Helper Splits on Road, Looks Forward to State Tourney

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Looking to lock up a top three finish and get into the American Legion state tournament, Helper played two road games last week and recorded a 1-1 split at Highland and Judge.

Helper traveled to Judge Wednesday and got strong offensive and defensive showings in a easy 10-1 win. Ridge Nielson pitched six strong innings, and gave up just one run on three hits.

Nielson scored the first Helper run in the game off an RBI by Dominic Rondinelli. Jordan Baletka singled in the second inning, scoring two more. Helper broke it wide open in the third as 12 batters went to the plate, which resulted in seven runs. Cole Fossat nailed two doubles in the inning. He finished with three in the game. Baletka also doubled in the inning and finished with three hits on the day. Helper had 12 hits total in the game.

“I was very happy with our effort,” said Helper Manager Jeff Cisneros. “We had six players not make the trip so we had a small squad at the game. Some young guys got some valuable playing time in the game.”

The team then traveled to Judge on Friday, but was sent away with a disappointing 14-6 loss.

Having already wrapped up the third seed in the upcoming state tournament, Cisneros thought his team played with a lack of energy.

“I think a lot had to do with the fact that the game did not mean anything as far as the standings went for the league,” he said. “I played everyone and a few guys played well, but our energy was not very good.”

Fossat continued his hot streak, doubling in the second that scored two runners. Helper led 6-2 after two innings.

“After that, it was all down hill,” Cisneros said.

Jarod Lessar started on the mound for Helper and picked up the loss. He walked 11 batters in three innings of work. Dillon Wilstead and Mitch Olson both pitched in the game as well.

Cisneros also said the upcoming state tournament format was changed. Instead of a 16-team tournament, it has been reduced to include 12. So only the top three teams in the Salt Lake Valley League standings will take part. Cyprus, Herriman and Helper are the three teams.

Helper will host Uintah Tuesday for a doubleheader to wrap up the regular season. Helper will play Bear River at 10 a.m. Saturday in Smithfield to kick off the state tournament.

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