Helena Senators seek Keith Sell Tournament 'grand slam'

Posted at 7:46 AM, Jun 28, 2024

HELENA — It's not often that a batter steps up to the plate with the chance to hit a grand slam. But that's exactly what the Helena Senators get to do this weekend, seeking their fourth Keith Sell Tournament title in a row.

For the 29th straight year, Helena's Class AA American Legion baseball team will host a summer tournament in honor of Sell, its longtime former coach and general manager. Beginning Thursday, seven teams from across the region and two from Canada will play five games each at Kindrick Legion Field.

“It’s so much fun,” said Helena pitcher Will Lyng, a member of last season's tournament-champion team. “It’s just a great time of year, first of all. It’s around the Fourth of July. Everybody wants to be outside, doing something. And, yeah, our crowd is amazing during that tournament.”

Lyng admitted that there exists at least some pressure for his team to repeat as champion after winning its third-straight Keith Sell Tournament title last year.

“We want to win it," said Lyng. "But we’re just going to keep playing our best ball. And things will go our way, hopefully.”

Helena head coach Jon Burnett said he's looking forward to the tournament's atmosphere as his team will get to play five home games in four days.

“Being able to host our own tournament, it’s pretty special," said Burnett. "We’ve just had great community support the last few years. Y’know, it’s pretty special we can get 500, 600 people in the stands — just cheering on the boys.”

But, Burnett said, more important than pleasing the home crowd or winning a fourth straight title is honoring the legacy of Sell.

“Keith Sell, he meant a lot to this program," said Burnett. "Coach, bus driver — basically anything. He wore many different hats when he was here in the program. So, being able to honor him [is meaningful].”