SWEETWATER – The Lebanon Nationals continued its quest to be on top of the loser’s bracket Sunday afternoon with a 15-2 win over Munford in a rain-delayed Dixie Youth O-Zone State Tournament game.
The Nationals will face the loser of Sunday night’s Harriman vs. Coopertown matchup Monday at 9 a.m. The winner of that game will play again Monday at 7 p.m.
The fourth inning ended with Lebanon (12-1) on top of Munford, 4-2, but an unanswered 11-run inning in the sixth proved to be the difference in the game.
Chase Birdwell got things started for the Nationals in the first with an RBI ground-out to second that scored Garrett Pope. Braxton Swann then hit a hard grounder to second on the next play and reached on an error that also scored Tyson Kelly to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.
In the second, the Nationals extended their lead to 3-0 when Jayden Jobe hit a line-drive single to center that scored Kolby Gaines.
The game went without a run until the fourth when Bryce Miller reached on a dropped third strike that also allowed Swann to cross the plate and give Lebanon a 4-0 lead.
Munford split the difference in the fourth on a steal of home and a fielder’s choice.
The Nationals then went on a tear in the sixth that started with Birdwell reaching on a fielder’s choice that also allowed Kelly to cross the plate. Swann then hit an RBI single to center that scored Birdwell.
A few plays later, John Ross Bryan scored on an error pickoff attempt at first. Cade Tuschl picked up two RBIs on a single to center that scored Miller and Ryan Jackson. Jobe then singled to the short stop that scored Alex Cook.
In Lebanon’s second rotation of batters in the fourth, Swann drew a bases-loaded walk that scored Pope. Miller then singled to right to score Kelly. The run onslaught ended after Gaines singled to center to score Birdwell, who started the scoring in the inning.
Jobe led at the plate for the Nationals, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Pope went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Swann went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Birdwell, Miller and Tuschl each had two RBIs. Gaines went 1-for-2 and added an RBI.
Birdwell pitched two innings, recording four strikeouts, one walk, one hit and no runs or earned runs. J.D. Usrey also pitched two innings and picked up three strikeouts, giving up one earned run, two hits, two runs and no walks. Gaines and Cook each pitched one inning with one hit, no runs, no earned runs and no walks. Gaines had one strikeout.
Nationals 5, Greenback 2
The Lebanon Nationals continued to move through the loser’s bracket after defeating Greenback, 5-2, in a rain-delayed Dixie Youth O-Zone State Tournament game late Sunday morning.
The Nationals (11-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a fielder’s choice grounder to the pitcher by Swann that scored Kelly. Jackson hit a ground-rule double to left field that scored Birdwell.
Greenback cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second on a homer.
Birdwell got things going for the Nationals on a ground-rule double that scored Tuschl. Following a walk, Swann hit a sacrifice fly that scored Cook. Birdwell crossed home on a wild pitch a batter later to extend the Nationals lead to 5-1.
Greenback kept Lebanon scoreless through the remainder while adding a run in the fifth.
Birdwell led at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a single, an RBI and scoring two runs. Swann had two RBIs. Jackson went 1-for-1 and added an RBI. Tuschl and Gaines each singled.
Pope had one strikeout, walked one and allowed one run and no earned runs in two innings of work on the mound for the Nationals. Miller pitched three innings, racking up four Ks without a walk. He gave up one earned run. Gaines pitched one inning with one strikeout, while allowing no walks or runs.