The Helena Senators hosted the Billings Scarlets on Friday in the first of a two-day Class AA Legion conference series, and came away with a well-played, 5-1 victory.
Helena jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one inning of play at Kindrick Legion Field, and that turned out to be enough offense to win the game — although the hosts added a couple insurance runs later on.
Senators leadoff man Conor McCarvel got on base on an error to start things off in the bottom of the first, followed by Ryan Arntson’s single. Then Kienan Stief singled, and both runners scored on a throwing error.
Next, Ray Moore Jr. drilled a long RBI-single to left center field, and the hosts grabbed a two-run lead.
In the fifth frame, Helena’s right fielder, Arntson, played a little “Rickey Henderson ball.” Arntson reached on a walk before sprinting for a straight steal. On the next pitch, he went to third on a delayed steal, and when the pitcher’s throw went wild into left field foul territory, the speedy Arntson sprinted home to extend the lead to three.
Stief and Moore paced the home team’s 13-hit attack with three base knocks apiece. Payton Pappas and Moore both had RBIs.
Keaton Ralston started on the bump for Helena, and worked eight innings for the win. He scattered six hits and allowed one run in the opening stanza, before shutting out the Magic City over the next seven frames. Ralston struck out eight and walked two. Andrew Rosston closed out the scoreless ninth in relief.
“Keaton had a good fast ball and was throwing his curve ball for strikes,” said coach Dave Thennis, whose Senators move to 15-13 on the year. “He never got himself in trouble; excellent effort.”
Billings’ lone multi-hit game was off the bat of Mac Spickard. Teammate Andy Larsen drove in the visitors’ lone run. Starter Greg Andriolo went seven frames and took the loss for the Scarlets. The visitors were also hurt by four errors.
“It was a sound defensive game for us. We made the plays we should make,” Thennis said.
The two teams meet again Saturday at Kindrick Legion Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
Scarlets 100 000 000 — 1 7 4
Senators 300 010 10x — 5 13 0
Greg Andriolo, Mac Spickard (7); Keaton Ralston, Andrew Rosston (9). W – Ralston, L – Andriolo.
SCARLETS — Ben Tallman 0-4, Kendall Sinclair 0-4, Dylan Johnson 1-2, Andy Larsen 1-4, Brayden Huppert 1-4, Cole Kramer 1-4, Payton 0-0, Clay Cebull 0-2, Jack Leuthold 0-2, Cole DeVries 1-3, Mac Spickard 2-4.
HELENA (15-13) — Conor McCarvel 1-5, Ryan Arntson 1-4, Colin Sassano 1-4, Andrew Rosston 1-3, Ray Moore, Jr. 3-4, Payton Pappas 1-4, Carter Pappas 1-2, Eamonn Byrne 1-4.
2B — Johnson; RBIs – Moore, Pappas, Larsen.