HELENA — The game of baseball teaches its players to have a short memory.
On a windy Sunday at Kindrick Legion Field in Helena, the Senators (6-3) were able to put Saturday's late-game meltdown at Bozeman in the rearview mirror as they defeated the Butte Miners 11-1 during the morning game, and the Bozeman Bucks 6-1 in the afternoon.
Albeit a AA nonconference game, it was a win over the defending state champs, who scored 13 runs in their final two at-bats Saturday.
"(Bozeman) is a good quality team. I'd say probably tops in the state," said Helena coach Jon Burnett. "We played them tough the last two times. Yesterday we had a letdown in the last couple innings, but we were up by three going into that. So yeah, it was good for our guys to kinda get that monkey off their back."
If you got to the game after the third inning, you missed everything the offenses had to offer.
The Senators did most of their damage in the bottom of the third. After Helena left the bases loaded in the second, junior center fielder Matt Burton made sure that didn't happen again. In the bottom of the third with two outs and the bases juiced, he laced an 0-2 pitch into the right-center field gap. Three runners scored and it was 6-1 Senators.
"Those young guys, when they move up to AA they're still a little un-confident," Burnett said. "Wednesday night in his very last at-bat he got a little floater to fall. Then the next game he went 4-for-4 so we moved him up to leadoff. And he's been getting on base and doing a good job for us."
Helena pitchers held Bucks hitters — not named Alton Gyselman — to three hits. Gyselman was 3-for-4 with the lone Bozeman RBI, which came on a double to deep left in the top of the first. It took a diving play by Burton on a low line drive to center field to get Gyselman off the base paths.
After that RBI double in the first inning, Helena starting pitcher Chase Nielsen mowed down the Bucks for five more frames.
"We were probably about 15 pitches higher than we were planning on but he was in a groove there at the end," Burnett said. "I would have loved to let him finish the game but at the point in the season we're at, he hit that 80-pitch mark and we weren't going to push him past that."
After wiggling out of a jam in the top of the second, Nielsen didn't give the Bucks even a glimmer of hope. Once he was able to locate his curveball, it seemed like Bozeman hitters were headed back to the dugout just as quickly as they walked up to bat.
"Coach (J.C.) Dilts ... he just got back. He used to be my pitching coach on the Reps," Nielsen explained. "I was kind of struggling at the start of the year, but he got back this weekend and he got me back on track. After those first few innings he pulled me aside and talked to me, and told me what I was doing wrong. Then I really got into a groove there."
Victor Scott came in and shut the door in the seventh for the Senators. He also had productive a day at the plate. Scott finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored.
Helena will host Great Falls on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.