Walker Hengst of St

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 26, 2002

. Aloysius is tagged out at third by Greenville-St. Joe’s Brent Casavechia in the fourth inning of Thursday night’s second-round playoff game at Bazinsky Field. directing Hengst is St. Al coach Joe Graves, left, who argued the call.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[04/26/02]St. Aloysius coach Joe Graves ranted and raved at running mistakes, almost fell out after several errors and had a 20-minute emotion-filled team meeting Thursday night.

And his team won.

Aaron George struck out 12, allowed four hits and gave up one unearned run as the Flashes (20-3) survived for a 2-1 win over Greenville-St. Joe in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs at Bazinsky Field.

The second game of the best-of-three series will be Saturday at 6 p.m.

“I told our guys that they can’t just turn the switch on when they get out of their cars,” said Graves, who watched two runners get thrown out at third and several more near outs on running blunders. “It has to be on all the time. They have to be focused at all times.

“We’ve put too much work into this year. We have an opportunity to win a state championship, but we have to stay focused on the job at hand.

“That’s what separates a state champion from a team that wants to be.”

The Flashes had seven hits, but scored single runs in the first and second innings thanks to four Irish errors.

Walker Hengst and Dan Muirhead each had two hits for St. Al, while Chad Cox and Blake Warnock each had an RBI single.

“We had our chances,” St. Joe coach Butch Inmon said. “St. Al made some great defensive plays and early on, we didn’t.”

The Irish (15-8) also had a hard time figuring out the Flashes’ ace. George fanned two Irish batters in four separate innings and struck out the side in the third.

The lone St. Joe run came after William Griffin and Max Freeman hit back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth.

Griffith scored on a botched double-play attempt that resulted in no outs.

“We rode Aaron George to victory tonight,” Graves said. “He’s a slow starter, so if you want to get to him, it better be early. If you don’t get him early, he’s poison on the mound late.”

After St. Joe scored its run, George retired the last five batters three on strikeouts to give the Flashes a 1-0 series lead.

“He threw a great game,” Inmon said.

“He threw strikes and had that overhand curve working. He did an excellent job.”

Lefty Jason Brown will get the nod on Saturday as the Flashes look to earn a spot in the South State championship series.

Graves said he will get back to basics at practice today basic running.

“I expect perfection,” said Graves, who added that he may practice before the team leaves for Greenville for Saturday evening’s contest. “I want our guys to do things to the best of their abilities and I want to win. There is no second best.

“We have to perform in tight situations and get the job done.”