It was a battle of Trojans in the first round of the Coach Pitch District Tournament in Troy Friday night when Troy American took on Troy National.
At the end of the game, it was the National squad who was standing tall, as it defeated the Americans 14-3 thanks in large part to a stellar defensive effort.
After the Americans took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, the Nationals allowed no more runs and only three more base runners.
“We played some really awesome defense once we got settled down,” said National head coach Chad Copeland.
The game was tied at 3 in the bottom of the third before the Nationals struck for six runs to break the game open.
The big blows of the inning were a two-RBI single from John Baxley Sanders and a two-RBI double from Scott Taylor Renfroe.
The momentum carried over into the top of the fourth, as the Americans went three up, three down.
“We just didn’t hit the ball when we needed to,” said Americans head coach Brett Stallworth. “Our defense kind of let us down, and I think that affected us at the plate. It seemed like it put pressure on us offensively.”
The Nationals added three more in the fourth on a two-RBI triple from Avery Ernsberger and an RBI single from Sanders.
Troy National finished the game off via 10-run rule in the bottom of the fifth on RBIs from Davis Allen and Hunter Sherwood.
The Americans jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to RBI singles from Ryan Ledford and Walker Stallworth, as well as a run batted in by Adrian Cardwell.
The Nationals’ first four batters were retired before the offense finally got going.
“It took us a while to get going, but that’s kind of been our track record,” Copeland said. “It takes us about two innings to really get it together, but once we do, we like what we see. If we can keep it manageable during those two innings, we usually have a chance to win.”
The Nationals were led by Copeland, Jefcoat and Renfroe, who were all 3-3. Renfroe had two RBIs, while Ernsberger and Sanders were both 2-3 with three RBIs.
Ledford led the way for the Americans, going 2-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
With the loss, the Americans will face Greenville in an elimination game tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“I just told them that there doesn’t need to be any pouting over this game,” Stallworth said. “We’ve got another game Saturday.”
The Nationals, meanwhile will face Eufaula National, with the winner advancing to Tuesday’s final winner’s bracket game.
“We just need to keep playing defense,” Copeland said. “If we can hold people to three runs or something like that, we can win in this league. We just hope our gloves come back tomorrow night.”