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Front Page » July 7, 2009 » Carbon Sports » Sports View: Professionalism
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Sports View: Professionalism


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By WALT BORLA
Contributor

One has to marvel at the professionally efficient manner in which the annual American Legion baseball tournament was staged in Helper last week. Baseball was buzzing in the four day meet at Gardner Field, the storied old ball park of the community.   

The field was in excellent condition at the start of the meet and kept so throughout the four days of the meet. Every game started on time and moved along by the professional umpire crew who did not allow any dilly-dallying between innings, restricting warm up pitches by each of the pitchers in any particular game.   

Immediately following the conclusion of each game the field was flooded by members of the Helper team, led by coach-manager Jeff Cisneros, equipped with rakes, brushes, sprinklers and a powered four-wheeler to drag the infield in preparation for the next game.   

The tournament is not restricted to just American Legion teams, this year's meet brought two college bound teams, Colorado Northwestern Community College from Rangley and the College of Eastern Utah. The latter was a late entry replacing a team from Elko, Nevada which opt out.   

The tournament saw Willie Ellington's Price American Legion team post a first ever win and Helper falling to the eventual champions, CNCC, in a semi-final game. Helper rebounded on Sunday afternoon to win an all-important game from Hunter which counted in the league standing for the two teams.

Sixteen year old Clint Finkbiner pitched a three-hit shutout over the Salt Lake area team. CNCC defeated Eastern Utah in the final game late Sunday afternoon, 7-4, in a well played game between these two college rivals.   

Crowds came and went as their particular team was playing but the biggest turnout was the Helper-CNCC game on Saturday night. The new major league style scoreboard in center field added to the enjoyment of the games. All in all it was a highly successful tournament, not to mention the economic impact to the area by having six out town teams and their fans in the area for four days.   

Coach-manager Cisneros and his team are to be congratulated.     

The recent accidental death of Ned Alger was a shock to old-time Carbon High football followers. Alger, who grew up in Price, is remembered as a tough little running back for the Dino gridiron teams of the late "40's."

He went to BYU on a football scholarship along with his buddy, Dick Hill. Alger's career parallels that of Kyle Wittingham, present University of Utah coach. Both graduated from BYU and went on to positions at the U.   

After winning two state football championships as coach at Pleasant Grove High, Alger accepted a position as assistant coach at the U. He earned a doctorate degree at the U and later became the associate athletic director in which he served until his retirement in 1995. He was tournament director for the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird heralded Final Four NCAA basketball tournament at the University of Utah in 1979.   

In an era when Carbon High regularly sent players on to college ball, my thoughts go back to the BYU-Utah game in the fall of 1950 at BYU involving former Carbon players along with Alger. I had the privilege of witnessing this game, a night Carbon could be proud of. Of the four team captains meeting at mid-field for the coin toss prior the game, three were Carbon High graduates, Hill and Rex Berry for BYU and Joe Tangaro for Utah.

Perhaps appropriately, the game ended in a tie at a time before the tie-breaking provision was initiated for college football. 

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