LOGAN — A ninth-inning collapse and a half-dozen errors spelled doom for the St. George Sentinels, who bowed out of the Utah State American Legion Tournament late Thursday night, falling 8-6 to Layton.
St. George beat Bear River 16-2 earlier in the evening and had momentum in the late game heading into the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead. But two walks, a misplayed fly ball, an error on a throw and a double to the gap produced four runs for the Lancers and put the Sentinels in too big a hole to overcome.
“We played well early in the day, but not so much in the late game,” SG coach Shane Johanson said. “We committed too many errors — six of them. They only had four hits against us.”
Jared Sterling and Kash Walker had huge days at the plate in the two games. Walker had five hits, four for extra bases in the win over the Bears. Sterling homered in the first game and had a pair of hits in the nightcap. Carter Milne pitched a complete-game victory against Bear River and youngster Cody Riddle, who missed most of the summer with an injury, pitched six strong innings in the late game.
Layton will now play Mountain Crest for the state championship. The Lancers will need to beat the Trappers twice to become champs. St. George will settle for a third-place plaque after taking second last season. Despite the disappointing ending, Johanson was happy with his team’s effort.
“We battled a lot of injuries and we had a lot of guys in and out all summer with other commitments, but I’m still very proud of these guys,” he said. “Kash Walker, Tybo Johnston, Logan LaFemina, those guys have been there for us all summer. I love American Legion. There’s a lot of tradition there and I was proud that we could represent St. George and go up to state and show them that we play pretty good baseball down south. It’s hard being on the road for a week while most of the other teams are sleeping in their own beds.”
St. George finishes the year with a 22-10 record, similar to last season’s 23-10 result. The Sentinels are made up of mostly current and former Pine View players, with four Dixie High graduates on the team as well as a couple of former players from Snow Canyon.
In the past, St. George has had two or three American Legion teams and battled other teams from around the area, including Cedar City, Mesquite and Price. Johanson said he’d love for the area to have its own division of American Legion teams.
“I’m glad we’re playing American Legion,” he said. “It’d be nice if there were other teams in St. George. But whatever else happens, we plan on continuing on what we’re doing next year.”
The American Legion season runs from early June through early August, with a national tournament pitting the winners of the regional tournaments.
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