Helper ball club finds success at Idaho tournament
|Tony McFarland makes a quick play at first base and sends a runner back to the dugout during an early season game. This past weekend, the Helper legion team competed well at the annual Pocatello tournament. After four days of exciting baseball action, the team finished the tourney with a 3-2 record.|
After struggling for several weeks with errors and mistakes, the Helper American Legion baseball team cleaned up and made several big improvements this past weekend.
The team competed in the annual Pocatello tournament and returned home with a 3-2 tourney record.
To kick things off, Helper competed against Boise Thursday afternoon.
It was a close ball game and it took nine innings for Helper to defeat the Idaho team, 4-2.
Jamal Lewis pitched the first six innings for Helper and played well for the squad.
The final three innings allowed the coaching staff to rotate a few pitchers which gave these athletes valuable playing experience.
Helper American Legion coach, Jeff Cisneros, explained that the Pocatello tournament allows only wood bats. This was a bit of a challenge for all teams involved considering the popularity of metal bats.
Despite this fact, Helper managed to get six hits in the opening ball game. The only down side for the team was that they committed five errors against Boise.
"Once again, errors became a big factor in the game. I believe that we can be a state champion competitor if we just eliminated the errors," explained Cisneros.
The following day, Helper stepped out on the field to compete against two teams. The first of which was North Ridge who is a non legion team.
According to Cisneros, the Helper squad just did not play well during the second day of the tourney.This was apparent in the box score as Helper finished the game with no runs, no hits and three errors.
"There just was no effort in this game on our part. This cost us, but we did bounce back a bit in the second game that afternoon," stated Cisneros.
The Highland, Idaho team served as Helper's second opponent for the day and the things turned around a bit for the Carbon County team.
Helper jumped ahead early and held on to a 3-0 lead until the third inning. This is when Highland scored six runs and left Helper looking for their ace in the hole.
By the end of seven innings, Helper had scored four runs, had two hits and four errors. They had lost their second straight game by the final, 8-4, but was ready for another day of exciting action.
During the third day of the tourney, Helper faced the non-legion team, Brighton.
This ball game proved to be much more successful for the Castle Valley team than the previous days events as they defeated Brighton, 7-1.
Green River High athlete Lance Richards pitched the game for Helper and was assisted by the entire team who worked hard and finished the game with no errors.
"This was a better ball game and it left myself and the rest of the coaching staff excited about the improvements made on errors. If we can eliminate or reduce these, we will be a stronger team," Cisneros explained.
By the end of the first three days of action, each team in Helper's bracket found themselves with a 2-2 record. In order to determine tournament title play, points were counted from the previous games and Helper wound up playing for fifth place.
The final game Helper played was against Layton and this was another exciting and successful competition for the Carbon County team as they finished victorious by the final, 11-3.
"We finished this game with only one error and we hit quite well. In fact, we had 11 runs on nine hits which isn't too bad considering we were using wood bats," explained Cisneros.
The Helper coach also pointed out that Lewis had a successful tournament performance and will be missed in the coming weeks as he leaves to go to college in Colorado.
"This tourney gave us confidence and even though we are losing Lewis, I think we will be able to rebound from the loss," concluded Cisneros.
The next home game for Helper will not take place until July 9. In the meantime, Helper will compete in two road games and take advantage of a much needed break.