The 22nd annual Keith Sell Invitational Legion baseball tournament kicks off Thursday at Kindrick Legion Field. The eight-team tourney opens at 8 a.m., with the Butte Miners meeting the Calgary Redbirds.
This year's tourney is one of the biggest -- and most talented -- in the history of the Sell Invite, with clubs from three states and Canada taking part. The event is hosted by the two-time tournament champion Helena Senators, who play twice on Thurdsay: against Mount Vernon (Washington) at 4:15, and Eastside Baseball (Kennewick, Washington) at 7.
The four other teams competing in the tourney include State champion Clackamas (Oregon), Bozeman, Columbia Basin (Ephrata, Washington), and Bitterroot.
There will be six round-robin games played Thursday through Saturday, with the slate of games beginning at 8 a.m. The final contest each day is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. On Sunday, four seeded contests will take place at Kindrick Legion Field, with the chipper scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
"I'm excited about the caliber of teams in this tournament; it should make for some great games," said Helena Senators coach Dave Thennis, whose team owns a 19-17 record on the year. "We obviously take pride in playing well in this tournament. Our guys will play hard."
One of the more intriguing matchups of the week is slated for Saturday at 10:45 a.m., when the host Senators go up against Clackamas. The game pits a couple of Arntsons against each other, with Helena right fielder Ryan Arntson going up against his a Cavaliers team coached by his uncle, John Arntson.
John Arntson recently guided Clackamas to his third Oregon State championship in 10 years, and was named the 2017 OSAA Class 6A baseball Coach of the Year. And Ryan is a talented, multi-sport athlete, and a good all-around baseball player in his third season as a Senators' starter.