2015 Keith Sell Champions - Helena Senators
2015 Keith Sell Champions - Helena Senators

Senators win first Keith Sell in 12 years

By Curt Synness, Helena IR | Photo by Kelly Burton |

Defensive plays often get overlooked when recapping the keys to a baseball victory.

But on Sunday night at Kindrick Legion Field, in the championship game of the Keith Sell Tournament between the Helena Senators and Bozeman Bucks, Helena left fielder Ryan Dorvall made the kind of catch that those who witnessed it won’t soon forget.

The Senators held a 5-0 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning. But Bozeman rallied back, and after scoring two runs, the Bucks had runners on second and third, when Jenner Kearns smashed a high, hard line drive down the left field line that looked like a sure bases-clearing double or triple.

Dorvall got on his horse and gave chase, but at first the ball looked like it was past him. With a sudden burst of speed near the foul line, Dorvall made a leaping stab, and with full extension snagged the liner and then somersaulted when he hit the ground.

He jumped up and showed the ball to the umpires, before sprinting for the dugout, where he was mugged by his teammates in front of the home dugout.

Dorvall’s circus catch saved at least two runs, kept Kearns from a double or a triple, killed Bozeman’s momentum and sparked a 6-run Senators explosion in the bottom of the inning, as Helena went on to claim the Sell championship trophy with an 11-4 victory.

“Ryan Dorvall’s catch in left field was the difference maker in the ball game,” said Helena Senators coach Dave Thennis. “That gave us momentum and stopped theirs.”

The Senators improved to 27-13 on the year, and claimed their first title in the Sell tourney in 12 years.

After a scoreless first two innings, Helena broke loose for five runs in the third, on just two hits, but two costly Bozeman errors.

By the end of the fifth, the hosts were up 11-2, and then held on for the 7-run triumph.

Danny Burton and Dorvall paced the offense with two hits apiece, while Payton Pappas posted a pair of RBIs. Twin brother Carter Pappas chipped in with a double and two runs scored.

Helena starter Riley Pickens worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs. The big right-hander struck out four batsmen, with just one walk, to earn the triumph. Carter relieved the final two innings for the save.

Bennett Hostetler led the Bucks at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double. Alex Eckstrom was hung with the pitching loss.

Helena 11, Bozeman 4

Bozeman Bucks — 000 020 2 — 4 8 4
Helena Senators — 005 060 x — 11 9 2

Alex Eckstrom (2), Conner Tweet (2), A Frandsen (1/3), B Paddock (1 1/3); Riley Pickens (4 2/3), Carter Pappas (2 1/3). W — Pickens, L — Eckstrom.

BOZEMAN — B Paddock 2-4, Bennett Hostetler 3-4, DJ Perdaems 1-4, Jenner Kearns 0-4, J Thayer 0-3, Morgan Hostetler 0-3, Aaron Hubley 1-3, Jack Murfitt 1-3, Mike Gunther 0-1.

HELENA — Koby Griffin 1-3, Danny Burton 2-3, Payton Pappas 1-1, Nick Wrigg 0-4, Kienan Stief 1-3, Carter Pappas 1-2, Ryan Dorvall 2-4, Jackson Thennis 0-3, Jackson Maynard 1-3.

2B — C. Pappas. RBIs — P. Pappas 2, Griffin, Carter, Dorvall, Maynard.