In a tight ballgame, the Helena Senators nipped the Kalispell Lakers 4-2 to close out the first day of the Keith Sell Tournament at Kindrick Legion Field.
The Senators went into the the bottom of the sixth inning deadlocked 2-2 with the Lakers before making their decisive move.
Helena’s Payton Pappas worked a bases on balls, and was sacrificed to second base by Jackson Thennis. Ryan Dorvall then stroked a single to right. With runners on the corners, Kienan Stief laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to bring home Pappas, with Dorvall speeding all the way around to third on the play. Next, Kenny Wilson rapped an RBI single to left for an insurance run.
Wilson, who relieved starter Dorvall in the sixth, then set down Kalispell in order in the top of the seventh to earn the win. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of hitless ball, striking out four Kalispell batsmen and walking none in the process.
Dorvall worked the first 5.1 frames, giving up five hits and also fanning four.
Logan DeCock was hung with the defeat.
Helena outhit the visitors 8-5, led by Koby Griffin and Danny Burton, with two hits apiece.
In the field, the Lakers played erroless ball, while the hosts committed but one miscue.
“It was a very well-pitched game,” Helena coach Dave Thennis said. “We were just able to get a couple more scoring chances – both teams played well defensively.”
Action resumes today, with the Senators playing two of the five games scheduled, versus Gallatin Valley at 2:30 p.m., and Eastside Baseball at 8 p.m.
At 6 p.m., the Senators will be autographing the team poster.
Kalispell Lakers – 000 200 0 – 2 5 0
Helena Senators – 200 002 x – 4 8 1
Pitching: Logan DeCock; Ryan Dorvall (5.1), Kenny Wilson (1.2). W – Wilson, L – DeCock.
KALISPELL – Tiler Whitaker 0-3, Walker Malmin 1-3, Patrick O’Connell 1-2, Andrew Schluesner 2-3, Leif Erickson 0-3, Robert Reaser 0-3, Andy Bemis 1-3, Levi Brenneman 0-2, Branden Maassen 0-2.
HELENA – Koby Griffin 2-3, Danny Burton 2-2, Nick Wrigg 1-3, Payton Pappas 0-2, Jackson Thennis 1-2, Henry Bowers 0-1, Kienan Stief 0-2, Kenny Wilson 1-3, Jackson Maynard 0-3, Ryan Dorvall 1-1.
2B – O’Connell, Schluesner; RBIs – Stief, Wilson, O’Connell, Schluesner.