By Curt Synness, Helena Independent Record | Photo by Gary Marshall, Blackfoot Media Group
For six innings, Vauxhall (Alberta) pitcher Dallas McGrath hung up goose eggs on the scoreboard against the Helena Reps during the opening night of the Cloninger Class A Classic Legion Tournament.
In the meantime, his Spurs teammates built a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning at Kindrick Legion Field on Thursday. But then the Reps came alive and sent 10 men to the plate and scored five runs in their last at bat, although they came up one run short in a narrow 6-5 loss to the Canadians.
Those contributing to the seventh inning rally included Colin Sassano and Isaiah Meza with singles, Caleb Jackson (twice) and Ray Moore with bases on balls, Robert McCarvel reaching on an error, Tanner McMahon getting hit by pitch and Austin Whitehouse reaching on a fielder’s choice.
Sassano, Meza, Jackson and Whitehouse posted an RBI apiece.
“We strung together some good at bats in the last inning, but it was too late; we got outplayed tonight,” said coach Jon Burnett, whose Reps slip to 14-8 on the year. “Hopefully we can come out ready to play from the first inning tomorrow night.”
McGrath took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, before Talon Burchard broke it up with a single. McGrath, who finished with a 4-hitter and six strikeouts, was relieved by Adam Kress with one out in the seventh. Three of the Reps five runs were unearned.
“(McGrath) did a solid job keeping us off balance,” Burnett said. “He made some big pitches in pressure situations.”
The Spurs offense banged out 11 hits, paced by Jayden Wandler, Vance Fode, Ryan Marshall, Hunter Johnson and Kaden Fujita.
Tristan Siegers started on the hill for Helena and was saddled with the loss. Andrew Rosston relieved the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed one hit of scoreless ball.
Tournament play resumes this morning, with five games taking place, the last of which features the Reps versus the Lethbridge Giants at 8 p.m.