Summer Classic: Sentinels, Pilots move into semis with Friday wins

Tobie Swenson, St. George Sentinels vs. Cincinnati, Ohio, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, June 23, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The St. George Sentinels and the Dixie Pilots are putting together an excellent week. The two teams, which play American Legion baseball with local players, went 3-0 in pool play in the St. George Summer Classic with victories Friday, putting both into Saturday’s 6 p.m. semifinals.

The Sentinels, coached by Shane Johanson, capped the three days of play with an 8-5 victory over Cincinnati late Friday to win the “Freedom” pod with a 3-0 record. St. George will battle Faith Lutheran (Nev.) at 6 p.m. at Panther Field in the STG Summer Classic semifinals.

The Pilots, coached by Danny Ipson, had to win two games Friday and did just that, defeating Grandview (Colo.) 9-8 in the 9:30 a.m. game and then blasting the Eagle AA (Ida.) team 11-4 late Friday night. Dixie will battle North Cache in the STG Summer Classic semifinals Saturday at 6 p.m. at Flyer Field.

Nick Horsley, St. George Sentinels vs. Cincinnati, Ohio, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, June 23, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The winners of the two semifinals will square off for the STG Summer Classic championship at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Dixie State University’s Bruce Hurst Field.

“It’s been an amazing tournament and we’re very happy to be playing in the semifinals,” Johanson said, after his team rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take the 8-5 win. “Tobie Swenson started and he got a little tired in the third in this heat. They got four runs off him, but it was really big for us to turn back around and get five off them.”

Indeed, the Sentinels looked at their first deficit in quite some time (they have an eight-game winning streak) heading into the bottom of the third and didn’t even blink.

Jagun Leavitt started the rally with an RBI triple and Trey Allred followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2. A Cincinnati error, followed by an RBI single by Payton Higgins made it 4-3. Higgins, the former Canyon View star, then stole second and third base and was brought home by Alec Flemetakis, who tripled to left, making it 4-4.

St. George Sentinels vs. Cincinnati, Ohio, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, June 23, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Another former Falcon, Cayden Clark then gave the Sentinels their first lead by singling home Flemetakis.

Leavitt got his second and third RBIs of the game in the fifth when he doubled home Swenson and Landon Levine to make it 7-4. St. George added an eighth run in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff triple by Higgins over the center fielder’s head and an RBI single by Nick Horsley.

“I had an awesome experience redshirting last year at Cal State-San Bernardino,” Higgins said. “I learned so much and I brought that here tonight. These guys they had today had good velo and they had good off speed, and watching pitchers last year (at the college level) really helped me adjust my swing and figure out what’s coming.”

Higgins, who is looking for a new school this fall after his head coach at CSUSB was fired, was 3 for 3 with an RBI and that triple for the Sentinels. He also closed out the game on the mound.

St. George Sentinels vs. Cincinnati, Ohio, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, June 23, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“I actually haven’t pitched for a couple of years,” Higgins said. “But they asked me if I wanted to be their closer and, being a competitor, I was like, ‘OK. let’s go.'”

The team from Ohio did add a run in the seventh before Higgins came in and shut things down. The Sentinels, 10-5, won their eighth straight and look forward to Saturday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against Faith Lutheran, a school from Las Vegas.

“Legion is hard because you’re bringing together guys from different schools and they have to kind of get used to each other and gel,” Johanson said. “This is a gritty team and they just showed it again. You can’t make that up. It comes from playing together and finding each other and trusting each other. It’s a process, but we’re getting there.”

The Sentinels had 11 hits and just one error, while Cincinnati had seven hits and three errors. Cincinnati, which went 2-1 in pool play, will play a consolation game at 6 p.m. Saturday against Lone Peak in a game to be played at Snow Canyon High School.

Tyson Miller (8) and Payden Harrah, file photo from Dixie vs. Park City, 3A State Baseball Tournament, Orem, Utah, May 19, 2017 | Photo by AJ Griffin, St. George News

Faith Lutheran went 3-0 in the “Veterans ” pod, winning two games Friday, 7-5 over Cedar and 6-2 over Eagle A.

The Dixie Pilots won the early game of the day at Flyer Field by edging past Grandview, then battled Eagle AA and came away with a convincing 11-4 victory.

Upcoming junior Reggie Graff pitched for the win for Dixie, going six innings and allowing just two earned runs (the other two were unearned). Tyson Miller closed it out in the seventh.

Dixie rapped out a dozen hits in the game, including three by Payden Harrah and two each by Tyson Fisher and Wyatt Woodland.

The game was close until the sixth inning, when Boston Miller and Harrison Beazer each came up with big RBI hits to help break it open.

The Pilots went 3-0 in pool play to win the “Liberty” pod, beating Golden (Colo.) 11-1 at Hurst Field on Thursday to go with Friday’s two wins. Dixie scored 31 runs in three games during the Summer Classic.

North Cache, Dixie’s semifinal opponent, went 3-0 in the “Service” pod, beating Boise 2-0 Friday night.

ST. GEORGE SUMMER CLASSIC
Final Pool Play Standings

LIBERTY POD
Dixie  3-0
Grandview  2-1
Golden  1-2
Eagle AA  0-3

SERVICE POD
North Cache  3-0
Snow Canyon  1-2
Boise  1-2
SBA  1-2

FREEDOM POD
St. George  3-0
Cincinnati  2-1
Helper  1-2
Jackson  0-3

VETERANS POD
Faith Lutheran  3-0
Lone Peak  2-1
Cedar  1-2
Eagle A  0-3

ST. GEORGE SUMMER CLASSIC SCORES AND SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY
6:00 – SBA (13) vs Snow Canyon (12)
8:30 – Jackson (0) vs. St George (10)

THURSDAY
9:30 – Cedar (3) vs Lone Peak (8)
9:30 – SBA (4) vs North Cache (6)
6:00 – Eagle AA (20) vs Grandview (21)
6:00 – Jackson (2) vs Cincinnati (10)
6:00 – Cedar (6) Eagle A (3)
6:00 – Helper (2) vs St George (24)
8:30 – Dixie (11) vs Golden (1)
8:30 – Snow Canyon (8) vs North Cache (9)
8:30 – Boise (6) vs SBA (4)
8:30 – Faith Lutheran (10) vs Lone Peak (5)

FRIDAY
9:30 – Cincinnati (10) vs Helper (1)
9:30 – Eagle AA (3) vs Golden (14)
9:30 – Grandview (8) vs Dixie (9)
9:30 – Eagle A (9) vs Lone Peak (10)
6:00 – North Cache (2) vs Boise (0)
6:00 – Helper (9) vs Jackson (8)
6:00 – Grandview (6) vs Golden (0)
6:00 – Faith Lutheran (7) vs Cedar (5)
8:30 – Faith Lutheran (6) vs Eagle A (2)
8:30 – Snow Canyon (5) vs Boise (2)
8:30 – Eagle AA (4) vs Dixie (11)
8:30 – Cincinnati (5) vs St George (8)

SATURDAY
8:30 am – Eagle AA vs Jackson at Pine View
9:30 am – Eagle A vs Helper at Dixie
9:30 am – Snow Canyon vs Golden @ Snow Canyon
9:30 am – Boise vs Grandview @ Dixie State
10:30 am – Cedar vs SBA @ Pine View
6:00 pm – Cincinnati vs Lone Peak @ Snow Canyon
SEMIFINAL – 6:00 pm – Dixie vs North Cache @ Dixie
SEMIFINAL – 6:00 pm – St George vs Faith Lutheran @ Pine View
CHAMPIONSHIP – 8:30 pm – Winner of Dixie/North Cache vs Winner of STG/Faith Lutheran

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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