A Hidden Diamond

Livingston Braves all-around player Bryce Dorvall dons his baseball uniform one last time for the camera on Thursday morning near Fleshman Creek in Livingston. Enterprise photo by Hunter D’Antuono.
Jordan P. Ingram
Enterprise Staff Writer

Beyond the white sands of Kailua Kona and in-between woven purple and green thatches of coral reef in the Pacific Ocean, an 18-year-old Montana native spent his spare time beneath the calm, cerulean-blue waves, spearfishing off the Hawaiian coast.

And for Bryce Dorvall, it was good fishing, too. Loads of smaller species kumu (goatfish), yellow-eyed kole and tiger-striped manini (surgeonfish) were easy targets for the nimble amphibious hunter. 

But upon his 2017 graduation from Konawaena High School in Kealakekua, Hawaii, Dorvall really wanted to do one thing — play baseball for the Livingston Braves.  

An easy going young man, the Bozeman-born Dorvall knew he would fit naturally onto a roster of old friends from his sophomore and junior years at Park High School.

“I had a bad baseball season in Hawaii,” Dorvall said.  “I shattered my ankle running to first base on a bunt. I stepped on the second baseman’s foot and just rolled it. I was out most of the season there on the Big Island so I wanted to try and catch up, get my numbers back up and just have some fun.” 

So, his girlfriend’s parents bought him a plane ticket and he made his way back to Park County. 

However, there was one caveat for Dorvall’s impromptu trip to Livingston — he’d be a short timer, available to play for roughly a month before departing for U.S. Army basic training on Sunday, July 8 in Fort Benning, Georgia. Dorvall called up Livingston coaches Bruce Lay and Rich Spallone to inform them of his availability for the team.

“I got back here and called Bruce up,” Dorvall recalled. “He said, ‘Ya, just come out. We’ve already got a number for you.’”

Dorvall made the most of it, playing 17 games as a pitcher, second baseman and at center field for the Braves. The Bozeman-born ballplayer put up some significant numbers, holding a face-melting .450 batting average for nine league games.

In just 30 days, Dorvall recorded 13 hits, 2 doubles, a triple, 7 RBI and scored 10 runs for the Braves. 

Dorvall took the mound in his final appearance for the Braves on the Fourth of July at the Firecracker Classic tournament in Polson. It was a performance to remember. Dorvall got the win, finishing with four strikeouts and surrendering four hits and a single run in his five-inning complete game performance, helping Livingston rout the Dillon Cubs, 17-1. The Braves took third place at the annual tournament near Flathead Lake. 

For a kid familiar with operating on Hawaiian time, the coaching philosophy of Spallone and Lay seemed to jive with his newly discovered island style. 

“(Spallone and Lay) are a lot more laid back than my other coaches,” Dorvall said. “My coach in Hawaii was really strict, a lot of conditioning everyday. Rich and Bruce are more about the fun aspect of baseball.”

But what is even more exciting for the Big Island sports star is the idea of 14 weeks of basic training and eventually serving his country as an infantryman in the U.S. Armed Forces, something he has thought about since eighth grade.  

“I’m pretty pumped,” Dorvall said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to make a career in the military. It’s just infantry for the first four years — I’m okay with being a ground-pounder right now.”

After 14 weeks of basic training, Dorvall will become a serviceman, joining several family members, including his older brother who is currently a U.S. Marine.  

“My uncle Ron was always telling stories from when he was in the service. And then my brother joined the Marines. So, it kind of just went from there for me.”

When asked if he had any words of farewell to family, friends and fans of American Legion baseball, Dorvall didn’t hesitate.

“Go Braves.”