Was it because of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves stirrup socks that every Helena Senators player wore with their pants hiked up to just below the knee?
Or was it the return of former Senators player Dan Hansen — along with his new, thick beard — to the dugout as an assistant coach?
Whatever the reason — although coach Dave Thennis believes it had more to do with his starting pitcher and contagious, opportunistic hitting — the Senators pounded out more hits on Wednesday (16) than their two previous games combined (14) in a 17-4 win over Great Falls, which was halted after seven innings.
After the Chargers took a 2-0, first-inning lead against Helena starter Payton Pappas at Kindrick Legion Field, Pappas shut out the visitors over the next three innings. During this time, the offense scored five runs in the second inning and one in the third, before erupting for nine in the fourth for a commanding 15-2 advantage. Both teams tallied two more runs apiece before action was halted after 6 1/2 stanzas because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Helena was led at the plate by Koby Griffin, who went 2 for 5 with four RBIs; Ryan Arntson was 3 for 5 with three RBIs, while Kienan Stief was a perfect 3 for 3. Colin Sassano (double) and Ray Moore (2-3) chipped in with two RBIs apiece.
Pappas went four innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. He was relieved by Henry Bowers, who went two frames for the win, and then Tristan Siegers closed out the seventh with hitless ball, whiffing one.
Tyler Strickland was hung with the loss. Great Falls’ offense was led by Dawson Reiman, who was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI.
“I don’t know if it was the high socks — we have so many combinations of uniforms — although there was a short lesson on how to wear them before the game, because these guys aren’t used to stirrups,” said a grinning Thennis, whose Senators improve to 8-6. “Payton set the tone after a rough start and settled in to pitch a fine game. Offense is contagious. Once somebody hits, it seems like everybody hits. And our defense made the plays.
“But I have to add, Great Falls is a good team. We just took advantage of some of their miscues.”
Great Falls 200 020 0 – 4 7 4
Helena 051 920 x – 17 16 1
Tyler Strickland, Daniel Bonilla (3), Chase Linn (5); Payton Pappas, Henry Bowers (5), Tristan Siegers (6). W – Bowers, L – Strickland.
GREAT FALLS – AJ Folds 0-2, Keelan Hyaworth 1-4, Wyatt Bleskin 1-4, Dawson Reiman 2-2, Cade Stuff 1-3, Jake Lowery 1-4, Tim Hanning 1-3, Matt Houlihan 0-2, Bryce Krattiger 0-3, Justyn Martinko 0-1, Isaiah Roberts 0-1.
HELENA (8-6) – Koby Griffin 2-5, Ryan Arntson 3-5, Colin Sassano 1-3, Kienan Stief 3-3, Ray Moore 2-3, Jackson Maynard 0-5, Jackson Thennis 1-3, Ryan Dorvall 1-2, Eamonn Byrne 2-3, Payton Pappas 0-1, Danny Burton 1-2, Talon Burchard 0-1, Henry Bowers 0-1.
2B – Sassano, Byrne, Bleskin, Reiman; RBIs – Griffin 4, Arntson 3, Sassano 2, Moore 2, Thennis, Byrne, Burton, Bleskin, Reiman, Lowery, Hanning.