|A Helper American Legion player sends a ball into the air during an early season game. As the year has progressed, so has the hitting efforts of Helper. Constant improvements at bat and on the field have advanced the team into the top six in the region. This means that Helper is in the running for a state title once again.|
After taking advantage of a weekend off, the Helper American Legion baseball team resumed play last Monday as they traveled north to compete against Murray.
Prior to the holiday break, Helper had finished off the first half of the season with a big win over West.The team was optimistic about picking up where they left off last week and that is exactly what they did.
According to Helper co-coach, Jeff Cisneros, the team escaped with an early win by the final 6-5.
"Murray has an ordinance that says that the ball park lights have to be off by 11 p.m. We were in the bottom of the seventh inning when the lights went off. This means that the winner is determined by the final score of the last completed inning," explained Cisneros. "In this case, we had scored two runs in the sixth and this pushed us ahead of Murray for the 6-5 win."
Even in the top of the seventh, Helper had scored two runs and was ahead of Murray, 8-5 when the lights shut off. Regardless, the Helper team captured the legion win and advanced into the top six standings in the region.
"In order for us to compete for the state title again this year, we have to finish in the top six. Right now, it looks like we will be in good shape as long as we keep playing strong," Cisneros explained.
Currently, the local team sits at 6-4 in legion games played. This is not a bad standing considering the ball club started the season off 0-3.
"We played good against Murray, but we still struggled with errors," pointed out the Helper coach. "The errors which we made were more mental than anything, but they lead to physical errors which hurt us a bit."
One such error occurred in the first inning when bases were loaded with Helper runners. A line drive was hit to the outfield. The runner on second then took off and forced the third base runner to scramble home.
According to Cisneros, the second base runner turned back to tag the base and was forced out. Then the third base runner was also caught between bases and ruled out.
"It's mistakes like these that end up costing us. We just need to be more careful and stay focused," commented Cisneros.
Helper will continue action this weekend as they compete in two road games. The first will take place Friday against Wasatch and a makeup game against Tooele will get underway Saturday.
Also on Saturday, the annual American Legion all-star game will take place in Murray at 7:30 p.m. For the third year in a row, Cisneros will coach the region team and it is expected that Tony McFarland, Garrett Schmitz and Frankie Iriart will represent Helper at the event.
"Each year, teams send their best 18 year olds to compete in the event. We have a lot of talented players on this team, but these three will more than likely be the representatives at the event," concluded the coach.