Seniors 2016
The Helena Senators' seniors will lead the team into the State AA Legion Tournament. From left are Tristan Siegers, Danny Burton, Koby Griffin, Kienan Stief, Ryan Dorvall, Jackson Maynard, Jackson Thennis and Harry Bowers. Gary Marshall, BMGphotos.com

Sens enter State Legion as No. 4 seed

By Curt Synness, Helena IR

Five weeks ago, after a loss to the Rapid City Hardhats in at the South Dakota Tournament, the Helena Senators AA Legion baseball team slipped to two games under .500, at 12-14.

Then the Senators went on a tear, ripping off a nine-game win streak and winning 14 of their next 16, climbing to 26-16.

After losing the next four, Helena won five in a row — including three straight against the Billings Royals — and finished the regular season 12 games over .500 at 35-23, for their best record in several years.

The Senators enter the American Legion Class AA Montana/Alberta State Tournament on as the No. 4 seed, with a 12-10 mark in league play.

“We have played well down the stretch, and we hope to continue that,” Senators coach Dave Thennis said.

The tourney’s top three seeds are Missoula (20-2), the Billings Scarlets (16-6) and the Lethbridge Elks (15-7).

Helena is batting a healthy .320 as a team, with seven .300 hitters who have accumulated at least 100 official at-bats.

Second baseman Colin Sassano is the team batting champ with a fine .386 average, and also paces the club with 76 hits (197 at bats), 55 runs and a .513 slugging percentage. Sassano ranks No. 2 with 15 doubles, two triples (tie) and 43 RBIs; and is third with a .446 on base percentage.

Outfielder Ryan Arntson is runner-up at .356, and is high with 20 stolen bases. He is second with 60 hits, and No. 4 with 37 runs. Shortstop Kienan Stief is No. 3 with a .342 mark, while leading the Senators with 54 RBIs and 16 doubles. Stief is also No. 2 with a .448 OBP, .460 slugging and 38 runs (tied).

Rounding out the .300 hitters, are Danny Burton at .336, Payton Pappas at .328, Koby Griffin with a .314 mark, and Ray Moore at .303. Burton leads the club with a .476 OBP, while Griffin is second with 38 runs (tie). Payton is No. 3 with 34 RBIs, 11 doubles and two triples (tie).

Four other Senators with fewer than 100 at-bats are also hitting .300, including Ryan Dorvall (.347), Jackson Maynard (.337), Eamonn Byrne (.333) and Henry Bowers (.304). Dorvall paces the squad with three triples, and is No. 2 with 12 steals.

Dorvall leads the pitching staff with an 8-1 record, followed by Henry Bowers at 5-1 (two saves) and Tanner McMahon at 5-3 (two saves).

Carter Pappas (3-3, two saves) owns the lowest ERA, at 1.61, and Dorvall is next with a 2.62 ERA. Koby Griffin (2-6, 4.69 ERA) is the strikeout leader, with 45 whiffs in 60 innings. Payton Pappas possesses a 2.90 ERA.

Newcomers up from the Reps, Tayler Carlson is 3-0, and Andrew Rosston has a 2.12 ERA.

“I think we bring a good combination of confidence and respect for our opponent,” Thennis said. “All of the teams here are sound baseball teams.”