Helper Legion Baseball falls just short of title
The state American Legion tournament began Saturday July 24. Helper opened with an epic 20-17 win over Grantsville. On Monday Granger came out on top with a 5-1 victory over Helper. The boys bounce back with a 6-5 win over Kearns on Tuesday and a 1-0 victory over the Brigham City Pioneers. Caught in a delay in the Canyon because of a fatal traffic accident, Helper never seemed to find their bearings and dropped the Championship game 18-3.
Grantsville was listed as the number eight seed from the North League but with four late wins after the seedlings were done, they actually should of have been the number four seed. Grantsville jump out to a early 8-0 lead after the top of the first inning. Beau Rich started on the mound and did all he could but the Grantsville hitters were on fire. Dylan Vogrinec came in tand got the team out of the inning.
Helper proceeded to score seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and the score stood at 8-7. This set the tone for what was going to be a very high scoring affair. After trading runs all night Helper was finally able to get on top in the fourth. They were trailing 17-16 going into the inning but scored four runs and took a 20-17 lead.
Colter Moore came on in relief in the second and he allowed only four runs and struck out 15 batters.
Helper's pitchers struck out 19 Grantsville batters. The team committed only two errors all night. Offensively they pounded out 14 hits with Rich leading the way with three. Bradon Bolotas, Hayden Basinger, Kash Jewkes, Julian Tamllos and Clint Finkbiner all had two hits apiece
"We did have seven walks but I thought overall we played a good game against a good team." stated Coach Jeff Cisneros. "We did just enough to squeak out a win."
Helper: 20, 14, 2
Grantsville: 17, 11, 5
Wp-Moore, Lp-Erickson. 2b-Nelson(G)2, Turner(G), Jewkes(H), Seals(H), Peczuh (H), Rich(H), Bolotas(H).
On Monday July 25, Helper squared off against Granger. Granger was the number five seed from the Valley and advanced to Monday's game with a win over Stansbury on Saturday. Gage Bigelow started on the mound and struggled with his control. This allowed Granger to sit on his fastball and the result was a couple of early runs in the first inning and Helper found themselves down 2-0.
Granger's pitcher was tough the whole game. Helper managed only one run which came in the sixth inning while Granger put up another three. Josh Denison came into pitch and finally shut Granger down. With the final score of 5-1 Helper dropped into the losers bracket.
Cisneros summed it up, "We played flat and without a lot of energy. We played good defense and overall our pitching was good. But when you don't hit, you don't score and when you don't score, you don't win."
"In the 5th inning Seth Tryon and Jaren McCourt collided on a ball that was hit in the outfield," added Cisneros. "The result of the collision sent Tryon in the Hospital. His injuries were very serious, however he has been steadily getting better but will remain in Primary Children's Hospital until the doctors release him. McCourt also had to miss two games because of the collision. Our prayers have been with Seth since then and we hope for a complete recovery."
Helper: 1, 3, 2
Granger: 5, 7, 1
Wp-Felion, Lp-Bigelow. 2b-Felion(G)2, Odekirk(G)2, McCourt(H).
Kearns was up next on Tuesday. Helper had played Kearns twice during the season and had two close wins. With their backs against the wall Helper came out and played very solid ball. Bolotas started on the mound and had a good outing. Denison finished it up in the seventh for the 6-5 win.
Helper's offense still struggled for most of the afternoon.They managed two in the second. Then they scored four more in the sixth to go ahead for good.
Keny Seals provided much of the offensive. His three-run homer in the sixth ended up being the winning hit. Rich, Daniel Peczuh and Finkbiner all had doubles.
Helper: 6, 8, 2
Kearns: 5, 10, 2
Wp-Bolotas, Lp-Christensen. 2b-Harolson(K), Burgess(K), Rich(H), Peczuh(H), Finkbiner(H). 3b-Myers(K)2. Hr-Seals(H).
The win moved Helper on to play the Brigham City Pioneers on Wed. They played this team in Idaho earlier and lost 3-1. The Pioneers were the North League champs ans this was going to be a tough game.
Moore took the mound and pitched one of his best game of the year. He scattered four hits and struck out eight batters for the 1-0 win
"Moore had pitched against this team in Idaho and only gave up two hits then but on this day I think he was even better," remarked Cisneros
Helper's bats were silent, managing only one hit. But with the game tied at 0-0 Tamllos walked to lead the sixth inning off. He stole second and on the next pitch stole third on a missed bunt attempt. The catcher then threw the ball past the third baseman and Tamllos scored the game's only run.
"This was a game that put both league champions against one other and the fans were treated to a great defensive ball game. We turned in our best defensive game of the tournament with three double plays. There was a big diving stop by Basinger who jump up and threw out a Pioneer runner at first. I was very proud of the boys, we had played two straight days with our backs against the wall and to beat a team like the Pioneers was great," said Cisneros.
Helper: 1, 1, 0
Pioneers: 0, 4, 1
Helper faced Granger once again on Thursday. Granger was beaten by Taylorsville U17. Helper knew that they did not play a good game against them earlier in the week and wanted another shot at Granger. All games were nine innings from this point on.
Denison took the mound and Cisneros commented that he was superb. Denison did not allow a run as he allowed only four Granger hits and went all nine innings for the 7-0 win.
Keny Seals provide the spark offensively with a 2 RBI double in the fifth and another RBI in the seventh. Peczuh and Basinger also had doubles. This was another solid game defensively.
With the win Helper drew a bye for Friday night.
The final face off was against Taylorsville on Saturday.The game was delayed for an hour as they were stopped in Spanish Fork Canyon because of an accident that shut down the road.
Cisneros added,"Traveling back and forth everyday for a week and having a lot of distractions for the week finally took its toll on our team."
They started Saturdays game out flat and were down early to the Taylorsville team. Taylorsville came into the game as the only unbeaten team in the tournament. This would mean Helper would have to beat them twice on this day to claim the championship.
Bigelow started on the mound but the Taylorsville bats were hot to start the game. Bolotas came in during the second inning and slowed the T-ville bats down for a couple innings but Helper soon was down 9-1 after the second inning. Moore and Dylan Vogrinec both came in and pitched also but the damage continued.
"We ended up losing 18-3. Not the game that we wanted and we know were are a better team than we showed in the championship game," Cisneros said.
"The game ended a great week and a great season of American Legion Baseball. We started the end of May. To finish up our season with a record of 25-5 record is a tribute to the talent and hard work this team had," he said.
"Keny Seals, Daniel Peczuh, Beau Rich, Colter Moore and Josh Dension will all move on and hopefully will find themselves playing baseball next season at a higher level."
He ended with, "They have all been great kids and great ball players and without them we would of never reached the success we have had not only this year but in the past few years. I want to thank all of our great supporters and fans that traveled to watch our games and that supported our team all year. The business's that donate to our team and all the people who help our all year are wonderful. Without them we would not be able to have such a wonderful program."