Sentinels win Southern Regional to grab No. 1 seed for state tournament

In this July 12, 2017, file photo, Ryke Erickson at bat for the St. George Sentinels in a game against Sevier, American Legion Baseball, St. George, UT, July 12, 2017 | File photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The St. George Sentinels defeated Pleasant Grove in the final game of the winners’ bracket of the Utah American Legion Southern Regional 5-0. Pleasant Grove came in as the No. 1 seed, having swept St. George in their two season games.

St. George continued to get great pitching with its second shutout of the tournament. The Sentinels have only allowed one run in its three games. Blake Milne pitched the complete game and allowed five hits, striking out seven without giving up any free bases on balls.

The game was a scoreless tie till the top of the third inning. Logan LaFemina got on base with a hit through the left side. Jagun Leavitt then hit a two-run home run to right-center field to put the Sentinels on the board.

“This ballpark has a really deep fence,” Sentinel head coach Shane Johanson said. “Over 400 feet. He really got a hold of that pitch.”

In the fourth, Payton Higgins began the inning with a triple. He then scored on a wild pitch to put the Sentinels up 3-0.

In the sixth St. George added two more. Trey Allred drew a walk. Right behind him Payton Higgins was hit by pitch. The two runners advanced on a double steal to get into scoring position. Alec Flemetakis then hit a flare to center field to score the two runs.

“We had great defense today,” said Johanson. “At third base LaFemina had some balls hit hard to him that probably should have gotten through. He was able to either field them or knock them down to prevent the extra base.”

“Ryke Erickson also played well at catcher,” said Johanson. “He called Milne’s pitches and deserves some credit for the good pitching as well.”

The Sentinels will now advance to the state tournament. The Northern Region tournament will not be complete until Wednesday. St. George will enter as the No. 1 seed from the South. The likely opponent will be North Cache.

“We actually played them earlier this year (June 24),” Johanson said. “They beat us 6-3. They have a good ball team.”

In all eight teams will compete in the state tournament. The winner will advance to the U.S. West Regional Tournament in Denver.

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