Even with his club trailing 6-0 earlier in the contest, St. George American Legion coach Barry Sceili never counted his team out.
"I expected us to win," Sceili said after seeing his team erase the deficit to post a 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Tooele with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning."We got four kids that stood up with singles (in the last inning). It was a great effort," he said.
With Thursday's victory, St. George earned a bye into Saturday's action, and will swing bats with Taylorsville Saturday, while Tooele is eliminated with both loses coming at the hands of St. George.
Alta, which posted a 15-2 victory over Hillcrest Thursday, battles Taylorsville today at 7:30 p.m. at Oquirrh Park. A Taylorsville win would earn it a berth into the finals with an unblemished record that would force St. George to win twice to earn the title. The if necessary game is scheduled for Sunday.
Should Alta win it would get a bye into the finals and would face the winner of the Taylorsville-St. George tilt in one decisive contest Sunday.
Early in Thursday's contest with Tooele it appeared that St. George would only dream of a shot at the state title, but now it is a real possibility.
After Scott White's solo homer in the seventh gave Tooele a slim 9-8 lead, St. George got an RBI single by Barry Sorenson to tie the game at 9-9. Four batters later former Brighton standout Matt Mosher drew a bases loaded walk to give the southern champs a 10-9 lead which held up.
Early in the contest it looked like it would be a Tooele rout.
The Valley Division co-champions jumped on St. George starter Eric Franke for six runs in the first two frames thanks to a two-run double by Pratt in the first inning and a two-run double by Jeff Cluff and a two-run triple by Pratt in the second.
St. George's Nate Andrus closed the gap with a opposite-field grand slam homer in the top of the third to trim the lead to 6-4.
The two clubs traded runs in the middle innings before St. George tied the game at 8-8 when Mosher delivered a two-run double in the sixth.
In other tournament action, Clint Salsbury threw a complete-game nine hitter and led a 15-hit Alta attack with two hits including a triple and four RBI to lead his club to the 15-2 thrashing over Hillcrest.
After Hillcrest scored a pair of runs in the first inning, it fell apart defensively as it committed eight errors in the contest.