Helper Al Baseball Down, But Not Out
|Mike Smith makes a quick catch at first base during a home game last week. |
Prior to the American Legion season, it was expected that Helper would be the team to beat this year. Although the team has suffered several losses, they are still holding on tight and could easily become the dominating squad in the region.
The most recent game the Helper team competed in took place June 23 on their home field. The weather was far from sunny and bright. In fact, it was an evening of wind, rain and unusually cold June temperatures.
Regardless of weather conditions, Helper stepped up to compete and was all business as Jordan scrambled to defeat the home team.
As the game dwindled down to an end, Helper was ahead of Jordan, 5-3. Entering the seventh inning, it seemed as if things were going their way, but then disaster struck.
Jordan launched a powerful rally and Helper was suddenly plagued with misfortune as they committed three errors in the inning. The chaos lead to a 8-5 victory in favor of Jordan and this left the Helper team shaking their heads.
"We played a pretty good ball game up until the last inning. This is when things started to fall apart and there was no turning back," explained Helper AL coach, Jeff Cisneros.
The home team played quite well throughout the game despite the disappointing loss. In fact, Troy Grundy pitched for Helper and struck out 13 Jordan batters.
Garrett Schmitz also stepped up and played well for the local team. Schmitz hit well and had several base hits during the legion game.
"One of our problems is that we are not hitting like we want to. We have made improvements and we have several guys that really step up for us at bat, but there is still room to grow," explained Helper co-coach, Cisneros.
Currently, Helper sits at 3-4 in league action this year. Although this is a slower start than was expected, the team knows full well that they are still in the running for a region title this year.
"We need to work the younger players more and get them some experience. Once we get over this hump, I think we will be alright," advised the coach.
Thursday afternoon, the team will kick off action in Idaho at the annual Pocatello Tournament. The four day long event will allow the local team the chance to expose the younger players to action and assist the ball club in making any needed changes before returning home Monday night.
Cisneros explained that the team will return to their home field next week without Jeff Fielder who has been a strong player for Helper the past several years.
"Fielder will be leaving for a mission and that will hurt us. He is a starter and has done an excellent job for us, but we need to regroup and continue playing. We may also be losing Jamal Lewis in the next week and this is a second starter to leave the team. It is important to get the young kids exposure and prep them for the following weeks," the coach explained.
The local American Legion team will return to action on their home field Monday night at 6 p.m. as they host Bountiful. Then it's back on the road.
"It's exciting to play on our own field. We have tremendous support and no matter how we do, the fans keep coming back. It's a good feeling to know that we have such strong fan support. In fact, we had quite a large crowd last Monday even with the weather as bad as it was," concluded Cisneros.
Despite losing a close battle earlier this week, Helper looks forward to bouncing back and competing in this weekends tourney. The team is even more excited to playing next week on their home field.