COOPERTOWN – The Lebanon Nationals remained undefeated and propelled them to a district championship rematch with the Lebanon Americans after a 7-0 win against Greenbrier in a district tournament semifinal Sunday evening.
The Nationals and Americans, which beat Coopertown, 7-5, earlier Sunday in a semifinal game, played for the district title Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Baird Park in Lebanon. A Nationals win would give them the district title. A loss would force a Tuesday matchup at 7:30 p.m. between the two teams.
Regardless of the outcome, both the Nationals and Americans – the top two finishers at district – will move on to the Dixie Youth State Tournament that starts July 17 in Sweetwater.
Lebanon and Greenbrier remained scoreless through the first three innings before Greenbrier’s pitching ran out and a bases-loaded walk scored Alex Cook. Following a pitching change, another walk scored Tyson Kelly. Two batters later, Ryan Jackson hit a two-RBI double to left to score Birdwell and Bryce Miller to give the Nationals a 4-0 lead.
The Nationals added another run in the fifth on an RBI double by Miller that scored Garrett Pope.
Ryan Jackson hit a two-run homer in the sixth that scored Braxton Swann to end scoring for both teams.
Jackson finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and one run scored for the Nationals. Miller was 1-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and one run scored. Kolby Gaines also had an RBI.
J.D. Usrey started the game for the Nationals on the mound, allowing one hit and striking out one in three innings of work. Cade Thomas pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Miller pitched the final inning and struck out one batter.
Americans 7, Coopertown 5
The Americans held off a last-inning rally by Coopertown to win 7-5 in a district tournament semifinal matchup Sunday afternoon.
The win put the Americans in the district championship for a rematch against the Lebanon Nationals on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Baird Park in Lebanon. An Americans win would force a Tuesday matchup at 7:30 p.m. between the two teams. A loss would give the Nationals the district title.
Trailing 7-0 going into the sixth and final inning, Coopertown scored on a three-run homer and a two run single to put up five before the final out.
Lebanon jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first on a pair of home runs. The first was a solo shot by Jeremiah Hastings. Two at-bats later, Luke Bradshaw hit a two-run home that scored Braden Reece.
The Americans increased their lead to 6-0 in the fourth. Bradshaw hit a two-RBI double to right field that scored Gaven Reasonover and Hastings. Birdwell then hit a sacrifice on the next at bat to score Bradshaw.
Reece added the Americans’ last run of the game in the sixth on a Birdwell RBI single to left to give Lebanon a 7-0 lead before the Coopertown comeback.
Bradshaw started the game for the Americans on the mound, going 2 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. He allowed one hit and walked five.
Evan Brock pitched 2 1/3 innings and struck out five, giving up two hits and no walks. Mark McDearman pitched the final inning and picked up a strikeout.
Nationals 7, Americans 6
The question leading up to the eventual meeting of the two Lebanon 12-under Dixie Youth majors all-stars teams was which was the better team. On Saturday night, it was the Lebanon Nationals by one run in extra innings.
The Nationals (7-0) gave the Lebanon Americans (7-1) their first loss of the season, 7-6, in the two teams’ district tournament.
With the win, the Nationals next see action Sunday at 4 p.m. The Americans next play Sunday at 2 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament. The two teams’ opponents will be determined Sunday morning.
It was a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning that proved to be the difference as Jackson drew the walk and Miller crossed the plate for the Nationals.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth, the Americans’ Bradshaw hit a line drive double into left field that scored Hastings and advanced Reece to third. Reece scored on an error on the next play to tie the game, 3-3. The Americans took the lead, 4-3, on the following play when Carson Boles hit a sacrifice to score Bradshaw.
The Nationals evened things in the bottom of the sixth when Miller hit a line drive single to center field, scoring Birdwell from second.
The Americans broke the lead, 6-4, in the top of the eighth on a Bradshaw two-run homerun that also scored Reece.
The Nationals came back in the bottom of the eighth when Pope scored on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, Swann drew a walk that scored Kelly to tie the game, 6-6. Gaines hit a grounder to Americans shortstop Reasonover, who threw to the catcher, Reece, for the play at home for the innings first out. A bases-loaded walk drawn during the next at bat, however, gave the Nationals the win.
Jackson racked up four RBIs on two hits for the Nationals. Miller and Swann each had an RBI in the game.
Pope got the win in relief for the Nationals, pitching one inning and allowing no runs. Gaines started the game, going three innings and striking out two. Birdwell pitched four innings, striking out five.
For the Americans, Bradshaw went 3-for-4 at the plate with two homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. Boles also added an RBI.
Brady Chappell started the game on the mound for the Americans, pitching three innings with five strikeouts. McDearman pitched the next three innings with two strikeouts. Kameron Bond pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out one. Hastings was charged with the loss, pitching the final 1/3 inning.
Americans 10, Coopertown 0
On Saturday afternoon, the Americans run-ruled host-team Coopertown, 10-0, in four innings.
Lebanon took an early 2-0 lead in the first when Reece singled to left, scoring Reasonover from third. Birdwell then singled to center, scoring Reese, who stole third on the previous play.
Reece struck out the three batters he faced in the top of the third to bring the Americans back to the plate. Hastings then hit a three-run homer that scored Spencer Sorce and Seth Beck. Reece later scored on a passed ball to give the Americans a 6-0 lead.
Lebanon also added four runs in the fourth. The first came on an RBI single to left by Cory Jones that scored Bond. Reasonover then hit a hard grounder to center that scored Jones and advanced Evan Britt to third. Reasonover stole second on the next play. Hastings then reached on an error at first that scored Britt. Reece then hit a double to left that scored Reasonover from second to end the game.
Reece went the distance for the Americans on the mound. In four innings, Reece struck out eight, allowed one hit and gave up one walk.
The win advanced the Americans to an eventual 7-6 loss against the Nationals later Saturday.
Nationals 13, Springfield 1
On Saturday afternoon, the Nationals run-ruled Springfield, 13-1, in four innings.
Leading 3-1, Lebanon put the game out of reach in the third inning, adding six runs. Alex Cook and Kelly each scored on wild pitches before Birdwell scored on an error. Another pair of wild pitches scored Swann and Gaines, and another error scored Jackson to give the Nationals a 9-0 lead.
An error and a wild pitch during the first and Jayden Jobe’s stealing home in the second helped the Nationals take an early 3-0 lead.
Kelly racked up two RBIs on a homer in the fourth for the Nationals. Jobe and Gaines each had one RBI.
J.D. Usrey pitched the first two innings. Springfield managed just two hits off Usrey, who allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out five.
The win advanced the Nationals to an eventual 7-6 win over the Americans later Saturday.