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Coone’s grand slam lifts Nationals over AL 9-6

GALLMAN -Josh Coone provided the heroics Wednesday night and theBrookhaven National League came from behind to beat the BrookhavenAmerican League 9-6 in the finals of the Dixie Youth Baseball MajorLeague North Subdistrict Six Tournament. Coone slugged a grand slamhome run in the top of the sixth inning and lifted the Nationals tovictory as they overcame a 6-0 deficit on Mangum Field.

On a hot and humid evening, Coone collected his first-ever,fence-clearing homer. With the bases loaded and his team trailing6-5, Coone connected on a 1-1 fastball from American pitcher ShaneLynch. The homer cleared the left-center field fence by a largemargin.

The victory sends the Nationals to the District Six Tournamentat Pine Hills in Gloster. The double-elimination tourney startsFriday and Brookhaven meets Summit at 6. Pine Hills plays NatchezWallace at 8. Action continues Saturday night at 6 and 8. Thedistrict champion advances to the state tournament at Laurel,starting July 29.

National League head coach Buddy Thibodeaux met with his teamafter the game. Seated on a plastic bucket, he was moved withemotion. He complimented the players and praised them for theircourage.

“Things really looked bleak when we were down 6-0,” saidThibodeaux. “We were sluggish but we fought back and battled.”

Thibodeaux was anticipating his team’s first tournament loss asthe Americans erupted for a 5-0, first-inning lead which wasincreased to 6-0 in the third. The Nationals committed four errorsin the first three innings.

Lynch held the Nationals hitless through 3 innings. He gave up 3runs on 2 hits and 2 errors in the fifth. A single by catcher MattFloyd was the first hit off Lynch. In the fifth, a leadoff singleby Brandt Hinton was the second hit off Lynch. A 2-out single byBrandon Smith kept the rally going.

Kyle James started on the mound for the Nationals. James wascharged with 5 runs and was replaced on the mound by Dusty Smithwith 1 out and the bases loaded.

Smith hurled 5.2 innings and collected the win. He gave up 5hits, 1 run, struck out 4 and walked 3.

Lynch, absorbing his second loss to the Nationals in three days,had lost a 4-3 Monday night decision. Last night he gave up 7 hits,struck out 8 and walked 8.

“Dusty Smith came in and threw his heart out,” said Thibodeaux.”He kept us in the game.”

The Americans scored 5 runs on 2 hits and 2 National errors inthe bottom of the first inning. Second baseman Cole Newell andfirst baseman Tyler Cunningham had fist-inning singles to spark theoffensive.

In the third, Mason Warren scored the Americans’ sixth run. Hedrew a base on balls and scored on a sacrifice fly by ChancePeets.

“It was a typical Brookhaven-Brookhaven game,” said AmericanLeague coach Mike Elliott. “One team is crying and the other teamis happy. Coach Thibodeaux has a great team. They hit theball.”

Coone, who was hit three times by baseballs in the tournament,was accidentally beaned Monday night by Lynch. He had struck outand popped out in his first two times at bat last night.

The Nationals scored 3 runs on 2 errors in the fifth.

In the sixth, third baseman Casey Britt got the Nationalsrolling with a 1-out single to right field. Lynch walked 4 of thenext 5 batters he faced and the Nationals trailed 6-5. Coone’s2-out grand slam ignited a loud celebration.

Smith worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth andheld the Americans hitless the final 2 frames as his teammates madeclutch defensive plays.

@Linescore:NATIONALS 9, AMERICANS 6

Nationals 000 036 – 9 7 4

Americans 501 000 – 6 6 3

@Bbstandings: Kyle James, Dusty Smith (1) and Matt Floyd. ShaneLynch and Chance Peets. WP: Smith.LP: Peets. HR: Josh Coone (N).Multiple hits: Cole Newell (A) 2, Tyler Cunningham(A) 2, Floyd (N) 2.