A baseball stadium’s voice is made up of many.
As you enter Kindrick Legion Field in Helena, the chatter begins. The dugouts holler encouragement. Fans heckle or bellow praise. Coaches offer instruction and hone in on the nuances of the game.
Above this symphony, at least in Helena, there’s one pitch that always hits home. And it belongs to Emily Bentley-Jones, a vendor working for the Helena Brewers.
Her piercing announcement as she patrols the stands catches everybody’s attention -- and can even be heard from time to time on the team's radio broadcast. It is a tone honed during her soccer playing days at Capital High School, where she knew if she wanted to receive the ball when she played as a freshman and sophomore, she first must be heard.
Attendees liven when they hear Bentley-Jones, remarking about the 19-year-old’s striking yell, some incredulous the young lady can produce such a roar; others happy they now know a cold beer is available for purchase.
Working her second summer with the Brewers, Bentley-Jones started in the concessions stands. She recalls her boss instructing her to “shout as loud as I could to get the orders,” placed she needed.
“You don’t want me to shout as loud as I can,” She remembers responding. “I just started shouting. Everybody jumped the first time.”
Her booming voice helps her peddle beer, licorice, and peanuts (her best seller). This season, Jones sold mostly beer during the opening games, which she enjoyed but could not help but feel like she was missing out on connecting with younger baseball fans. As a true baseball fan herself -- she and her family have been a part of the Brewers’ host family program since 2013 -- she appreciates connecting with fans of all ages.
“I like (selling all concessions) rather than just beer, because then you get to talk to everybody,” Jones said. “You get to notice the kids a little bit, too. Especially when you pass the kid zones and the kids are playing and hanging around. I remember one time, they were throwing a ball at a wall, and playing wall ball, and one of the kids almost ran into me and I was like, 'Watch out!' You get to start up those conversations.”
Bentley-Jones’ hollering is built from a lifetime of vocal training. The vendor, who also is interning with Big Brothers and Big Sisters this summer, did choir through her church for as long as she can remember. Projecting her voice is second nature at this point.
“My birth mother did choir through church and everything,” she said. “We’ve been doing choir since I was born -- probably before I was born. I would always sing with her and practice with her when she prepared.”
Bentley-Jones loves baseball, and loves being a part of the host program. Bentley-Jones and her step mother, Susan Bell, and cousin, Austin Bell, host five Brewers. She says her summer days away from work are spent doing chores and hanging out with the players until they go to practice.
And she sees the other sides of the Brewers. As most have become familiar with Antonio Pinero’s web gems at short stop this season, Bentley-Jones has candidly observed his humor.
“He’s the one that’s always laughing,” she said. “He makes everyone else laugh.”
While some baseball players have superstitions on game day, Bentley-Jones’ is a calming bike ride to work, and then a quick sign-in. Once she’s received cash to make change for purchases, she loads up on snacks and starts slinging.
“I like that it gets me out of my comfort zones and that’s to have a social life,” she said. “I like that I get to be loud and contribute and get to watch my boys play a bit.”
While she’s uncertain if she’ll keep working toward a future in baseball or if she’ll use her voice as her livelihood in the future, Bentley-Jones plans to attend Helena College and get her general education credits out of the way. After that, she’ll figure it out.
At the very least, she’ll have baseball in Helena, at least for another season.
“I love baseball -- especially if you have somebody you can cheer for,” she said. “It makes it a little more fun.”