Helper American Legion struggles at wood bat tourney
The Helper American Legion baseball team traveled to Hillcrest for their fourth league game on June 13 and won 14-1. Coach Jeff Cisneros said, "Jake Nichols pitched five solid innings and only gave up three hits and one run. Seth Tryon came in and pitched a scoreless inning. Hits were hard to come by as we only had five hits as a team. Brandon Oliver had two singles and was the only player with more than one hit. The Hillcrest pitching staff walked 23 batters. Their inability to throw strikes made it very difficult to get hits and the strikes to swing at were few and far in-between. With the win Helper's league record is 4-1.
The team traveled to Pocatello, Idaho for the remainder of the week and weekend. Cisneros shares his thoughts on the tournament: "We played OK, but not great."
"We went 0-5 at the tournament but our record is not a reflection of what we did while we were there. This tournament gave us a great chance to get everyone a lot of time and for us to really work on things and see where we need improvement. I think the biggest disappointment I had was our lack of communication on the field and our inability to get hits with people in scoring position. Our pitching and defense overall was very good and we lost some close games."
Derek Young pitched a good game against Kuna, Idaho but we just could not get hits with runners in scoring position. Seth Tryon two hits, a double and single and Jaren McCourt had a triple. We were not scheduled to play this game but did because one of the other teams did not show up to play.
"Against Pocatello, Dakota Cisneros pitched a great game and only allowed one run and three hits. Tyson Roper also pitched very well and gave up two runs. Pocatello is a very good team and won the tournament. I knew this would be the best team we would face and I thought we played very well but we just did not hit. We had two hits for the game and the two errors did allow Pocatello two runs. Overall we played very solid but just did not hit. McCourt had a single and Derek Young had a triple. This dropped us to 0-2 in the tournament.
"Against Jerome, Jared Lessar pitched five solid innings and our pitching staff did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. But some costly errors and a few too many walks allowed Jerome to score without hitting the ball. This was a frustrating game as we out hit and out played Jerome but still lost. Again not hitting with guys in scoring position cost us a lot of runs as we stranded 10 base runners.
"Against Minico, Hunter Huntington started on the mound and had a rough start and he was unable to throw strikes. This resulted in Minico scoring three runs on no hits and jumping out to an early lead. They added four more in the second on more walks and one hit. Ridge Nielson came in and pitched four solid innings and Brandon Oliver and Dakota Cisneros finished the pitching duties. This game started out rough and the strike zone by the home plate umpire was very inconsistent. Our coaching staff was ejected in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes and I thought our kids really stepped up and played well after the ejections. They were behind 7-1 at the time and battled back to take a 9-8 lead in the sixth inning. But Minico scored two runs on Brandon Oliver and we were unable to score in the seventh and lost 10-9. Tyson Roper had a single and a triple and Jaren McCourt had two singles. This was the first time in 18 seasons that I have ever been ejected from a game but the frustration of getting down early and the umpires strike zone brought me to a point that I needed a way to fire our guys up. I think the boys really responded well and they played a very good rest of the game. But with the loss we ran our record to 0-4.
"We played Minico a second time to again fill a spot for a team that did not show up to play in the tournament. Again a slow start and too many walks allowed Minico to score three runs in the first inning on four walks and no hits. Wyatt Hansen came in and pitched six great innings and held Minico to no runs and two hits. We were unable once again to get a lot going with our offense as we recorded one run on four hits. Tyler Procarione had a triple and that was the only extra base hit for either team. We played well after the first inning but the slow start was to much to overcome. With the loss we finished 0-5 in the tournament," said coach. Overall Coach Cisneros really thought the team did some good things. He commented "The younger players got a great chance to get some time and valuable experience. Not often do you lose five games and come away with a positive attitude but I really think this past weekend will do us a lot of good. Hopefully we will respond well and take what we learned and put it to good use.