By Curt Synness, Helena IR | Photo by James Ridle |
When Nick Wrigg came to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Helena Senators with the bases loaded and his team down 5-4, he had extra incentive to do something spectacular.
Just a half-inning before, with Helena leading the Butte Miners 4-2, it was Wrigg’s error in center field that allowed the Miners to tie the game at 4-all. Another error gave Butte the lead, in the last game of the night at Kindrick Legion Field during the third day of play of the Keith Sell Tournament.
But the Senators worked the bases full, and with two down, Wrigg stepped to the plate.
“Before I got up, I just erased everything from my mind, wiped out the ball that I missed, and told myself that I was the best hitter in this ballpark,” Wrigg related, “and by the time I stepped in the box, I believed it.”
Wrigg then proceeded to rip a rope into right-centerfield, as Jackson Thennis and Danny Burton raced home from third and second bases with the tying and winning runs, as the entire Senators bench and fans in the stands erupted in celebration.
“I was looking for something I could drive. It was a fastball out – I love the outside,” he said.
And how bad did he want it?
“Pretty frickin’ bad,” he said with a grin.
The win propels coach Dave Thennis’ charges into tonight’s championship game with Bozeman, slated for 8 p.m. at Kindrick Legion Field.
Helena took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, before the Miners scored one each in the second and third frames, to go up 2-1.
Then Senators starter Jack Shevalier, who worked himself out of several jams with runners in scoring position, shut out Butte over the next three innings, before being relived by Kenny Wilson.
Helena tied it up in the fourth, and went ahead 3-2 in the fifth, on Danny Burton’s RBI single to right. The hosts added an insurance run in the sixth, before the wheels came off temporarily in the seventh.
Butte scored three times, on walks to Nate LeProwse and Ryan Moodry, and two Senators errors on Jared Haran’s single. When the dust settled, the Miners had the lead, 5-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jackson Thennis led off with a single, and was sacrificed to second by Riley Pickens. With two outs, Burton and Payton Pappas walked, loading the bases for Wrigg’s heroics.
Wrigg – who is the team’s new triples record-holder, with 11 – and Jackson Thennis led the offense with two hits apiece, while Wilson collected the pitching win. Shevalier finished with 12 strikeouts in his six innings of work, scattering seven hits.
“It was a strange last inning and a half, it’s not quite the way we drew it up,” coach Thennis said. “But this was a ‘Kid Win’…the kids figured out a way to win.”
Moodry finished with three hits for the Mining City club. Haran, who relieved Zach Hart in the seventh, was saddled with the loss.
Helena 6, Butte 5
Butte Miners — 011 000 3 — 5 10 1
Helena Senators — 100 111 2 — 6 8 3
Zach Hart (6 1/3), J Haran (1/3); Jack Shevalier (6), Kenny Wilson (1). W — Wilson, L — Haran.
BUTTE — M Madrazo 0-4, Nate LeProwse 1-3, R Moodry 3-3, J Haran 2-3, T Hoagland 1-4, D McDonald 1-4, D Lane 0-2, B Henningson 1-4, R Doherty 0-3, Kilian O’Leary 1-1.
HELENA — Koby Griffin 1-4, Danny Burton 1-3, Payton Pappas 0-3, Nick Wrigg 2-4, Kienan Stief 0-3, Carter Pappas 1-3, Ryan Dorvall 1-2, Jackson Thennis 2-2, Riley Pickens 0-1.
2B — Henningson. 3B — McDonald. RBIs — Wrigg 2, Burton, Carter, LeProwse, Moodry, Lane.