HELENA —The Billings Royals completed the season sweep of the Helena Senators with a 7-1 victory at Kindrick Legion Field on Tuesday afternoon.
The Royals (22-3, 9-2) won the first two games back on May 20 to begin the AA American Legion baseball conference season.
Helena, however, played a better game this time. The Senators (13-14, 1-4) were crisp in the field with two double plays and took better approaches at the plate.
"We just have to keep playing clean baseball," Helena coach Jon Burnett said. "We took good at-bats. If we play with that kind of effort and intensity against other teams in the league, we'll do pretty well."
Billings took control of the game in the second inning with four runs. The score was tied at 1-1 at the time.
Helena pitcher Ryan Barrett gave up a leadoff double to Brooks Zimmer, followed by a single by Cole Miller. A walk and a hit batter to the bottom of the lineup led to the big inning.
"The top half of their lineup is tough, and he concentrated on getting through them," Burnett said. "He just lost some focus at the bottom. But he battled back and gave us a good start."
Barrett gave up five runs in five innings, but held the Royals scoreless for his last three innings.
Jayden Kay, Jarrett Leinwand and Miller were the big run producers with two RBIs each. Cade Torgerson scored twice.
"We put the ball in play," Billings coach Bryan Benjamin said. "We wanted our pitcher, Tyler (Frieders), to extend his innings a bit, and he did. And we played good defense. We haven't been doing that for the last three or four games."
Frieders threw a complete game as he struck out five and walked one. He did hit two batters.
Helena scattered six hits by Zach Spiroff, Colin Sassano, Ty McGurran, Hunter Kirkpatrick, Connor McCarvel and Kaydn Craigle. Sassano drove in Spiroff in the first inning.
"(Frieders) had a little more pop on the fastball than last couple games and his curveball had some bite," Benjamin said. "And he just got ahead in the count."
The Senators threatened to turn the game in their favor in the fifth inning. They loaded the bases, but couldn't get the clutch hit. They left six runners on base in the game.
"When we had the bases loaded with two outs, if we could have gotten a hit there it could have been a different outcome," Burnett said.
Helena continues to play .500 baseball. The next opportunity to get back on the winning track is Friday at home with a doubleheader against Bozeman.
However, the Senators play an exhibition contest against the Helena Brewers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Brewers use the game as a warmup for their season, which begins Friday at Great Falls.
Billings, however, is trying to maintain its pace to finish the season strong. The Royals are rebounding from recently having their 17-game winning streak snapped.
"Things are going well right, but we want to be playing our best at the end," Benjamin said. "We just have to keep hitting consistently."