HELENA — Opening night was delayed a few days, but it was worth the wait with a few anxious moments.
The original opener for the American Legion baseball team Helena Senators was rained out Saturday.
That led to the beginning of the season being a 4-3 victory over the Gallatin Valley Outlaws on Tuesday night at Kindrick Legion Field.
Helena (1-0) played an efficient game with no fielding errors through the first seven innings of nine. There were also four double plays.
The offense started quickly and the pitchers — with a hiccup in the eighth inning — controlled the strike zone. Five pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts , eight walks and allowed four hits.
"We had a game plan coming in and we wanted to get everyone in the game," Senators coach Jon Burnett said. "At the same time, we started to coast in the middle innings. I told the guys don't stop putting pressure on teams."
The Class A Outlaws (0-1) also opened their season. Two early errors led them to falling behind.
They made it a game in the eighth when they scored three runs. The Outlaws took advantage of three walks, a hit batter, an error and one single.
"It was a typical first game of the year," Outlaws coach Duwayne Scott said. "We struggled with the defensive side. We had some of our newbies struggle for the first time out."
The Senators scored a run in the first inning, two in the third and one fifth. They used timely hitting with only four hits, two by Ty McGurran. Matt Krieger scored twice and walked twice.
Ethan Keintz and Chase Nielson picked up the other two hits and both drove in a run each, while Grady Keonig and Keintz scored the other runs.
Helena showed it plans to run the bases aggressively this season. McGurran stole two bases and Krieger grabbed one.
While the Senators scored enough to win the game, the offense lagged, which is customary at the beginning of the season.
"All in all, I was proud with how we played," Burnett said. "I was pleased with our pitching and we had good defense. We just one inning where we struggled throwing strikes. It's early-season baseball. Our timing was off on some fastballs."
Ryan Barrett (1-0) started on the mound. He pitched three scoreless and struck out two. Nielson and Cy Miller relieved with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts each. Peyton Witham pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the save.
Micheal Nehring led the Outlaws with two hits, while Connor Johnson and Dalton Mitchell had one each. Johnson, Mitchell and Josh Wisecarver scored. None of their runs were earned.
"We got what we wanted out of the game," Scott said. "Our pitching got some good work in."
The season picks up in earnest this weekend. The Senators play two home doubleheaders against Bozeman on Saturday and Kalispell on Sunday.