|The Helper American Legion team recently returned home from competing in the region championship tournament in Las Vegas. While competing in the tourney, Matt Jewkes stepped up to offer his pitching talent for the Helper team.|
The Helper American Legion kicked off the western region tournament in Las Vegas last Thursday with an outcome which was not too pleasing to the team.
In the first game of the tourney, Helper faced off against Nevada state champions Cimarron Memorial. Despite a quick start in the first inning, Helper found themselves falling to Cimarron by the end of the ball game.
Kent Stilson opened the doors for Helper in the first inning as he doubled and scored on a Zac Cloward single, boosting Helper to a 1-0 lead. Cimarron answered this showing with two runs of their own to gain control of the scoreboard.
In the sixth inning, Helper rallied with bases loaded however, the team only scored one run.
The eighth inning was a difficult one for Helper who allowed Cimarron to score four runs in the bottom of the inning. This opened up the doors for the Nevada team, however Helper did not give up.
In the top of the ninth, Helper rallied with two runs, but this was not enough to capture the win. Cimarron defeated Helper 7-4 in the first game of the region championship tournament.
Pitcher Troy Grundy started the game for Helper but was later relieved by Jamal Lewis and Matt Jewkes in the eight inning in hopes of gaining control of the ball game. Unfortunately, this did not happen for Helper who was forced to win both of its upcoming games in order to advance to the semifinal bracket held Sunday.
During their quest for the region title, Helper stepped up to play the Honolulu team on Friday. Helper who has been known not to commit many errors ball games, finished the game against Honolulu with four errors, which lead to the second loss of the tournament for the Carbon County team.
The first three innings looked hopeful for Helper who with the help of pitcher Travis Barnett, held the Islanders scoreless. The tide would soon turn however in the fourth inning as the Hawiians scored five runs.
Helper would rally and make a brief comeback in the fifth as the team scored three runs. However this was the last rally that Helper would perform during the game.
At the conclusion of the contest, Barnett, Josh Greenwood, Jeff Fielder, and Jewkes had each pitched for Helper. By the time the dust had cleared, Helper fell to Honolulu 13-3.
The second round loss meant that Helper would not have the chance to compete for the region title during the final round of the tournament which was held Monday. Because the top two teams from each pool advanced to the semifinal round, Helper had lost the chance to compete in this round because of the two losses.
This fact did not bother the team who stepped up to compete in their third and final game on Saturday against the California legion team. Helper did not come all the way to Las Vegas to give up, instead the team stepped up to compete with their heads held high.
Although Helper failed to capture a victory in the region tournament as they fell to California 8-1, the team did gain valuable baseball experience.
Helper once again struggled with errors in their final game as they finished the ball game with a total of six.
The team did out hit the California ball club with nine hits as opposed to California's seven. Despite the hitting success Helper found themselves stranding 12 base runners during the game. The only run Helper scored came from Fielder who doubled on a Jewkes single.
Helper returned home late Saturday from the tournament. Although the team did not return with a championship title, they did return with pride for they had competed in a tournament which few athletes will ever participate in. It ws quite a conclusion to a successful and controversial American Legion season.