|Northern Height's Jordan Blanc adjusts for a low pitch in Thursday's minor league all-star championship game against Helper. Northern Heights decidedly beat the Helper team 13-2 with the help of Blanc's bat. Blanc has reportedly hit seven home runs this season, including a grand slam.|
Northern Heights and Helper won regional titles in local WBBA minor and major league all-star baseball action, which concluded last week in Helper.
Ironically, the Northern Heights minor league team defeated Helper for the title while the Helper major league team defeated Northern Heights.
The strong Northern Heights minor all-stars breezed through the regional meet undefeated, handing Helper a 13-2 loss in the championship game. Helper had qualified to challange Northern Heights by beating Price National 6-1 earlier in the week.
A strong hitting attack led by Bryce Blackburn, Jordan Blanc, Dylan Vogrinic, Jamin Van Sickle, Dusty Blackham, Derek Young and Jacob Nichols carried the Price team through the tournament unscathed.
Nichols and Vogrinic proved to be a strong pitching duo for the winners.
Helper's major league team came out of the loser's bracket to hang two losses on Northern Heights to claim the major title. With it came a berth in the 12-team WBBA "little world series" in Rigby, Idaho beginning Aug. 2 and continuing through Aug. 7.
The major league games, played on Thursday and Friday, were each decided by a home run.
Thursday's game went into the sixth and final inning with the score tied 1-1. In the top half of the frame, Helper managed to put two runners on base before Damian Olsen cracked a three-run homer for the final 4-1 score.
Joseph Lopez pitched a brilliant game for Helper, allowing only two hits and striking out 14.
Both hits on Lopez were doubles by Northern Heights' Brock Morley.
A trio of Northern Heights hurlers, Levi Graff, Gage Bigelow and Morley, were almost as effective, giving up only four hits.
Friday's game was almost a duplicate of the first game. The score was tied again, this time at 2-2, when Clint Finkbiner slammed a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Helper managed one more run in the inning for a final 5-2 victory.
Jonathan Garcia came to the mound in the second inning for the winners and effectively shut down the Northern Heights hitting attack the remainder of the game. Graff had two of the three hits Northern Heights garnered off Garcia.