Kash Jewkes at bat for Helper comes up with a crucial hit.
Helper turns a double play starting with the runner heading for second base.
Chris Coleman plays first for Helper.
Monday Helper American Legion opened up their league season with Taylorsville U17. A 3-1 win was was a good way to start. The trip north to Burley, Idaho for a tournament didn't produce a lot of wins, but the team was tested in a tough bracket, gaining valuable experience.
On Thursday they beat Caldwell 9-6 in a rain shortened game. After Thursday's games were rained out they resumed on Friday with a 15-0 loss to Northern Utah and an 8-3 loss to Minico. On Saturday they finished up with a 6-5 loss to Burley.
Derick Anderson pitched six solid innings in the opening game against T-Ville U17. T-ville scored a run in the top of the fourth inning but Helper responded in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs to the lead. Helper added another run in the bottom of the fifth for the win.
Hayden Basinger and Kash Jewkes had two hits and a run in the game. Kenny Seals had a hit and scored another run. Helper out hit T-Ville 8 to 6 with only one error. Colter Moore came on in the sixth inning and the seventh inning and also did a great job in closing out the game.
"This was great way to start our league season and I was very pleased with our effort and the outcome. On Wednesday we were to travel to Cyprus and play but rain canceled this game. We will make up this game when Cyprus comes to Helper on July 10. We will play a double header that day starting at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m." commented Coach Jeff Cisneros about his opening week.
Thursday, In Burley, Helper opened the tournament against Caldwel,l Idaho.
"This was the same team we played and beat for the championship in the tourney last year. I told the guys that they would be out for a little revenge and we needed to be ready play." remarked Cisneros.
Braden Bolotas started on the mound. He gave up a run in the top of the first, but then really settled down and pitched well. Helper answered with a run in the bottom of the first when Danny Flahie reached on an error, stole second and then went to third on a past ball. Hayden Basinger brought him home on a fielders choice and the game was tied.
That is how the game stayed until the top of the fifth. Caldwell picked up five runs on three hits and Helper committed three errors. With the skies getting darker the team knew that the game could end at a moment's notice. Helper came in and answered with eight runs of their own. The big hit came off the bat of Gage Bell.With two outs and runners on second and third, Bell hit a two strike pitch into right field bringing home the tying and go ahead run. The game was called in the sixth due to rain and Helper took the win.
Helper had three hits and made a handful of errors, but managed to find a way to win.
Helper played the all-star team from Northern Utah Sandlot team on Friday. According to Cisneros they did not play well at all and struggled with both pitching and hitting. It was an ugly 15-0 loss. Basinger started on the mound and struggled to find the strike zone. Helper also only managed only one hit in the game. That hit came off the bat of Josh Denison in the fifth. Cisneros wasn't pleased with his team's performance,
"I was very disappointed with our lack of effort and execution in this game. Some younger guys got a chance to play and learned that you have to play hard and you have to be ready to play especially against teams of this caliber."
Helper had to play the host team Minico in a late game. Denison took the mound again and pitched very well for five innings. They had the lead going into the sixth inning, but again struggled to hit in this game. They only managed six hits on the night.
In the bottom of the sixth inning the Minico team scored seven runs on four hits and four walks. Colter Moore and Nick Stoddard came in to try and close the game but struggled to find the strike zone, too.
"Nerves and the fact that it was two in the morning, I think contributed to their lack of execution. We scored a run in the seventh but the final score was 8-3. The loss was a hard one to take as I thought we were the better team, especially through the first five innings, but our lack of hitting and ability to score runs bit us again and therefore we suffered the loss." commented Cisneros about the defeat.
In the final game, Helper played Burley Idaho on Saturday for fifth place. Stoddard started on he mound and had good control as he pitched five solid innings and gave up four runs. Helper had 10 hits on the day but left a lot of runners on base. They did not capitalize on some opportunities. Moore came in and pitched much better also but gave up the final two runs.
Cisneros summed up the weekend, "Although this was a better game for us as far as hitting the ball, we lacked the big hits when needed and we suffered a 6-5 loss. As the returning champs in the tournament we were placed in a very tough bracket and we struggled a bit. A lot of guys saw a lot of time and were introduced to some very good pitching from other teams. We faced three left handed pitchers and we struggled off every one of them. Not many of our guys get to see left handed pitching throughout the high school season and it showed as we were definitely off in our timing and execution. Our intensity needs to pick up and our effort, at times, was very frustrating. All things that we can improve on and I feel the weekend will prove to be a positive one as time goes on."
Helper plays at home Monday against Granger in a league game and then travels to Hunter Wednesday night for another important league game.