Senators turn in opening-day rout

By Curt Syness, Helena Independent Record

The Helena Senators opened their season with exactly the kind of play coach Dave Thennis had laid out on his season blueprint on Saturday — utilizing pitching, defense, speed and making good at-bats.

The result: A dominant, doubleheader sweep of the Kalispell Lakers at Kindrick Legion Field, 13-0 in five innings and 9-1. The Senators’ pitching staff allowed just seven hits, while the offense banged out 19 base hits — including six for extra bases. The hosts outscored the Lakers a combined 22-1.

Riley Pickens started the lid-lifter and twirled a two-hit shutout, with two strikeouts, and did not walk a batter.

Reilly Leary, Koby Griffin and Nick Wrigg led the 11-hit attack. Leary went 4 for 4, with a double and two RBIs, while Griffin was 3 for 4 and Wrigg laced a triple and drove in three runs. Danny Burton chipped in with a double.

In the nightcap, Jackson Thennis and Wrigg sparked the offense. Thennis was 3 for 3 with a double, triple and four RBIs. Wrigg ripped another triple and drove in two more runs. Both finished the day with five RBIs.

Helena hurlers Jack Shevalier, Payton Pappas, Kenny Wilson and Jacob Hatzenbuehler collaborated on a five-hitter. Shevalier started on the bump and worked three innings for the win.

“These were nice first games for us,” Thennis said. “Our pitchers were successful today by getting ahead in the count early. In that first game, Riley put himself in position by being ahead 95 percent of the time. In the second game, Jack was able to keep his composure and get the outs when he needed to.

“Offensively, I don’t know that I could single out any one guy. Everybody contributed with hard hits, walks, moving the base runners. And these guys are all so fast (on the base paths) that, as a coach, they’re on you in a hurry. And the defense was solid, too.”

The Senators are in action again Sunday at Kindrick Legion Field for a Class AA twin bill versus the Missoula Mavericks, beginning at 1 p.m.

Box Score

Helena 13, Kalispell 0 (5)

Kalispell 000 00- – 0 2 2

Helena 261 4x- – 13 11 1

Riley Pickens (5); Sam Crompton, Logan DeCock (2), Leif Erickson (3), Keatin Mohl (4). W – Pickens, L – Crompton

KALISPELL — Tiler Whitaker 0-2, Walker Malmin 0-2, Levi Brenneman 0-2, Andrew Schleusner 0-2, Leif Erickson 0-2, Patrick O’Connell 1-2, Jason Combs 0-2, Keatin Mohl 0-2, Quinn Barber 1-2.

HELENA — Koby Griffin 3-4, Reilly Leary 4-4, Nick Wrigg 1-2, Jackson Thennis 1-3, Payton Pappas 0-1, Carter Pappas 0-1, Chase Rook 1-3, Danny Burton 1-1, Ryan Dorvall 0-2.

2B — Leary, Burton; 3B – Wrigg; RBIs – Wrigg 3, Leary 2, Thennis, P. Pappas, C. Pappas, Dorvall.

Helena 9, Kalispell 1

Kalispell 001 000 0 – 1 5 3

Helena 031 122 x – 9 8 1

Payton Pappas, Kenny Wilson (6), Jacob Hatzenbuehler (7); Walker Malmin, Logan DeCock (6). W – Pappas, L – Malmin.

KALISPELL — Whitaker 1-4, Brenneman 1-4, Schluesner 1-3, Erickson 0-1, O’Connell 1-2, Andy Bemis 0-2, Combs 0-1, Crompton 1-2, Mohl 0-2, Barber 0-3.

HELENA (2-0) — Griffin 1-4, Henry Bowers 0-3, Wrigg 2-4, Kienan Stief 0-1, P. Pappas 1-3, Dorvall 0-1, Thennis 3-3, Pickens 0-2, Kenny Wilson 1-3, Jackson Maynard 0-1.

2B — Thennis, Schluesner; 3B – Thennis, Wrigg; RBIs – Thennis 4, Wrigg 2, Stief, Pickens, Maynard, O’Connell.