Sentinels stay alive at state tourney with gritty win over Syracuse

St. George Sentinels American Legion baseball.

LAYTON — Jarod Stirling’s Texas-leaguer hit brought home a pair of runs in the seventh inning as the St. George Sentinels staved off elimination 5-4 over Syracuse in the American Legion state tournament Wednesday afternoon.

sentinelsWith two on and two outs in the top of the seventh of a 3-3 game, Stirling blooped a ball to shallow right field. A hard-charging right fielder and two retreating infielders couldn’t track down the dying quail and the Sentinels were able to bring home the go-ahead runs.

“It was just kind of in no-man’s land,” St. George coach Shane Johanson said. “There was nothing they could do but watch it drop and we scored two runs on the play.”

Alec Flemetakis came in to try and pick up the save in the bottom of the seventh, but things got a bit dicey. After an initial out, Flemetakis walked the next three batters to load the bases — the tying run on second base. A groundout put the score at 5-4, but also put the second out on the board. Flemetakis then struck out the final Syracuse batter to secure the victory.

Jarod Stirling (13), St. George Sentinels vs. Idaho Falls, Baseball,  June 24, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Jarod Stirling (13), St. George Sentinels vs. Idaho Falls, Baseball, June 24, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“It was a tight one from the start,” Johanson said. “We didn’t hit the ball well early, but the pitching of Koby Frei and Tobie Swenson kept it competitive.”

Johanson also praised Michael Lacy, who ripped an RBI triple off the wall early in the game.

The Sentinels are once again having to battle their way through the one-loss bracket. After a 9-8 win Monday over host team Layton (on a Kash Walker walk-off suicide squeeze play), St. George dropped a 9-7 decision to Grantsville Tuesday afternoon. The Sentinels led 7-5 in the seventh of that game, but gave up a grand slam to the Grantsville team.

St. George will have to win two games Thursday to make it to championship Friday once again. The first game, an elimination contest, will pit the Sentinels against the winner of Wednesday’s late game between Layton and Ridgeline. The contest begins at 2 p.m. and the winner will play the loser of the Grantsville-Cache County no-loss bracket game at 5 p.m. Thursday.

“Just once, it would be nice to do things the easy way, through the winners bracket,” Johanson said. “But we’re used to this and we’re set up pretty well for pitching. Hopefully we can get back to the championship game.”

The American Legion championship game is Friday at 3 p.m. and the “if necessary” game would follow immediately afterward.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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