HELENA — The Helena Senators opened the Montana-Alberta Class AA State Legion Baseball Tournament with a 4-3 win over Kalispell, sparked by Zach Spiroff's game-winning triple.
The No. 6 Senators and No. 3 Lakers were tied at 2-all at Billings' Dehler Park, when Tyler Tenney singled for Helena with one out in the top of the seventh inning. Spiroff then stepped to the plate and laced a long drive to left-center field — his second hit of the game — for a three-bagger, scoring Tenney with the go-ahead run.
Reliever Ethan Keintz then closed the door in the bottom of the seventh, after Kalispell had runners on first and second with one out, by getting the last two men on pop-ups, for the 4-3 victory.
Coach Jon Burnett's Senators (30-23) broke a scoreless tie in the top of third to go up 2-0, when Spiroff walked, followed by a single by Ty McGurran, a wild pitch and Grady Koenig reaching on an error.
The Lakers got even in their at bat, on four bases on balls and a single by Ryan Symmes. Neither team scored again until Spiroff's clutch hit in the seventh.
Cy Miller started on the bump for Helena and worked five innings, allowing two hits while striking out six batsmen and walking five. Keintz gave up one hit during his two scoreless frames for the win.
Kalispell starter Logan Siblurud sustained the loss. Kalispell teammates Taylor Morton and Jack Corriveau had a double and an RBI, respectively.
Hunter Kirkpatrick also singled for the Senators.
Helena played error-less ball, while their counterparts committed two miscues in the field.
Next, the Senators face the winner of the game between No. 2 Bozeman and No. 7 Billings Scarlets slated for 4 p.m. Sunday.