HELENA — Sure strikeouts are exciting, but wins are even better. Helena Senators southpaw Hunter Bratcher reached into the vault and pitched a game that might have been more commonplace in baseball 40 or 50 years ago. He didn’t walk a batter and he didn’t strike anybody out across seven innings of shutout ball in a 5-0 conference victory against Kalispell on Monday afternoon.
“He was pounding that strike zone,” Senators head coach Jon Burnett said. “He was efficient, he was placing the ball where he wanted and getting ahead. Just really locating when he got two strikes. Kalispell is a team that’s tough to strike out. They take approaches where there’s not a lot of weight transfer stepping out on that front foot – they’re pretty even with their approaches.”
Helena improved its win streak to 17 games with the conference and non-conference doubleheader sweep. Helena won Game 2 8-4. The Senators are now 7-3 in league play.
Bratcher scattered just two hits, one of which was a two-out infield knock in the third. He fired nearly 68 percent of his pitches for strikes, worked ahead to 15 of the 23 batters he faced and induced 14 fly outs, needing just 83 pitches to do so.
“Change-up was really on point,” Bratcher said. “The other pitches – just hitting spots and trusting my defense. Let them play behind me…Just hitting my spots and changing up speeds. Just hitting spots where it’s hard to hit pitches.”
Helena Senators catcher Trysten Mooney.