Coppell.
The Bombers did their damage in the fourth inning, courtesy of the man who caught Curry’s gem. After Joseph Towns opened the frame by reaching on an error, catcher Kip Masuda crushed his third homer of the season to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead. That was all Curry would need on a night when Bombers pitching limited Coppell to three hits in 14 innings, a mere .071 team batting average for the doubleheader.
The sweep over Coppell jumped the B’s into first place in the division on the first game of the second half of the season. The Bombers, who now hold a half-game lead over the Copperheads, will return to the Brazos Valley in first place, just in time for their blockbuster three-game homestand beginning Thursday night. When the first-place Bombers return to Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark, they’ll do so with promotions galore. Thursday marks the return of Thirsty Thursdays, featuring $1 draft beers and 50¢ soft drinks; Friday is Fireworks Friday, with another spectacular fireworks show after the game, and Saturday will be Bombers T-shirt Giveaway Night.