American Legion: Sentinels grab win in West Regional opening game

File photo of Nick Horsley, St. George Sentinels vs. Sevier, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, July 12, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

DENVER – There was no game-winning RBI Wednesday afternoon for the St. George Sentinels in their first round game against New Mexico at the American Legion West Regionals. But then, sometimes a game-winning RBI isn’t necessary.

Weston Sampson slid home with the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and the Sentinels pitching staff made it stand up in a 6-5 (nine inning) victory for St. George in the opening round of the Regional. The Sentinels will continue tournament play with a matchup against a yet to be determined opponent Thursday at 7 p.m. The Sentinels will play the winner of Tucson, Ariz., and Eaglecrest, Colo., a game being played later this evening.

“That was huge to get that first game,” Sentinels coach Shane Johanson said. “Everyone comes in a little anxious and a little antsy. Getting that first one is important.”

It was a see-saw affair early on. New Mexico jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first on an RBI groundout by Ricky Apodaca, which scored Avry Ybarra unearned.

St. George grabbed the lead with two runs in the top of the second. The Sentinels opened the inning with four straight hits, all singles, by Nick Horsley, Alec Flemetakis, Weston Sampson and Ryke Erickson. Erickson picked up the first RBI in the rally. The second run came home when Mike Lacy laid down a perfect one-out squeeze bunt to put SG ahead 2-1.

Weston Sampson (19) awaits the throw from Alec Flemetakis for the last out of the game, St. George Sentinels vs. New Mexico, American Legion baseball, Denver, Colo., Aug. 2, 2017 | Photo by Matt Staheli, for St. George News

New Mexico responded with two of its own in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Estevan De La O led off with a double, then scored two batters later on a single by David Hernandez. He eventually came around to score the go-ahead run on a single by Daniel Salas, making it 3-2.

St. George tied the score in the top of the third with Flemetakis ripping a two-out double to left and Sampson bringing him home with an RBI single.

But the Sentinels, left runners on second and third in the inning, and also left two men on in the fourth, coming away empty-handed in that inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Sentinels loaded the bases with two outs, but again came away with no runs, leaving three more men on base.

The go-ahead run finally came home in the top of the seventh. Sampson singled and went to second on a fielder’s choice groundout by Erickson. Swenson struck out, but the third strike was dropped and Sampson was able to head to third when the catcher threw to first for the second out.

That was key as New Mexico relief pitcher Isaac Samora uncorked a wild pitch on his first delivery to Lacy, allowing Sampson to race home with what ended up being the game-winning run.

St. George added two insurance runs in the top of the eighth. Jagun Leavitt tripled and scored on a wild pitch and Horsley came home on a throwing error by New Mexico.

Those two runs turned out to be key as Joshue Ruiz hit a two-run homer for New Mexico in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 6-5.

“It feels really good to get back out on the field and get that first win,” Erickson said. “We’re playing really well right now and we just want to keep it going.”

Swenson, who pitched four innings of relief, retired the final four batters of the game to record the win.

Flemetakis and Sampson had three base hits in the game, with Erickson and Horsley adding two each as the Sentinels, 27-11, rapped out a dozen hits on offense.

St. George will likely pitch Blake Milne in the Thursday night game. Milne was the winning pitcher in the Utah South Region title game and also one of two wins last Saturday over Pleasant Grove en route to the state championship.


Game Date/Pairings Time Links
Wednesday, August 2
Game 1 League City, TX vs. Chico, CA. – CA wins 15-3 10:00 a.m.  Live Stats
Game 2 Albuquerque, NM vs. St. George, UT – UT wins 4-3 1:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 3 Henderson, NV vs. Grand Junction, CO – NV wins 4:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 4 Tucson, AZ vs. Eaglecrest, CO – tbd 7:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Thursday, August 3
Game 5 Texas vs. Loser Game 3 10:00 a.m.  Live Stats
Game 6 Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 4 1:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 7 California vs. Winner Game 3 4:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 8 Utah vs. Winner Game 4 7:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Friday, August 4
Game 9 Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7 12:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 10 Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8 3:30 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 11 Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 7:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Saturday, August 5
Game 12 Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11* 3:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 13 Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11* 7:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Sunday, August 6
Game 14 Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 13* 12:00 p.m.  Live Stats
Game 15 Two remaining one-loss teams (if necessary) 3:30 p.m.  Live Stats

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