HELENA —The Helena Senators played the game they've been looking for early in the American Legion baseball season on Tuesday night.
Their offensive was productive, defense efficient and pitching dominant.
For their opponent, the Butte Miners, a lack of pitching depth was their undoing.
Helena defeated Butte 12-5 at Kindrick Legion Field in a Class AA nonconference game.
"We just have to start better," Helena coach Jon Burnett said. "We dug ourselves into a hole the last two games."
The Miners (3-10) jumped out to a quick five-run lead after two innings, thanks to four runs in the second. Ryan Moodry led their seven-hit attack with a 2-for-4 day with an RBI.
Starting pitcher Tayler Carlson labored through two innings for the Senators (7-4), but settled down for the last three scoreless innings he pitched.
Hunter Kirkpatrick (1-0) relieved him in the sixth inning when the game was tied at five runs each. He picked up the win as he struck out six and allowed one hit the last four scoreless innings.
"The change of pace really gave us problems," Butte coach Jeff LeProwse said. "The second arm was more velocity than we were prepared for. We have to learn how to adjust."
Butte starting pitcher Ryan Burt gave the Senators problems through three innings, but they started to get to him in the fourth with three runs and two more in the fifth.
He struck out five batters, and Butte registered eight strikeouts among three pitchers.
"Our pitcher was at the end of where he could go, but Ryan Burt did a really good job," LeProwse said. "We've played a lot of games. This was our sixth in five days. Our pitching depth? We are trying to test some of our arms."
The Senators strung their 12 hits together and took advantage of three Butte errors and five walks for their big innings.
A six-run sixth inning sealed the game in Helena's favor.
"It's the same old story," Burnett said. "We hit the ball hard early in the game, but right at people. We took really good at-bats, while our pitching kept us in the game."
Colin Sassano was the top slugger for Helena with a 3-for-4 day with two runs scored. Andrew Rosston added two hits and two RBIs, while Zach Spiroff and Ty McGurran drove in two runs each.
Rounding out the all-around well-played game for the Senators was the defense. There were only two errors.
"Our infielders are making better throws," Burnett said. "You can tell we are getting more reps and improving."