Superb finish for this years Helper American Legion team
Helper American Legion started their 2008 season on fire, winning their first games like nothing could stand in their way. But injuries and other commitments slowed down the squad and Helper cooled down in their final stretch and quickly exited the state tournament with a record of 1-2.
Opening state tournament play against Smithfield with a 3-2 loss, they headed to the loser bracket and then beat Box Elder 7-0. Unable to sustain that streak, they dropped their final game to Tooele 5-2 in an eight inning affair to end their season.
Kyler Edgehouse pitched a complete game against Smithfield in the loss. He threw a three hitter, but his team committed six errors behind him. All of Smithfield's runs were unearned. The bats for Helper also remained silent as they only connected for four hits and two runs.
On Monday, Helper took on Box Elder with Derek Anderson on the mound. He also threw a complete game, three hitter. This time he had a good defense behind him and the team committed no errors. Box Elder was not as fortunate and they let Helper score seven times on four hits with their own sloppy defense.
On Tuesday, Helper and Tooele battled it out. Helper had several chances to put the game away, but could not string together the hits to do it. Tied 2-2 in the seventh, and a runner in scoring position, the team could not push the winning run across. Strike outs doomed them to extra innings and a loss. Six errors and only three hits do not win ball games. Tooele sent three runs across in the eight and the hometown boys could not answer the challenge.
Coach Jeff Cisneros was a bit philosophical about the final loss, "It was a good way to end. It kinda summed up our last few weeks of play. Too many errors and not enough hits with guys on base. I am a bit disappointed in the commitment of my players this season. Legion ball takes a bit commitment due to the tough schedule we play. I talked to the team about this at the beginning, but after Idaho, we never had the same team to work with for two straight games. Players were coming and going as they headed to do other things. Injuries to our squad didn't help either as we headed up to state."
Helper finished up 18-13-1 on the season. And Cisneros admitted his team held up well against the tough competition they faced despite it all. Many of the teams they faced in the Salt Lake area were teams made up of 4A and 5A all stars.
As for next year, Utah Valley has approached him to help resurrect their league. It would be easier to participate in a Utah County league for the players, cutting their traveling expenses and time commitments. There are also several Salt Lake area schools who had shifted over to the Utah Baseball Academy league, but it appears there is growing unhappiness with that option and many are reconsidering having a Legion team again.
Rural Utah is also expanding its interest in legion play with teams like Vernal and Price organizing as legion teams.
So the future of American Legion ball remains bright after a slight decline. Cisneros remains involved at both the local and the state level. He is also excited about the crop of young Carbon area players coming up and has spent time coaching his son and others as they come up through the ranks of play.
Mostly though he is gearing up for an exciting season of football at Mont Harmon and wants to thank all the sponsors, businesses, individuals, fans and parents who made this another successful year for the Helper team. It cost over $16,000 to operate the team and not one player had to pay anything to play. The new scoreboard is being installed this week and will be ready for action next season. All in all it looks like another great summer for Helper American Legion when the snow thaws.