The Helper American Legion Baseball team fell behind early in its opening round game against the New Mexico state champions and stumbled to a disappointing 10-5 loss in the Western Regional Tournament in Surprise, Ariz.
Cole Fossat was tagged for seven runs on 11 hits as Helper fell behind 7-1 after the fourth inning. It was 9-2 after the seventh, but Helper was able to score three runs in the eighth and ninth innings combined to cut the final score to 10-5.
Mark DeBry got Helper on the board in the fourth on a RBI single to right, which scored Jarod Lessar, who walked and advanced to third on a Marco Mota groundout and a wild pitch. The team added another run in the fifth as Colton Greener scored on a Bryce Blackburn double to the right center gap. Fossat and Blackburn got on base to start the eighth inning on a double and single, respectively. Mitch Olson doubled to center field and scored both base runners to cut the lead to 9-4. Fossat scored Jordan Baletka on a sacrifice fly in the ninth to round out the scoring.
Mitch Olson came on in relief of Fossat for one inning, giving up just one hit. Kyler Nelson pitched the final four innings of the game.
Helper will now play the Texas champions from Texarkana in the one-loss bracket Friday at 11 a.m. A loss would mean an early exit from the tournament. A win would put Helper in a noon game against a yet-to-be-decided opponent on Saturday.