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Americans happy at home
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Photo provided The Americans earned a trophy at the TYBA tournament held in McMinnville last weekend. Members of the team are, front row, from left, Jacob Graves and Eastlan Green. Second row, Adam Oleksik, Carter Holt, Braylon Burch, Jaxton Smith and Brant Damon. Third row, Aiden Carter, Malachi Wilcher and Grayson Todd. Back row, coaches Eric Burch, Caleb Graves and Aubrey Green. Not pictured are Isaac Smith and coach Ryan Smith.

After years of making trips around the Midstate to play ball, the Americans finally had a home-field advantage last weekend.

The local travel baseball team took the field at McMinnville Civic Center and battled to a second-place finish in a TYBA tournament.

The Americans went 3-2 over the weekend, including earning a spot in the championship with a thrilling 11-10 victory over the DeKalb County Tigers. The Americans ultimately fell in the finals 19-7 to the Home Run Homies.

“The DeKalb County game was, by far, the most exciting win I have experienced,” said coach Caleb Graves. “We faced them two weeks prior and they beat us pretty good. To pull off a win against them at our home field was proof at how much our team has developed.”

The Americans trailed 8-1 going into the fifth, but started to rally after Malachi Wilcher ripped a two-run double. Adam Oleksik, Carter Holt and Braylon Burch all added RBI singles as the Americans narrowed the gap to 8-6.

Holt and Burch teamed to turn a double play in the fifth, helping put the clamps on the Tiger offense. A scoreless frame opened the door for the comeback.

Eastlan Green, Jacob Graves and Jaxton Smith opened the inning with three straight singles, loading the bases for Oleksik. Oleksik started another three-hit span, ripping an RBI double. Holt and Wilcher came up with RBI doubles of their own, pushing the Americans in front 11-8.

DeKalb County was able to take advantage of a few miscues to push two runs across, but Green nestled under a high pop up to record the final out and complete the thrilling comeback.

“The entire crowd and team erupted in cheer and celebration after the final out. It was a memorable moment,” said Graves.

The title game got away from the Americans quickly, with the Home Run Homies scoring seven runs in the first and ending the game with eight runs in the fourth.

The local squad started play Saturday with a 12-5 win over the Monteagle Knights. Shortstop Isaac Smith anchored the defense, catching four fly balls. He also had a RBI ground-rule double. Brant Damon helped spark a nine-run third inning with a hard single down the line, while Wilcher and Graves each had two-run triples.

The Americans fell in their second game 11-6 to the Coffee County Raiders despite getting a good defensive game from catcher Lawson Denning. 

When play resumed Sunday, Warren County took down Northpoint 16-5. Oleksik and Holt highlighted the offensive explosion with inside-the-park home runs, while Aiden Carter and Grayson Todd finished with two hits apiece.