HELPER – The St. George Sentinels advanced in the winners’ bracket of the American Region Double Elimination Southern Regional with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Vernal Friday night at Ernie Gardner Field in Helper.
A rain delay pushed the start of the game to 7 p.m. The finish came down to pitching and defense as both teams struggled to hit the ball. Alec Flemetakis was on the mound for the Sentinels and pitched the entire game. In seven innings of work he struck out 10 batters, allowed only one walk and scattered five hits.
“We really needed him to step up tonight,” Sentinel head coach Shane Johanson said. “Our offense stalled tonight and his pitching kept us in it.”
After a scoreless first inning St. George got on the board in the second inning. Nick Horseley got aboard with a base hit. He was batted in on a two-out single by Jaiger Crosby up the middle.
Vernal was able to tie the score in the fourth. After two singles and an overthrow at first put runners in scoring position, they then scored on a fielder’s choice.
St. George was able to get the winning run in the next inning. Jagun Leavitt got aboard on a throwing error and advanced to second. The next batter, Trey Allred, laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Leavitt. The pitcher’s throw to first was high however and Leavitt scored on the play with Allred going to second base. Later in the inning Payton Higgins singled to center field to score Allred for the insurance run.
Flemetakis would need no more run support as he pitched through the final two innings without incident. Due to the rain delay, the second semifinal will not be played until Saturday morning. St. George will play the winner of the No. 1 seed Pleasant Grove and the host team, No. 3 seed Helper.
With the win St. George qualifies for the state tournament where the top four teams from the North and South regions will advance. St. George is scheduled to play at 3 p.m. Saturday.
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