Boys of summer: St. George Sentinels American Legion baseball team returns

St. George Sentinels American Legion baseball.

ST. GEORGE – With temperatures climbing back into the triple digits, most of us are thinking about swimming pools or air-conditioned work spaces. But the St. George Sentinels are thinking about baseball.

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“Summer is here, and that means that it’s time for legion baseball again,” said St. George Sentinels coach Shane Johanson. “The season starts next week and we are looking forward to another successful year, with hopefully a good run at the state championship again this year.”

The Sentinels finished second in 2014 and third last season in the Utah state American Legion tournament, which takes place the last week of July. The American Legion’s Western Regional tourney is the first week of August.

“These boys work extremely hard through the hot summer to improve their skills, compete hard, and represent well the southern Utah community,” Johanson said.

The roster for this year’s team features 11 players from the Pine View High School boundaries, including starters from this year’s 3A state champions in Cole Greene, Brooks Barney, Connor Clark, Jarod Stirling and Ryke Erickson. Also on the team are Pine View up-and-comers Cody Riddle, Dawson Staheli, Kory Taigen, Macai Maclellan and Weston Sampson. Kash Walker, who played on the 2015 state championship Pine View team, is also on the Sentinels.

File photo from St. George Sentinels vs. Salt Lake City Gulls, American Legion Baseball, St. George, Utah, June 12, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
File photo from St. George Sentinels vs. Salt Lake City Gulls, American Legion Baseball, St. George, Utah, June 12, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie High, which played deep into the 3A playoffs, will be represented by slugger Chance Vowell and Stockton Sorden. Hurricane has three players on the team: Noah Humphrey, Michael Lacy and Tobie Swenson. Anthony Cornwall of Moapa Valley also is on the team.

“American Legion allows that each team represents a school population of 5,000 students. So, teams are often a combined effort of local schools and teams to form the best 19u team to compete,” Johanson said.

Athletes often have to juggle sports camps, family vacations and summer employment, which means some players may miss games due to other obligations.

Johanson said he is proud to associate his players with the American Legion.

“Legion baseball ties the youth today with the military veterans of the past,” he said. “Our St George American Legion Post 90 is a strong supporter of these boys and our team. We honor those veterans who defended our country and who have created American Legion Baseball as an organization to teach boys about country, respect, tradition, and values.”

Connor Clark is back for the Sentinels, St. George Sentinels vs. Salt Lake City Gulls, American Legion Baseball, St. George, Utah, June 12, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Connor Clark is back for the Sentinels, St. George Sentinels vs. Salt Lake City Gulls, American Legion Baseball, St. George, Utah, June 12, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Sentinels, in their traditional blue, red and gray uniforms, wear American legion patches on their uniforms, as well as a special patch this year which reads “Honoring the 222” with the American flag, to pay homage to the local 222nd National Guard Unit, which for decades has been called to war to defend our country.

The Sentinels have already begun practicing and will host a youth camp and hit-a-thon this weekend at Pine View High. St. George begins its season Tuesday, June 7, with a home game against SBA Club, then hits the road for a pair of games next Thursday in Las Vegas. The Sentinels return home for a battle against the Salt Lake Gulls next Friday at 6 p.m. The full schedule is here: 2016legionsked

St George is a part of the newly formed Utah Southern American Legion League, which consists of legion teams from Helper, Price, Vernal, Roosevelt and St George.

3A All-Star game

The 3A All-Star game, featuring eight players from southern Utah high schools on the 3A South team, is tonight at 8 p.m at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

Brayson Hurdsman from Desert Hills, Chance Vowell and Trevor Connell from Dixie, Logan Lafemina from Pine View, Trey Esplin from Cedar and three Canyon View players (Payton Higgins, Jackson Vasi and Xavier Stoker) will help the 3A South team in a battle against the North.

The 3A South team is coached by Dixie coaches Danny Ipson and Kurt Ivie.

The remainder of the 3A South team will be filled by players from Carbon, Richfield, North Sanpete and Union.

The 3A North team has players from Bear River, Ben Lomond, Juan Diego, Morgan, Park City, Grantsville, Logan and Stansbury.

Three other southern Utah baseball players — Dixie’s Tyson Fisher, Cedar’s Drake Lewis and Canyon View’s Cadyn Clark — played in Thursday night’s Underclassmen All-Star game.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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