ETV News stock photo by Jeff Barrett
The Merchants traveled to St. George on Monday for a doubleheader against Washington. Unearned runs made life difficult for the visitors, making the games close.
Beau Vea started on the bump in the first game and lasted five and 1/3 innings. He gave up five hits and five runs (four unearned) while striking out five. On the offensive end, the Merchants struggled to get on base. Helper only tallied five hits in the game and ended up falling 5-4. Jordan Fossat went 2-3 with a double while Vea led the team with three ribbies. Derek Robison also hit a double in the contest.
“This was a frustrating game for us. Walks and errors proved once again to be a weakness of ours and ultimately lost us the game,” head coach Dakota Cisneros said. “We have a great team, but when we have no energy, we walk batters and we kick it around in the field. It seems to always result in a loss for us. Very frustrating game all around and definitely not the result we were looking for. I hope we learn something from this game because there’s a good chance we will be in similar situations when the state tournament rolls around.”
Game 2 was similar where unearned runs put extra pressure on the Merchants. Helper aided itself with a quick 6-0 lead in the first inning, but Washington continued to battle. Washington cut the lead to two with four runs in the second. The Merchants answered with two runs in the bottom half to make it 8-4. Kade Dimick got the nod and lasted four innings and struck out eight. He surrendered five runs, two unearned, six hits and six walks. Wyatt Falk got a huge strikeout in the fifth, escaping a jam.
Fast-forward to the final inning and Washington trailed 9-8 with runners on first and second and two outs. Rylan Hart was on the mound trying to close out the game, but an error extended the contest and loaded the bases. Hart stayed locked in and induced the game-ending out to record the save as Helper won 9-8.
The Merchants hit three triples in the contest, including one each by Fossat, Robison and Colton Lowe. Lowe went 2-3 with two RBIs while Dimick also recorded two ribbies.
“Once again, errors and walks made this game a lot closer than it needed to be. We hit better in this game, and that early six-run lead was a huge momentum builder for the game,” stated Cisneros. “I’m proud of our team for bouncing back to get the Game 2 win in the doubleheader. It would’ve been very easy to sulk about the Game 1 loss and follow that up with another loss, but instead we showed some character and clawed our way to a win.”
The Merchants are in first place in the league standings with just one game to go. They hosted Springville on Wednesday in the season finale. Due to its standing, Helper has already received an automatic bid to the state tournament, which begins on July 23.