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Nationals take district

Staff Reports • Dec 15, 2015 at 2:55 PM

The Lebanon Nationals and Lebanon Americans 12-under Dixie Youth all-stars squared off against one another Monday night in a rematch for the district championship, and again it was the Nationals on top by one run, 5-4. 

The Nationals defeated the Americans, 7-6, in the first meeting of the two teams at district. 

Both teams, however, move on to the Dixie Youth State Tournament that starts July 17 in Sweetwater. 

The district final, originally to be played at the tournament site in Coopertown, was moved Sunday to Lebanon’s Baird Park since the remaining two teams were from Lebanon. 

The Nationals jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Braxton Swann hit a two-RBI single to center that scored Chase Birdwell and Bryce Miller. Ryan Jackson added a run on a groundout to first that scored Kolby Gaines. 

The Americans came right back in the bottom of the first when Luke Bradshaw hit a two-run homer that also scored Braden Reece to cut the Nationals lead to 3-2. 

The Nationals extended their lead to 4-2 in the third when Miller hit a sacrifice that scored Alex C. 

The two teams then battled until the fifth when the Nationals added another run on a Gaines single that scored Garrett Pope. 

But the Americans answered in the bottom of the fifth when Jeremiah Hastings hit a line drive to the pitcher that scored Kameron Bond, and Seth Beck scored on a wild throw to home. The runs narrowed the Nationals lead for the second time to 5-4. 

With runners at the corners in the bottom of the sixth, the final two outs were recorded for the Americans on a fly out and a play at first. 

Swann finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Nationals. Birdwell went 2-for-3, and Miller, Gaines and Jackson each had one RBI. 

Gaines and Birdwell split time on the mound, each recording two strikeouts for the Nationals. 

For the Americans, Bradshaw led at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Hastings added another RBI on a 2-for-3 effort. 

Brady Chappell started the game on the mound for the Americans and picked up two strikeouts in two innings. Mark McDearman added three Ks in three innings of work. Reece had two strikeouts in the final inning. 

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