ETV News stock photo by Jeff Barrett
American Legion is underway and the Helper Merchants have wasted no time to make their presence felt. They opened up the summer season at the RBI Tournament in Burley, Idaho last Thursday through Saturday and finished a perfect 4-0.
Thursday’s opponent, Minico, did not put up much of a fight as the Merchants cruised to a 9-0 victory. Jordan Fossat got the nod on the mound and was unhittable. In fact, he struck out every batter he faced the first time through the lineup. He ended up allowing just one hit through seven innings and recorded 15 of the 21 outs via the punch out.
“It was a great start to our season,” said head coach Dakota Cisneros. “This was one of Jordan’s best outings I have witnessed. He threw lights out. He kept hitters off balance and threw his pitches.”
Derick Robison had a great day at the plate and went 3-3 with two doubles, a walk and one ribby. Brayton Neilson also logged three hits and finished 3-4 while Colton Lowe went 2-4 with two RBIs.
The Merchants continued to have great pitching on Friday. Wyatt Falk started on the bump in the first game of the day against Blackfoot. He gave up three hits through four innings, while striking out seven batters. He also led the team with three RBIs, helping his own cause as he went 2-4 at the plate. Ridge Nielson and Jacob Vasquez finished 2-4 as well with an RBI, while the former also added a double. Blackfoot made it interesting in the last few innings, but Helper held on to win 8-5.
There was no time to rest, however, as Helper quickly turned around to face Burley. Camden Wilson battled on the mound and was supported by great defense. “Camden had a great outing on the mound. He kept many hitters off balance and kept his team involved on defense,” Cisneros added. He fanned five batters and completed the game to help the Merchants to a 9-3 victory. Dallen O’Neil went 2-3 at the plate and added an RBI.
Helper completed the weekend sweep on Saturday by defeating Jerome, 9-3. The Merchants spread around the offensive production as four different players recorded an RBI, including Rylan Hart, Lowe, Fossat and Vasquez. Lowe went 2-3 while Hart finished 2-4 with a double. Vasquez picked up the win on the mound and also went 2-4 from the plate to power Helper to its four straight victory.
“We had a great tournament. I am very proud of our start to the season.” Cisneros continued, “It just gets tougher from here. I’m looking forward to the games we have this week and to the competition we have this summer.”
The Merchants were back on the road to face Roosevelt in a doubleheader on Monday. Helper made quick work of Roosevelt with a combined 17 runs in the two games. The Merchants were stout defensively and did not allow a single run. They won 10-0 and 7-0 to improve to 6-0 on the season.
The club’s first home games will begin this week at the CJ Smuin Memorial Tournament that will run from Wednesday through Saturday.