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Quarles slugs 2-run homer; NL edges Americans 4-3

GALLMAN -The Dixie Youth Baseball Major League North SubdistrictSix Tournament showdown between the Brookhaven American andNational League All-Stars lived up to all expectations Mondaynight. A fifth-inning, 2-run homer by T.J. Quarles broke up apitching duel and lifted the Brookhaven Nationals to a thrilling4-3 comeback victory over the Americans at Mangum Field.

The victory granted the Nationals the only unbeaten record inthe double-elimination tournament. They’ll face the once-beatenLincoln County All-Stars tonight at 8 while the BrookhavenAmericans battle for survival against Hazlehurst in a 6 p.m.elimination game.

Lincoln County eliminated Crystal Springs 11-10 last night.

Quarles, a strong centerfielder, launched the first pitch fromAmerican ace Shane Lynch over the left-center field fence, scoringKeith Franklin ahead of him and giving the Nationals a 4-3advantage.

Franklin’s single had scored Brandt Hinton with the tying run.Hinton had coaxed a walk off Lynch.

“This was a huge win,” said Brookhaven National League headcoach Buddy Thibodeaux. “Brandt Hinton did a great job pitchingtonight.”

Hinton’s 3-hit mound performance included 6 strikeouts and 3walks. Lynch, also a right-hander, matched the 3-hitter. He struckout 11 batters, walked 3 and hit 1 batter.

“Shane Lynch is tough,” said Thibodeaux, a former collegepitcher. “He throws as hard as anybody we’ve seen.”

The Americans had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth.Lynch drew a walk from Hinton. Chance Peets delivered a single.Brett Hart’s grounder to first base resulted in a play at theplate. The high throw allowed 2 runs to score.

The Nationals began their comeback in the bottom of the fifth.Hinton drew a walk and scored on Franklin’s single to left field,aided by a fielding error, making it 3-2.

Quarles said it was a fastball which he sent over the outfieldfence. The homer put the Nationals on top for good.

“T.J. can hit homers like that,” said Thibodeaux. “All he has todo is keep his head down.”

American League head coach Scott Warren said he was disappointedwith his team’s offensive performance. “We didn’t hit the baseball.If we don’t hit the ball better tomorrow night, we’refinished.”

Warren said Quarles was a typical home run slugger. “He strikesout a lot but when he connects…it’s gone.”

Warren’s team has taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.Patrick Holcomb reached on an error and scored on Lynch’sgrounder.

In the second inning, the Nationals gained a 1-1 deadlock. JoshCoone hit a double over the outfielder’s head to score GrantNations who had drawn a walk. Coone was hit hard on the helmet by aLynch pitch in the fifth but appeared to be okay.

The Americans threatened to tie the score in their final turn atbat. Trevor Portrey drew a 2-out walk but leadoff batter ColeNewell popped up to Matt Floyd to end the game.