On Wednesday, Koby Griffin was involved in an auto accident on North Hill that was serious enough to total the vehicle he was driving, although no one was severely injured.
The very next day, Griffin blasted a towering, two-run homer for the Helena Senators in a 16-5 win in five innings over the Eastside Crosscutters during the Keith Sell Invitational Tournament.
Actually Griffin’s home run wasn’t his only hit, as he added a run-scoring single, going 2 for 2, scoring four times, and posting three RBIs.
So did he know the shot was gone, and did that mean that he was able to block the accident out of his mind? Well, yes and no.
“Oh, yeah, I knew it was going out right away; it was a high and inside fastball. I like ’em inside, and I just went with it,” said Griffin of his second career dinger, and the first since 2014. “But the accident has been on my mind the whole time, ever since it happened right up until now.”
The Senators game versus the Kennewick, Washington, club was the second of the opening day of the Sell Tourney at Kindrick Legion Field, following Butte’s 12-4 win over Gallatin Valley.
As good as Griffin was at the plate, teammate Payton Pappas had a pretty fair day of his own, going 2 for 4, lacing a triple and producing four RBIs. And Colin Sassano actually led the home team’s 13-hit attack, with a 3 for 3 effort, and four runs scored.
Ryan Dorvall also stroked a pair of base knocks, while Kienan Stief and Jackson Thennis both drove in three runs, and Eamonn Byrne rapped a two-run double.
Helena’s Tanner McMahon started on the hill and pitched the complete-game win. McMahon twirled a seven-hitter, allowing four earned runs, striking out four and walking two.
“Tanner’s a perfectionist and very hard on himself, but he did a great job and he competed hard like he always does,” said coach Dave Thennis, whose Senators improve to 18-15. “If you win even when you’re not at your best, you need to celebrate the little things.”
The Crosscutters used four hurlers, with starter Sam Barnett — who gave up seven runs in just one inning of work — saddled with the defeat. Teammate Morgan Curry matched Griffin’s two-run homer.
The biggest man on the field, 6-foot-2, 245-pound Crosscutters’ third baseman/first baseman Luke Shekeryk — he looks bigger than the official stats claim — brought a little levity to the game in the fifth, when after a conversation with the pitcher he tried the old “hidden ball” trick.
He was busted when he headed back to first, though, and coach Thennis saw the ball in Shekeryk’s glove, yelling at the Senator runner on first to “Stay on the bag!”
The tourney continues Friday with four games. The Senators play the last two, against Gallatin Valley at 4 p.m., and Calgary at 7.
Senators 720 25x x – 16 13 2
Eastside 011 03x x – 5 7 2
Tanner McMahon; Sam Barnett, Tyler Kaludt (2), Morgan Curry (5), Justin Hedge (5). W – McMahon, L – Barnett.
HELENA (18-15) — Eamonn Byrne 1-3, Ryan Dorvall 2-4, Colin Sassano 3-3, Koby Griffin 2-2, Kienan Stief 1-4, Payton Pappas 2-4, Henry Bowers 1-3, Jackson Thennis 1-3, Carter Pappas 0-4.
EASTSIDE — Justin Hedge 0-2, Chris Damito 2-3, Edwin Stanberry 1-3, Luke Shekeryk 1-2, Morgan Curry 1-3, Austin Rogers 1-3, Kody Coop 0-2, Tyson Thurman 1-2, Tyler Kaludt 0-2, Kenny Krivanek 0-1.
2B — Byrne, Stief, Stanberry; 3B – Payton; HR – Griffin, Curry; RBIs – Payton 4, Griffin 3, Stief 3, Byrne 2, Curry 2, Bowers, Stanberry, Rogers.