American Legion team ready to hit the field in 2009
As high school baseball play starts its second half of region play, Jeff Cisneros begins working on the Helper Legion field in preparation for another season of play. This year the field sports a new scoreboard as a result of countless hours of beating the bushes for donations and funding from the restaurant tax board and the Kiwanis. The old scoreboard broke two seasons ago and it cost over $13,000 to replace it.
Bill Barrett, Bodec, Bill Campbell, Circle H LLC.,Codale Electric, Consol Energy, Geneva Rock, Helper City, Linn McCourt, MJ Trucking, Kevin Mortensen, Pacific Central Steel, Brent Passarella, Tom Paluso, Southwest Paint, Southwest Plumbing , Sutherlands, Tram Electric, Gabe Vlamakis and Dave Zaccaria were some of those that Cisneros enlisted to help with the scoreboard replacement.
The Helper American Legion team is a showcase for the local baseball talent in our area to get noticed by scouts and college teams. The Helper team is really a team that has players from Carbon, Emery, Grand and even San Juan counties as part of its make up. Price is also fielding a team again this season.
First year Emery High baseball coach Steven Gordon said he supports the American Legion program and will encourage his baseball players to participate.
"What I enjoy the most is seeing the youth from both our counties getting a chance to showcase their talents on a higher level than just high school. I enjoy the new challenges that each year brings. Some teams are full of older kids and some have a lot of younger kids on them. Some are very talented and others are not, but it's a fun challenge every year to see where they start and where they end. The opportunity for kids from Emery and Carbon to get together and play together is great. They become best friends and that is what it is going to take for our area to survive. It's great to be rivals, but the friendships they develop will last their entire lives. I know first hand," said Cisneros.
Cisneros has been leading the way for the Helper squad for 15 seasons now. He knows what it takes to put a successful team on the field so the players can have a chance to be seen. Coaching itself is just a small part of his duties. Fund raising and field maintenance take up many hours of his time.
Each player who makes the team is expected to help find $300 dollars of sponsorship fees to help defray his portion of the expenses. Cisneros usually gives each player a name of a business or two to contact so they can purchase a sign that hangs out on the outfield fences. If they do that they have pretty much covered their obligation.
The expenses to play a 40 game schedule include fees to be part of the Salt Lake Valley League, $60 a game umpire fees for every game, uniform shirts for each player, chalk, balls, bats, insurance, hotel, gas and meals just to name a few.
The team also tries to have some money in reserve to pay for scholarships for some of its players when they want to attend showcase events to be seen by scouts and college coaches.
The team hosted a four person golf scramble to help raise funds for this season. In June they will invite eight teams in for a tournament for their second fund raising event of the season. This tournament will also benefit the entire community as the visiting teams will be staying for three days and filling motel rooms and buying food in the local restaurants.
Cisneros has much work to do to get the field ready for opening day. He is hoping to secure some grants to start the process of upgrading the field since it has been eight years since many of the fences and structures have had any real attention given to them.
Try outs this year will be May 18, 19 and 20 in Helper at 6 p.m. "They do not need to contact me, just show up for tryouts. If players need more info they can contact me though at 820-8379," said Cisneros. Players born in the year 1990 and later are eligible to play.