The Americans committed just one error, only their third of the tournament, and their offense came through in the clutch as the locals claimed an 8-3 victory over Lydia in the championship game.
The victory sends the Americans to the Super Regional Tournament in Erath this weekend where they will take on CSA on Friday at 6 p.m.
“The kids played great,” said Americans’ coach Chuck Ashby following the contest. “We were very sound. All weekend we made just three errors. Our defense keeps us in games and it played a huge part in us winning this tournament.”
Andrew Ashby, the coach’s son, had two big defensive plays when he threw out a Lydia player on a steal attempt in the third inning and then nailed another runner at second base in the fourth.
Gavin LeBlanc also had a highlight reel play in the fifth inning to thwart a potential rally.
Trailing 7-3 with two runners on and two outs in the fifth inning, Lydia threatened with a single to center field. LeBlanc fielded the ball and fired a strike to Ashby at the plate to get the lead runner and end the inning.
“Just when they started to rally, Gavin came up with a big play,” said Ashby. “He just made a perfect throw and that was clutch to get us out of that inning.”
The Americans were also up to the challenge at the plate. The locals came through with seven hits on the night and jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings.
Zack Lamm had a single in the second inning and got Crowley on the board when he scored on a single by Bryce Bergeron.
The Americans added two runs in the third inning. Ashby singled and eventually scored on a balk before Stephen Cormier singled and scored on a wild pitch.
The fourth inning was the backbreaker for Lydia.
The Americans posted four more runs, two on a double from Cormier, to take a 7-1 advantage.
Lydia cut the lead to four (7-3) in the top of the fifth before the Americans scored the final run in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single from Bergeron.
Jack Faulk, pitching in relief of Deontai Primeaux, struck out two batters in the bottom of the sixth and ended the game on a fly out to left field.
Primeaux was credited with the victory after giving up one run on two hits and three walks. He struck out five in 3 1/3 innings.
Faulk worked the final 2 1/3 innings and surrendered two runs on three hits and two walks. He stuck out five.
“Deontai and Jack both pitched really well tonight,” said Ashby. “Neither of them had pitched all weekend so they were fresh and they each did really well.”
The Americans were led at the plate by Cormier and Bergeron with two hits each. Cormier also had a double and drove in three runs while Bergeron had two RBI.
Zack Lamm had one hit and one RBI while Ashby and Gabe Link also had one hit apiece.