|The Helper American Legion season is anticipated by many Carbon County residents and young athletes alike. This year's season will kick off next month, but in the meantime, preparations are being made for ground improvements and the construction of a team. American Legion baseball has become a Helper tradition.|
The 2003 American Legion baseball season is fast approaching.
Legion head coach, Jeff Cisneros expects that the first game of the year will be played June 9.
At this point, Cisneros is not sure whether the game will take place on the Helper field or be a roadie. The one thing which he is sure of is that the team will host their annual tournament June 12-15.
"This will be an eight man tournament and the annual event always attracts a lot of baseball fans to Helper. It gives us a chance to compete and at the same time show off the local field," explained the legion coach.
Throughout the past several years, Cisneros along with other baseball enthusiasts have put in a lot of time and work at the Helper facility.
"There has been a substantial amount of money given to this program from the city and the county. I just want to let all the Carbon County residents know what has been going on out at the field and I invite anyone to come and take a look at the facility. It's one of the best fields in the state, if not the best," explained Cisneros.
In order to maintain the ballpark, the legion coach stresses that the public plays a vital role.
"Continued help from the public to use the field in the correct manner is a big part of maintaining this fine facility. Countless hours have gone into working on this field. Helper city has also been a big help in maintaning the ballpark," Cisneros stated.
To get an idea of how much it costs to compete in legion ball, Cisneros explained that annually, the program costs approximately $12,500 to run.
This estimate includes league fees, insurance, all hotel rooms and travel expenses and equipment.
The team coach explained that this money comes from local sponsors and the annual golf fundraising event which takes place at the Carbon Country Club Golf Course.
This year, the golf tournament will take place on May 17 and is a four person scramble that is open to the public. Teams can sign up at the golf course and all procedes go toward the local legion team.
Currently, the Helper team has not yet been constructed. Cisneros explains that tryouts will begin May 21 at 5 p.m. on the Helper legion field. These tryouts are open to anyone born in the year 1984 or later.
"We want to welcome anyone to come and tryout. This year, we plan on keeping about 22 kids which has been the standard in the past. Anyone who is interested may contact me for more information at 637-3549," stated Cisneros.
Once again, the Helper team will compete in the Salt Lake Valley league which is comprised of 18 teams.
The local coach explained that total, there will be 41 teams competing in American Legion baseball in the state.
"Although the Helper team has not been selected yet, we are already considered a front runner for the state legion title this year," explained the Helper coach.
"After representing Utah last year in the west regionals with such a young team, many people feel that Taylorsville and Helper will be the two teams to beat this year," continued Cisneros.
The league nights will be Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Half of these games will be played on the Helper field and the other half in Salt Lake.
To prepare for the league season, the team will travel to Pocatello, Idaho and compete in a tournament June 25-29.
It is expected that the team will compete in about 40 games this summer.
"This league is for kids that love to play baseball. It is a long and intense schedule and takes quite a bit of dedication," concluded Cisneros.