Helper Legion survives Marathon week of games
For the Helper American Legion Team last week was definitely a busy one. They had four league games and won them all. They now sit at 6-0 and are in first place. Starting off with a win against Granger they then headed to Tooele and beat them 6-3. Thursday they opened the tournament at home with a 17-2 win over Roosevelt.
Helper then played the late game on Friday against Hunter and this game counted as a league game as well as a tournament game. Hayden Basinger pitched another complete game and did a great job on the mound as they picked up a 13-0 win. But then the winning streak came to an end with an 18-6 loss to the powerful CNCC scout team. Desert Hills took a shot at Helper and beat them 11-6 to give Helper a fourth place tournament finish. Then a rematch, make-up game against Hunter put the Helper boys back on the winning track with a 10-0 win and moved their league record to 6-0.
Josh Denison picked up a complete game to start things off last Wednesday and did a great job keeping the Tooele hitters off balance. For Coach Jeff Cisneros it was a relief to get through the game. "We played a good game and beat a good Tooele team on their field. We were missing eight players due to a basketball camp and the guys really played well."
Against Roosevelt, the team was still short players so Daulton Nelson from the 14 year old team came up to pitch. He threw a complete game and did a nice job as they just over matched Roosevelt 17-2. Nelson threw strikes and Helper played good defense behind him the entire night.
"We really hit the ball well as we pounded out 14 hits. Roosevelt committed seven errors and the game was called after the fifth inning due to the nine-run rule. This was a good way to start our tournament and I was very pleased with the way we played," stated Cisneros about his tournament opener.
Hayden Basinger had three hits and Daulton Nelson and Nate Martinez had two hits apiece. It rained all night Thursday night but we were still able to get games started at 9 a.m. the next day.
Helper took on Hunter in a late game Friday and played great defense and offense in the game. They had 10 hits and only committed one error. Braden Bolotas had two singles and Nate Martinez had a pair of doubles.
All of the winning came to an end Saturday night when they took on the college bound team from Colorado Northwestern. The game started out good as Colter Moore kept the college team scoreless in the first inning. But in the second inning they gave up three runs and fell behind 3-0. In the third, Helper responded to score six runs to take a 6-3 lead. Daniel Peczuh hit the team's first home run of the season.
Then the wheels came off in the fourth and CNCC scored five and when the inning was over Helper trailed 8-6. Helper put up a goose egg in the fourth and then allowed CNCC to score 10 more runs in a very long fifth. Errors and five walks attributed to most of the 10 runs. Helper did not score in the fifth and the game was called on the nine-run rule.
"This game was very disappointing. We had been playing so well all week long and our inability to throw strikes and make plays cost us a game that I really thought we should have won. CNCC is a good team and went on to beat a college team from CEU for the championship of our tournament, but I really felt like we were just not mentally prepared to play Saturday night. When your pitchers do throw strikes it really puts your defense on their heels and it showed as we had nine errors and only five hits on the night," remarked Cisneros.
The lost sent them to play Desert Hills Sunday morning for the third place game. Knowing they had a make-up league game with Hunter to play after the game Cisneros took the chance to get some younger guys some experience in the Desert Hills game. Nick Stoddard started the game on the mound and struggled to throw strikes. It had been almost two weeks since Stoddard pitched and the rust showed. Desert Hills took a 6-0 lead early. Helper answered with three runs in the third inning on a home run by Kenny Seals and hits by Peczuh and Chris Coleman. Tyler Bean came in and pitched the remainder of the game did a nice job for being a position player asked to do some pitching. The final ended up 11-6 and Helper finished as the fourth place team.
Cisneros added "I was disappointed in the loss but I knew we had to bounce back and play a league game in a matter of minutes."
Clint Finkbiner took the mound in the league game against Hunter and again pitched a complete five inning game. Finkbiner threw strikes and Helper's defense made plays. The offense for Helper started off slow but picked up by the third. They scored in each inning after ending with 10 hits. Finkbiner only allowed Hunter three hits.
Cisneros summed up the busy week, "I could not be happier with the way our guys played, especially earlier in the week with all the guys gone to basketball camp. I tell the guys every year, most all games come down to pitching. It seems if your pitching is going good, then your defense plays well and your offense seems to click. I'm really starting to see our guys gaining confidence and if some of our younger guys continue to get better I really think we are going to finish out the year OK. It's obvious that when we get good pitching our team plays really well and when we don't we struggle. We play at East Monday and then we are at home with Kearns Wednesday night. I would really like to thank the community for their support over the weekend during our tournament."