Category: Independents

Coach Jon Burnett

Senators name Burnett head coach

Helena American Legion Baseball is proud to announce the hiring of Jon Burnett as the head coach of the Helena Senators.

The former Senator player’s Reps teams have accumulated a 216-86-1 record over the last five years (a .715 winning percentage), and his ability to coach and train players is highly valued in the Helena program.

We are excited to see “Coach B” lead Helena into a new era and to carry on the legacy of sportsmanship and winning baseball passed down through Coach Thennis.

By Richie Melby, Sports director for KTVH in Helena

Helena Senators announce Jon Burnett as new manager

HELENA – The Helena American Legion Baseball program didn’t have to look far for its new manager.

General manager Greg Thornquist told MTN Sports Sunday evening that Jon Burnett has been hired to replace the retired Dave Thennis as head coach of the American Legion Class AA club. Thennis announced his retirement last week.

“The baseball board met on Saturday and unanimously agreed that Jon be the head coach,” said Thornquist. “Jon has been involved with the program for maybe 14 years, he is a wonderful coach, which is apparent by his record coupled with his baseball knowledge, love of the game and ability to work with the kids and fellow coaches.”

“I’m very excited to continue the tradition coach Thennis has established,” said Burnett. I’ve coached with him and been a player for him in the last 17 years. There will be a lot of similarities in the way we run the program, I’ll have my own twist but it will be a very similar style in the program.”

Burnett, a former Senator player, has guided the Class A Helena Reps and compiled a 216-86-1 record in the past seven seasons, good for a .715 winning percentage. The Reps posted a 43-14 record this past season, including a 21-7 mark in conference play. Helena went 1-2 at the district tournament, ending its season in a loss against Bozeman.

“I’ve been head coach of the Reps for seven years and assistant for seven years so I’m not new to the scene but pretty excited to get to coach against and be colleagues with some of those guys that are established at the AA level,” said Burnett.

Burnett takes over for Thennis, who led the Senators to three consecutive state titles beginning in 2001. Thennis amassed more than 650 wins during his 20-year run with the program.

“We have a pretty strong core of kids that will be moving up but we lose quite a few seniors this year so it will be interesting to see how younger kids work into the AA side,” Burnett said. “I’m excited to see them continually grow and we have some pretty solid kids coming back, especially our pitching staff. I’m excited for next year, see how kids grow and step into the role of AA players.”

Ethan Keintz and Chase Nielson

Independents finish 4-1 in Missoula

The Helena Independents went 4-1 during the Missoula Mavericks Class B tournament from June 29 to July 2, raising their record to 24-8.

In game one against the Missoula Mavs, Ethan Keintz and Chase Nielsen each had a pair of hits and both Keintz and Justice Wrzesinski drove in 2 RBI as the Independents won 7-4. Cy Miller and Peyton Witham shared the mound work, with Witham picking up the win.

In game two, Helena fell in a tight game to the Kalispell Lakers, 4-3. Keintz and Nielsen again led the team with a pair of base knocks, and Rudy Barkley went the distance on the mound, but it wasn’t enough as Barkley was saddled with the loss.

In game three, the Independents won in a low scoring affair, 3-2. Helena only managed three hits, a triple and single by Miller and a base hit from Caden Sell, but Sam Shepherd drove in two runs as the Independents squeaked out a victory. Campbell Turner went 6.1 innings, allowing no earned runs on three hits, striking out three. Hunter Lindgren earned the save by recording the final two outs on only two pitches.

Helena earned it’s third win of the tournament in game four, with Barkley sparking the offense with a three-hit performance. Will Butler hit a bases-clearing, three-run triple and Nielsen drove in two more as the offense backed the quality showing from Keintz on the mound, who gave up two earned runs on six hits over 5.0 innings for the win.

In Sunday’s exciting finale, Helena pulled off an extra-inning comeback win in the 9th inning, thanks to a walk-off double from Keintz, scoring Barkley. The Independents trailed 7-4 going into the final frame, but Keintz tripled to drive in Wrzesinski and Barkley to close the gap to one, and then Nielsen hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Keintz gave Helena a three-hit day with two doubles and a triple, and Nielsen drove in four to lead the offense. Nielsen and Lindgren shared the work on the mound, with Lindgren picking up the win.

Coach Dane Broadhead’s club next heads to Belgrade on July 3 to take on the Bandits in a doubleheader.

Ethan Keintz

Independents sweep Gallatin Valley

By Curt Synness, Helena Independent Record

The Helena Independents captured both ends of a Class B legion baseball twinbill with the Gallatin Valley Posse 18-10, 16-0 in Three Forks recently.

In the curtain-raiser, Ethan Keintz led Helena’s offensive attack with a 5 for 6 effort at the plate, while posting three RBIs. Also with multi-hit games were Chase Nielsen, Peyton Witham and Colby Howell. Starting pitcher Cy Miller registered the win, after getting relief help from Campbell Turner and Witham.

In the nightcap, Witham and Nielsen sparked the offense with three hits apiece, both stroking doubles and driving in two runs each. Caden Sell and Howell both collected a pair of base knocks. Helena pitchers Nielsen, Rudy Barkley, Sam Shepherd and Keintz shared the mound work, with Nielsen getting the win.

Independents’ skipper Dane Broadhead’s club moves to 20-7 on the year.

Cy Miller

Independents sweep Bitterroot and Butte

By Curt Synness, Helena IR

The Helena Independents went 4-0 last weekend, brooming the Bitterroot Bucs B 13-0, 13-3 in Florence, and the Butte Muckers B 13-1, 17-7 in the Mining City.

In the opener against Bitterroot, Cy Miller pitched a five-inning shutout. Miller stroked a double and single, and led the club with four RBIs as well. Rudy Barkley and Chase Nielsen posted three hits apiece. 

Nielsen started on the bump in game 2 and went five innings for the win. Caden Sell led the offense with a 3 for 4 effort at the plate (two RBIs).

Miller drove in three runs, while Ethan Keintz and Nielsen chipped in with a pair of RBIs each.

In the curtain raiser against Butte, Keintz started on the rubber, working four innings, with Hunter Lindgren relieving. Neither hurler allowed an earned run. Sparking the offensive attack were Peyton Witham (double, single) and Nielsen, at four and three RBIs, respectively. Also with two hits were Barkley and Justice Wrzesinski.

In the nightcap, Helena pitchers Sell, Campbell Turner, and Witham collaborated on the mound work. Keintz led the offense with four hits and two RBIs, while Barkley, Wrzesinski, Will Butler and Colby Howell also had multi-hit games.

Conor McCarvel and Seth Barrett

McCarvel, Barrett promoted

Conor McCarvel has been promoted to the Helena Senators and Seth Barrett to the Helena Reps. Both promotions are permanent.

McCarvel, a junior from Capital High School, played with the Senators over the Memorial Day weekend and hit a scorching .533 (8-15) from the two-hole during the Mavs tournament. He is hitting .370 in eight games for the Senators after hitting .364 in 13 games for the Reps.

The versatile right-handed utility player was also 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in three games pitched for the Reps.

McCarvel is the second in his family to play for the Senators, joining his older brother Rob McCarvel, who played for the team in 2016. Rob is now cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

Seth Barrett is reunited with his twin brother Ryan on the Reps. The sophomore hit .409 for the Independents and was 1-1 with a 2.47 ERA over three games on the mound.

Helena American Legion Baseball would like to congratulate McCarvel and Barrett on their well-deserved promotions.

Memorial Day Tourney

Helena Memorial Day Tournament

The Class B Helena Memorial Day Tournament kicks off Memorial Day Weekend at Kindrick Legion Field. The tournament opens on Friday at 7:30pm as the Independents host the Mavs.

American National
Helena Billings
Belgrade Bozeman
Missoula Gallatin Valley


Time First Base Dugout Third Base Dugout
Friday, May 26
7:30PM  Helena – 0  Missoula – 10
Saturday, May 27
 11AM  Bozeman  Gallatin Valley
 2PM  Billings   Gallatin Valley
 5PM  Missoula  Belgrade
 8PM  Helena  Belgrade
Sunday, May 28
 10AM  Billings  Bozeman
 1PM  Helena  Billings
 4PM  Missoula  Bozeman
 8PM   Gallatin Valley  Belgrade
Monday, May 29
 9AM (Game 1)  American 3 Seed  National 3 Seed
 11:45AM (Game 2)  American 1 Seed  National 2 Seed
 2:30PM (Game 3)  National 1 Seed  American 2 Seed
 5PM (Game 4)  Winner Game 2  Winner Game 3


Ryan Barrett

Independents go 2-2 at tourney

The Class B Legion Helena Independents posted a 2-2 record at the six-team Missoula Mavericks Firecracker Tournament recently.

After dropping games to Missoula 5-4 and Bitterroot 10-9, the Independents defeated the Gallatin Valley Posse 14-6 and the Bozeman Spikes 7-3. Peyton Witham pitched the win against the Posse, while Hunter Sickerson hurled the complete-game victory over Bozeman.

Offensively, Helena was led by Walter Evans, Seth Barrett, Brady Grigsby, Evan Rankin and Rudy Barkley.


Reps/Independents Scrimmage

Wednesday, June 22 at 6:00 PM – the Reps conference game vs. Livingston is cancelled due to a Braves forfeit – the Reps will pick up a conference win.

In its place, the Reps and Independents will split up their teams and scrimmage – a live game with concessions, press box coverage, umpires, etc. So come on out for a fun, relaxing time with our Helena boys playing with and against teammates, enjoy a cold beverage or two, and cheer on Helena Legion baseball!

Andrew Rosston

Reps fall to Dodgers, but get rematch

By Curt Synness, Helena IR | Photos and story

The Helena Reps were shaded by the Laurel Dodgers 3-1 on Saturday during Day 3 of the Cloninger Classic, but the Reps will get another crack at the Dodgers in Sunday’s tourney championship game.

The first pitch of the finals at Kindrick Legion Field between No. 1 and unbeaten Laurel (5-0), and No. 2 Helena (4-1), is slated for 2 p.m.

Laurel, last year’s Class A State runner-up, sped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Saturday’s contest, and tacked on an insurance run in the sixth.

Helena ruined Dodger starter Carson West’s shutout in the fourth frame, when Andrew Rosston was plunked to lead off the inning, stole second base and raced home on Conor McCarvel’s two-out, RBI single to right field.

West twirled a five-hitter, striking out nine Reps and walking two. Helena’s Tayler Carson started and went six innings for the loss, allowing seven hits and giving up just one earned run. Rosston relieved the scoreless seventh, permitting two hits.

Laurel’s offense was led by Carson Hoke (double), Dawson Cortese and Kanyin Moran (double), with two hits apiece.

Carter Wald, Kellan Elder, Rosston and Talon Burchard chipped in with singles for the hosts.

“Both teams played well,” said coach Jon Burnett, whose Reps stand at 24-6 on the year. “It was a well-played game against good competition. And although we didn’t come on top, games like today’s will make us a better team come district tournament time.”

In other tourney action, Bozeman beat Lethbridge 6-5, and Lethbridge beat the Class B Helena Independents 14-3. The Reps and Dodgers both posted forfeit wins over Livingston, which left the tournament on Saturday before play began for what was called a “coach’s disciplinary” decision.

Prior to Sunday’s title game, No. 4 Lethbridge will play a pair of contests, against the Independents at 9 a.m., followed by a tilt versus No. 3 Bozeman at 11:30.

Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynnes_IR and can be reached at


Laurel 3, Helena Reps 1

Laurel – 3 9 1
Helena – 1 5 2

WP – Carson West, LP – Tayler Carlson

Laurel hitting – Carson Hoke 2-4, Mason O’Donnell 1-4, Dawson Cortese 2-4, Chase Feller 1-4, Kanyin Moran 2-4, Deklan Harper 1-3.

Helena hitting – Carter Wald 1-3, Kellan Elder 1-3, Andrew Rosston 1-2, Talon Burchard 1-3, Conor McCarvel 1-2.

2B – Hoke, Moran; RBIs – McCarvel.

Laurel 8, Livingston 0


Bozeman 6, Lethbridge 5

Lethbridge – 5 6 6
Bozeman – 6 8 6

WP – Garrett Nash, LP – Brendan Nikles

Lethbridge hitting – Lukas Ankermann 1-3, Jack Jensen 1-4, Kale Moser 1-4, Josh Oster 1-4, Nathan Reiter 1-1, Skyler Vasalenek 1-2.

Bozeman hitting – Hunter Fliehman 3-4, Koby Scala 1-3, Michael Freund 1-4, Aiden Jarrett 2-4, Jackson Wafe 1-2.

2B – Freund; RBIs – Scala 2, Freund 2, Moser 2, Hodges, Ankermann, Blake Braun, Demers.

Lethbridge 14, Helena Independents 3

Lethbridge – 14 12 1
Independents – 3 9 3

WP – Moser, LP – Evan Rankin.

Lethbridge hitting – Demers 1-3, Nikles 1-4, Ty Penner 1-3, Zachary Trempner 2-3, Moser 2-4, Jeremiah Bohnert 1-4, Oster 3-3, Vaselenak 1-4.

Independents hitting – Matt Krieger 1-3, Nik Jemmings 2-3, Hunter Sickerson 2-2, Zach Spiroff 2-3, Peyton Witham 1-2, Sam Shepherd 1-3.

2B – Moser, Demers, Krieger, Shepherd; RBIs – Nikles 3, Moser 3, Penner 2, Bohnert 2, Demers, Trempner, Oster, Krieger, Jemmings, Shepherd.

Helena Reps 8, Livingston Braves 0


Carter Wald

Reps edge out Lethbridge with last at-bat runs

By Curt Synness, Helena IR | See article and more photos

After blowing a three-run lead and trailing Lethbridge by a run during the last game of Day 2 at the Cloninger Classic, the Helena Reps pushed across two runs in their final at-bat to edge the Miners 10-9 on Friday night.

Helena’s Conor McCarvel led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double to the left-center gap at Kindrick Legion Field. McCarvel advanced to third base on a wild pitch, and then raced home on Carter Wald’s suicide squeeze bunt single.

Next, Wald stole second, advanced to third on Kellan Elder’s ground-out, and then sped plate-ward with the winning run when Andrew Rosston’s grounder to third was mishandled by Lethbridge.

The Reps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, only to see the Miners score five in the second to go up 5-3. The hosts tallied two in the fourth frame and three more in the sixth — provided by Ty McGurran, Wald, Elder, Rosston, Tayler Carlson, Caeden Suero and Grady Koenig — to pull ahead 8-5 after six stanzas.

But then the Canadians scored four in the top of the seventh to force Helena’s late rally.

McGurran, Wald and Rosston finished with two hits apiece, while Rosston posted three RBIs.

Brett Jacobs started on the bump for Helena and went 6 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits, while striking out six. He shut out the Miners in five of his innings pitched.

Blake Braun paced Lethbridge with three hits (two doubles) and five RBIs.

Talon Burchard and Tayler Carlson relieved in the seventh, with Carlson getting the last three outs and picking up the win. Josh Oster took the loss.

“Brett struggled early to locate his off-speed pitches, but he made an adjustment and was very sharp after the second inning,” Helena coach Jon Burnett said, “and did a great job keeping the score close so we could get back in the game.”

Helena starts off Day 3 on Saturday with a 9 a.m. contest versus Laurel, and then will play Livingston in the last game of the day at 8 p.m.

Other winners on Friday were Livingston, over the Helena Independents 12-3 and the Bozeman Spikes 5-4; Bozeman over the Independents 14-2; and Laurel over Lethbridge 5-0.

Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynnes_IR and can be reached

Reps 10, Lethbridge 9

Lethbridge – 9 8 6
Reps – 10 9 3

WP- Tayler Carlson, LP – Josh Oster

Helena hitting – Ty McGurran 2-5, Carter Wald 2-3, Kellan Elder 1-5, Andrew Rosston 2-5, Tayler Carlson 1-4, Keanan Horne 0-2, Grady Koening 0-1, Jacob Howell 0-4, Conor McCarvel 1-3, Caeden Suero 0-0.

Lethbridge hitting – Blake Braun 3, Nathan Reiter 2, Brendan Nikles, Jeremiah Bohnert, Kale Moser.

2B – Wald, McCarvel, Carlson, Braun 2, Moser, Nikles. RBIs – Braun 5, Rosston 3, Wald, Elder, Carlson, Caeden Suero, Grady Koening, Jensen, Ankermann, Nikles, Reiter. Sac Bunt – Wald 2, Ankermann. Sac Fly – Koenig. SB – Elder 2, Wald, Carlson, McGurran.

Livingston 12, Independents 3

Livingston – 12 12 4
Independents – 3 2 3

WP – Z. Petrich, LP – Hunter Sickerson
Top hitters – (Liv) Petrich 3, J. Becker 3, B. Spallone 2
Top RBIs – (Liv) Becker 3, C. Busby 2, Spallone 2

Livingston 5, Bozeman 4

Livingston – 5 6 2
Bozeman – 4 4 4

WP – J. Becker, LP – M. Freund
Top hitters – (Liv) Becker 2
Top RBIs – (Liv) Spallone 2, Becker 2

Bozeman 14, Independents 2

Independents – 2 5 3
Bozeman – 14 10 1

WP – K. Scala, LP – P. Witham
Top hitters – (Boz) Scala 3, Freund 2, A. Jarrett 2
Top RBIs – (Boz) Scala 6, (Hel) Sickerson, Witham

Laurel 5, Lethbridge 0

Lethbridge – 0 7 1
Laurel – 5 8 0

WP – M. O’Donnell, LP – J. Jensen
Top hitters – (Lau) C. Hoke 2, C. West 2; (Leth) K. Moser 2
Top RBIs – (Lau) D. Harper, T. Meier