There was no way the Butte Miners would lose on this night.
With family and friends of the late Judge Jack Whelan looking on, the Miners swept past the Helena Reps in a Southern A doubleheader on a picture-perfect Wednesday night on Miners Field at 3 Legends Stadium.
Butte won 11-1 and 9-0, leaving little doubt on “Jack Whelan Night.”
Whelan, one of the Legends at 3 Legends, passed away last November. Wednesday’s night, which started with a pregame barbecue, basically served as a memorial for the man who kept Butte’s American Legion program alive for decades.
Jim Hanley, a longtime Whelan friend and another of the “3 Legends,” threw out the first pitch.
Then, the Miners went out and won in convincing fashion. The wins lift Butte’s record to 9-5 in conference play and 20-21 overall. The Miners will play doubleheaders at home on Saturday and Sunday, taking on the Livingston Braves and Bozeman Bucks A.
Butte Miners 11, Helena Reps 1 (Boxscore)
A three-run double by Reece Cox in the first inning was the big hit for the Miners in the opener.
The two-out double came as the Miners built a 4-0 lead in their first at bat. The Miners scored four more in the forth in a game that was called after six innings by the 10-run rule.
Cox and Eric “Chooch” Hart each hit a double and a single in the win. Egan Lester, Aidan Lee, Evan Starr, Rye Doherty, Ethan “Easy” Cunningham and Sean Ossello added singles in the win. Ossello drove in two runs.
Hunter Hotalen pitched into the fifth inning to get the win. He scattered four hits, fanned two and worked around four walks. Eyston Lakkala struck out two in an inning and two thirds of relief.
Payton Tavary, Tycen Mooney, Tyler Roberts and Bohden Bahnmiller singled for the Reps.
Butte Miners 9, Helena Reps 0 (Boxscore)
Kian O’Neill went 3 for 4 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the Miners in the nightcap.
Hart added two singles for Butte, which opened the games with four in the second and four more in the fourth. Lester, Lee, Cox Lakkala Hotalen and Ossello also singled for Butte.
Rye Doherty pitched five strong innings to pick up the win. HE struck out two, walked one and gave up one hit. Cunningham closed out the shutout with four K’s in two innings of work.
Ayden Smelko smacked a pair of singles to lead Helena. Bahnmiller and Padric Whited added singles.