Helper Legion Baseball team reigns supreme in home tournament

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It was a clean sweep for the Helper American Legion Baseball team as it went undefeated in five games and took the tournament title in the annual Helper Legion Tournament over the weekend. Helper dominated in almost every game and outscored its opponents 46-11 over the course of four days.

Helper opened the tournament Thursday against Price in front of a large crowd and the game was close for the first three innings.

Jarod Lessar started for Helper on the mound and tossed a no-hitter, his first in an American Legion uniform.

It was a six-run fourth-inning push coupled with a run in the fifth and a pair in the sixth that ended the game early via the mercy rule.

Mike Peczuh led the offensive attack with two singles and a triple. Dakota Cisneros, Jordan Mellen and Ridge Nielson also had multiple hits.

“I thought Price played very hard and Steven Zamantakis pitched very well for them. Jarod did a nice job all night keeping Price guessing at the plate and our defense was once again very good,” said Helper Legion Head Coach Jeff Cisneros.

Team                  Runs      Hits        Errors

Price                      0             0               1

Helper                   9             14             0

WP-Lessar(H),  LP-Zamantakis(P), 3b-Peczuh(H), Cisneros(H).

Helper then squared off against Pine View Friday, the only legion team from the St. George area. Mellen started on the mound and picked up the win for Helper. He went four solid innings and allowed three runs in his first outing on the mound. Cole Fossat came in for the final three innings of relief.

A big fifth inning scored half of Helper’s runs and sealed the 8-3 win.

Bryce Blackburn, Cisneros, Derek Young and Jaren McCourt all had multiple hits. McCourt led the way with a triple and a home run.

Team                  Runs       Hits       Errors

Pineview                3             6              3

Helper                    8              9              1

WP-Mellen (H), LP- Henrie (P),  3b-Mellen(H), McCourt(H), HR-McCourt(H)

The first game of a doubleheader on Saturday was against Westlake. The game counted as a tournament game as well as a league game. Young took the mound and threw a complete game shutout as Helper easily took the 10-0 win. Blackburn, Mellen, McCourt and Peczuh led the way with multiple hits in the game.

“Once again our defense was very good and our offense was great on the game scoring runs in every inning,” said coach Cisneros. “We were very consistent on offense and very good on defense thus leading us to the 10-0 win.”

Team                 Runs      Hits        Errors

Westlake             0             4               2

Helper                 10          12              2

WP-Young (H), LP-Riding (W), 2b-Blackburn(H)2, Mellen(H), McCourt(H), Peczuh(H), Willey(W)

In the second game of the doubleheader, Helper faced off against Cyprus. Both teams entered the game 3-0 for the tournament. Fossat took the mound and pitched five solid innings to earn the win. Lessar came on in relief.    Cyprus took an early 3-0 lead after the first inning, but Helper settled down and scored runs in every inning after that to earn the 14-5 win.

Blackburn led the offense with four singles. Mellen had a pair of doubles and a homer. Young smashed a double and a single. Nielson had two singles. McCourt had a double and a single as did Tyler Procarione.

“We lost to Cyprus last week in our league game and I think we were pretty eager to get another chance at them,” said Coach Cisneros. “This was our best hitting performance of the year so far and the win was a good one after getting beat by Cyprus the week before.”

Team                  Runs         Hits      Errors

Cyprus                  5             12           2

Helper                  14            21           1

WP-Fossat (H), LP-Squire (C), 2b-Mellen(H)2, Young(H), McCourt(H), Procarione(H), Fossat(H), Loutensock(C), Gallegos(C),Nicholes(C), HR-Fossat(H), Mellen(H).

On Sunday, Helper and Cyprus squared off again, this time in the championship game. Cisneros threw five solid innings and picked up the win. Brandon Oliver finished the final two in relief.

It was the closest game of the tournament for Helper, but in the end it took a 5-3 victory.

The score was knotted at three in the sixth when Colton Greener smacked a double with two strikes and two outs, which scored Procarione who had singled. Blackburn then singled in Greener for the two-run advantage in the game.

“I really thought we battled and played hard in this game. Cyprus once again had a very good pitcher on the mound who kept us in check for most of the game but I thought our pitching and timely hitting was just better and thus was the difference,” Coach Cisneros said. “The win made this the third straight year that we have won the Helper Tournament. Throughout the weekend we played very good baseball outscoring our opponents 46-11.“

Team                 Runs       Hits        Errors

Cyprus                 3              4              2

Helper                  5              7              1

WP-Cisneros, LP-Loutensock, 2B-McCourt(H), Greener(H)

Four Helper players were named to the all-tournament team; Bryce Blackburn, Dakota Cisneros, Jordan Mellen and Derek Young. Jaren McCourt was named most outstanding hitter and received the Big Stick Award. Jarod Lessar received the defensive player award for throwing his first no-hitter and the only one in the tournament.

“These are all great awards for our team and multiple other players on our team also had great tournament performances. I really want to thanks all the fans for coming out to support not only our team, but the Price team throughout the weekend,” said Coach Cisneros. “We had a great weekend and appreciate all those who helped out with putting this tournament on. Special thanks to my wife Valerie for running our concession stand and making the weekend a big success. Also, a special thanks to Helper City workers for all their help so far this year.”

Helper will next play at noon Saturday against West.

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