Helper American Legion season winds toward state championship
The American Legion All-Star game was played July 12 in Salt Lake City.
Helper had four players who participated in the game. Brandon Branch, Matt Salas, Kyle Esquibel and Derick Anderson all represented the Helper squad.
Anderson was named the player of the game from his team.
"Every year, we are well represented and this year was no different," commented Coach Jeff Cisneros.
Back to the grind on Monday, the team traveled to Murray and lost 4-2.
Tuesday Helper took on Price and won 15-12.
Wednesday, the players faced Taylorsville at home and lost 8-1. They ended league play with a 11-5 win on Friday against Kearns.
Helper only had five hits as a team and left seven stranded in the Murray game on Monday.
Ron Herrera pitched six innings and really did a nice job on the mound.
"Herrera has struggled his last few starts, but really did a nice job Monday and I was hoping we could get him the win. The loss dropped us 8-7 in league play," stated Cisneros.
Commenting about the Tuesday win against Price, Cisneros said, "This was a game that we played everyone and got some young guys some time. We played very lazy and did not give a lot of effort. Price played with a lot of effort and it was nice to see that they have gotten better as the year has gone on. We led by as many as 10 runs in the game and ended up winning as it got too dark to play the final inning."
Taylorsville came in as the first place team in the league with a 12-1 record for the game on Wednesday.
Helper gave up four runs in the first inning and then settled down.
Helper played even ball with T-ville over the next four innings with neither team scoring.
Kyler Edgehouse settled down after a rough start and pitched a complete game, but Helper failed to put runs on the board and stranded 10 base runners throughout the game.
Helper scored a run in the seventh, but it wasn't enough to get the win. The loss dropped Helper to 8-8.
Friday, the team traveled to Kearns for the final league game of the year and walked away with a win.
Derick Anderson pitched six solid innings and he got some excellent run support that helped out.
Late in the game, Helper scored 10 runs to end the final three innings.
" Hopefully, this will jump start us throughout the state tournament. The game was played at Oquirrh park, the same field on which the tournament will be held. I told the guys that as far as I was concerned this was the first game of our tournament and we needed to start playing good baseball right now. We responded with a win and finished the league play with a 9-7 record," summed up Cisneros.
According to the coach, the team's overall record heading into the state tournament will be 17-11-1. Not the record the players were hoping for, but they are back in the tournament for the 12th straight year.
At this point, the title will be up for grabs.
"If we can find our offense and play solid defense, this team really has a chance to contend for the title," indicated Cisneros. "We have struggled as of late, but with our experience and talent, this team cannot be counted out from making a run next week and going to the western regionals."
There will be no games in Helper this week as the players are going to take time off to get some practice and rest.
The tournament play starts July 26 at 10 a.m.. against Smithfield. The tournament will last the entire week and be a double elimination 16 team tournament. Oquirrh Park is the site of the state tournament and it is located at 5670 South 4800 West, in Kearns.
The winner will move on and play in Sunrise, Ariz., in the western regional tournament on Aug. 13 -16.
"I would like to thank all the people who have support us this year through up and down play and please recognize Gary Hansen for all the hard work he provided in helping me get funding for the new scoreboard that is being installed at the ballpark. The new scoreboard will be up and ready for use starting next year. Sponsors who would like to display their business on the scoreboard can do so by contacting me. The Carbon County restaurant tax and the Kiwanis Club provided the funds for the scoreboard, which cost about $12,000. I would also like to thank the many sponsors who allow us to continue to play American Legion baseball," concluded Cisneros.