After falling behind the visiting Bozeman Bucks by three on Tuesday, the Helena Senators rallied back to overtake the Bucks 8-6 in Class AA baseball action at Kindrick Legion Field.
The Senators used a big, four-run fourth inning, lights-out relief pitching from Tanner McMahon, and a pair of double plays in the final frames to complete the comeback for their fourth consecutive victory.
McMahon relieved starter Payton Pappas in the sixth inning, and allowed just two hits and one run, which was unearned, over the last four stanzas to earn the save.
“Tanner deadlocked the doors,” said coach Dave Thennis, whose Senators improve to 32-21 overall and solidify their hold on fourth place in the conference with a 10-8 mark in league play. “He just threw a lot of strikes and mixed his pitches up really well to keep them off-balance.”
The go-ahead run in the fourth was provided by Ray Moore’s RBI-single, when the hosts batted through the order and went out in front, 6-5. Jackson Maynard, Danny Burton and Koby Griffin each walked; Ryan Dorvall was hit by a pitch; Ryan Arntson reached on a fielder’s choice; and Colin Sassano laced a two-run double to left field.
The home team added insurance runs in the fifth and the seventh.
Pappas recorded the win, going five frames before being spelled by McMahon. Ryan Evenson took the loss.
Bozeman put runners aboard in the eighth and the ninth, but both innings ended on double plays. First, shortstop Kienan Stief corralled a hard smash, stepped on second for the force and then fired to first baseman Jackson Thennis to get his man. Then Arntson outran a pop-up in shallow right field and tossed a dart to Stief at second to end the game, when the Bozeman runner did not tag up and kept going on the play.
Helena’s offense was paced by Sassano and Burton with three hits apiece. Sassano produced four RBIs. Arntson chipped in with a pair of base knocks and three runs scored.
Bozeman out-hit the Capital City club 13-12, led by DJ Perdaems’ three-hit night.
“This is what we call a ‘trap game,’ because we just beat the Royals three straight, and Bozeman is lower in the standings,” Thennis said. “But what I’m most impressed with is how after we fell behind, we settled in and played good, solid baseball. And Kienan and Ryan (Arntson) made those big plays at the end to help clinch it.”
NOTE: Wednesday night the Senators host Bozeman in a doubleheader on Senior Night, the final home games of the season, beginning at 5 p.m. Former Senators player Buddy Burnett will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Bozeman 230 000 001 — 6 13 2
Helena 110 410 10x — 8 12 4
Ryan Evenson, Austin Fransden (4), Alex Ekstrom (5); Payton Pappas, Tanner McMahon (6). W – Pappas, L – Evenson, S – McMahon.
McMahon allowed two hits, one run (unearned) and struck out one, in four innings.
BOZEMAN — Bailey Paddock 2-5, Bennett Hostetler 2-5, DJ Perdaems 3-5, Jake Buck 2-5, Morgan Hostetler 1-5, Andrew Purpura 0-5, Adam Hubley 0-2, Robert Samson 2-2, Tyler Dobie 1-3.
HELENA (32-21, 10-8) — Ryan Arntson 2-5, Danny Burton 3-3, Colin Sassano 3-4, Kienan Stief 1-3, Koby Griffin 0-2, Ray Moore 1-5, Jackson Thennis 1-5, Jackson Maynard 1-2, Ryan Dorvall 0-3.
2B — Burton, Sassano, Hostetler; RBIs – Sassano 4, Paddock 2, Stief, Moore, Dorvall, Hostetler