Sentinels advance to state American Legion baseball semifinals with pair of weekend wins

File photo shows Wes Sampson of St. George Sentinels American Legion baseball team reacting at second base after driving in a pair of runs with a double, St. George, Utah, June 23, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The St. George Sentinels American Legion baseball team won its first two games of the state championship playoffs in Kearns, beating North Cache on Friday and Syracuse on Saturday to advance to Monday night’s semifinal against Pleasant Grove.

St. George head coach Shane Johanson said the team’s defense carried the Sentinels in both wins.

“Our pitching has been solid and we are very focused on playing good defense. Those two elements have won our first two games,” he told St. George News Monday, adding, “I’m hopeful that we can put together a few more hits tonight to help the cause as we need to do a better job of not leaving so many runners on base.”

“But it’s championship tournament baseball and so you have to claw for wins however you can get them,” Johanson added. “That’s our mentality going into tonight.”

St. George 6, North Cache 3

Friday evening, the Sentinels jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and withstood a last-inning rally by the North Cache Titans to win 6-3.

Cannon Secrist started at pitcher for the Sentinels and lasted until there were two outs in the seventh, at which point reliever Jaiger Crosby came in and struck out the last batter of the game to seal the win. Secrist allowed five hits in six-plus innings while striking out eight batters and walking four.

St. George, meanwhile, had six hits, three of which were by Tanner Staheli, who drove in two runs.

St George 7, Syracuse 2

The Sentinels broke open a tight game with a four-run rally in the top of the fifth inning in Saturday’s 7-2 win over Syracuse. St. George had scored one run in the first inning and one more in the fourth to post a 2-0 lead at that point.

In the top of the fifth, the Sentinels scored four runs to take a 6-0 lead.

Winning pitcher Cody Riddle threw the first five innings for St. George, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out seven and walking three. Alec Flemetakis pitched two strong innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out three. Wes Sampson accounted for three RBIs – one each on a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly – to pace the Sentinels.

The winner of the St. George vs. Pleasant Grove contest, scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday at Salt Lake Community College in West Jordan, will advance to Wednesday evening’s state finals, while the loser will drop into the one-loss bracket and have to win additional games Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s finals. Click here for full bracket.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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