Helper Legion comes close in Idaho tourney
|Every run counted in Helper's quest for victory at the Pocatello, Idaho tournament last weekend. Games stayed tight due to the restriction of metal bats. Helper seemed unshaken, though, taking second place.|
After a long weekend of close games, Helper emerged from the Pocatello, Idaho American Legion tournament with second place honors.
The team began the the four-day tournament with back-to-back games against Riverton and tournament host Pocatello.
Helper lead the Riverton team 4-2 entering the fifth inning. However, with Riverton runners on first and second, Riverton's bunt attempt proved better than expected.
Both runners scored on an overthrow which ended up in right field and Riverton soon made the winning run of the game.
The final score was 5-4.
Helper battled back to defeat a leading Pocatello team, though, scoring five runs in the seventh to win the game 6-4.
Coach Jeff Cisneros said the outcome of most of the tournament games were close because the rules stipulated that only wooden bats be used.
The next day, Helper had another final inning comeback against local team Highland.
Trailing 3-4, Helper scraped out some runs and won the game 6-4.
"Our whole story down there was wait until the last inning to do anything," Cisneros commented.
In the fourth game of the tournament, Helper took a major loss from the North Ridge Canes.
Because of the large pool of athletes the North Ridge team draws from, the squad is only eligible for tournament play and is not part of any American Legion league.
Helper lost the game 12-0 in what Cisneros referred to as "a thumping".
However, the team would get its revenge the next day to move to the championship game.
After a 5-4 win over Highland, Helper met with the Canes again.
Entering the seventh inning, North Ridge led 1-0.
With clutch play, Helper tied the game and forced an eighth inning where they would take and pad the lead.
Helper won 4-1.
In the championship game, Helper lost another tight game with Riverton for a second place finish.
Final score was 3-4.
Cisneros said the defensive efforts of thirdbasemen Chris Hatch were a big contributor to the strong finish.
He also commended the batting of Joe Via and Troy Grundy.
Via has yet to return to catcher for the team after a thumb injury left him unable to throw.
However, Cisneros said Via's batting was crucial to the team's success over the weekend.
Helper followed the tournament with a disappointing league loss to Cypress on June 28. The nothern team took the game 9-4.
The loss dropped Helper to 5-2 in league play. The team also hosted Judge on June 30.
Scores were not available at press time.