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Pitcher Will Lyng chases history with Helena Senators

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 26, 2024

HELENA — Every time Helena Senators pitcher Will Lyng gets a batter to chase one of his sliders, he gets one step closer to chasing down team history.

In Lyng's first season with Helena's Class AA American Legion baseball team, the right-handed pitcher posted the second-lowest ERA in team history at 1.36.

"I don't really want to think about my ERA," Lyng said. "I don't want to think about these records."

Lyng has dropped his ERA even lower this year entering Wednesday's game against Missoula. He's now on pace to surpass the team record for lowest single-season ERA of 1.15 set by Rande Muffick in 1976.

“When I’m pitching, I want to just be thinking about that game," Lyng said. "I try to go one pitch at a time, one game at a time. And I think if I get into that rut of thinking, it puts a lot of pressure on me as a player. And I don’t really want that for myself.”

Senators head coach Jon Burnett said Helena hasn't seen a pitcher like Lyng in over 50 years — if ever.

"Just the numbers he puts up. They're video game numbers," said Burnett. "You look at the numbers and you don’t think it’s something he can replicate. And, I mean, so far this year he’s just gone out and proved that wrong and gotten better and better."

But the question remains: How does Lyng do it?

“My signature pitch — that’s really tough for me because it really does change every game,” Lyng remarked.

But for starters, there's Lyng's slider.

It starts high and inside before breaking low and away, usually for a strike.

“Like, I think I do drop my arm a little bit," Lyng said while explaining how he throws his signature slider. "But I try to wrap these fingers around the back of the ball the most that I can. So then the ball, hopefully, is spinning like this.”

Burnett called Lyng's unpredictability on the mound his greatest asset.

“His ability to throw any pitch in any count is pretty special to watch,” Burnett said.

But what Burnett argues is even more special is Lyng's character.

"He’s the only Will Lyng I’ve ever met, and he does a really good job at that,” Burnett said. "He’s got his own style. He’s a care free-type guy. (I've) just grown to love the kid and love his attitude."