By Curt Synness, Helena IR | Full story and photos
The Helena Senators hosted the Kalispell Lakers in a Class AA Legion baseball twinbill on Tuesday and came away with a pair of well-played conference victories over the Lakers, 4-2 and 5-3.
Senators shortstop Kienan Stief drove in the winning run in the opener, Payton Pappas’ ground ball and subsequent Kalispell error decided the nightcap, and Ryan Dorvall and Henry Bowers collected the pitching wins.
Helena improves to 17-15 overall and 3-4 in league play after the action at Kindrick Legion Field.
“While we were on the road (to and from the Rapid City Tournament), we talked a lot about being consistent and expecting to play well,” Senators coach Dave Thennis said. “I’m happy with the pitching, we got the clutch hits when we needed them, and we played solid defense; that was a good team over there that we just beat twice.”
In the opener, Helena scored two runs in both the first and third innings. Colin Sassano’s booming RBI-double over the center fielder’s head sparked the home team’s offense in the initial inning. And Stief’s RBI-single in the third plated the deciding marker.
Sassano (two runs) and Stief finished with two base knocks apiece, while the Senators’ shortstop produced three RBIs.
Dorvall started on the bump for the Capital City group, scattering eight hits over six innings and allowing two runs. Bowers closed out the seventh in relief.
Koby Griffin, Bowers and Carter Pappas shared Helena’s mound work in the nightcap.
Griffin allowed eight hits and three runs over the first four innings, while Bowers (one frame, one strikeout) and Pappas (two stanzas, two strikeouts) permitted a combined pair of hits over the final scoreless innings. Bowers was credited with the win.
The Senators broke a 3-3 deadlock in the fifth stanza, on singles by Stief and Jackson Thennis, two errors by the Lakers, and a sacrifice bunt by Jackson Maynard.
Maynard finished with a couple base raps, Payton Pappas ripped a double, and Ryan Arntson and Dorvall added RBIs.
Helena’s defense committed just two errors on the day, and in game two, perhaps the most impressive plays were a pair of long running, over-the-shoulder catches by Ryan Dorvall in deep left-center field.
“Ryan pitched well in that first game, but he’s been better, and that’s a good sign when you don’t have your best stuff and can still win,” the Senators’ skipper said. “And Henry’s been throwing well for us, he filled the gap we needed in the second game between Koby and Carter.”
Next, the Senators will play host to the Keith Sell Invitational, which takes place at Kindrick Legion Field from Thursday to Sunday.
Kalispell 010 001 0 — 2 8 1
Helena 202 000 x — 4 6 1
Dawson Smith; Ryan Dorvall, Henry Bowers (7). W – Dorvall, L – Smith, S – Bowers.
KALISPELL — Hayden Schlepp 1-4, Jake Halland 1-3, Patrick O’Connell 0-3, Andrew Schluesner 0-3, Leif Erickson 2-4, Tiler Whiteaker 2-3, Spencer Pisk 1-2, Micah Benson 1-2, Jason Combs 0-3.
HELENA — Ryan Arntson 1-3, Eamonn Byrne 1-1, Colin Sassano 2-3, Koby Griffin 0-1, Kienan Stief 2-3, Payton Pappas 0-2, Henry Bowers 0-2, Ray Moore 0-2, Carter Pappas 0-2.
2B — Sassano, Erickson; RBIs – Stief 3, Pisk 2.
Kalispell 003 000 0 — 3 10 4
Helena 030 020 x — 5 7 1
Erickson, Logan DeCock (5); Griffin, Bowers (5), Carter (6). W – Bowers, L – Erickson, S – Carter.
KALISPELL — Schlepp 0-4, Halland 2-3, O’Connell 4-4, Schluesner 1-3, Erickson 1-4, Whiteaker 0-4, Pisk 1-2, Joe Broughton 1-3, Combs 0-3, DeCock 0-1.
HELENA (17-15, 3-4) — Arntson 1-4, Dorvall 1-4, Sassano 0-2, Payton 1-3, Jackson Maynard 2-2, Jackson Thennis 1-2, Danny Burton 0-1, Byrne 0-3.
2B — Payton, Halland; RBIs – Erickson 2, Arntson, Dorvall, Maynard.