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by Frank Tate
(July 9) The Harrison County Nationals had too much Tuesday night -- too much hitting, too much pitching, and too much defense.
As a result, the Nationals beat the Harrison County Americans 11-0 in a Babe Ruth All-Star game shortened to five innings because of the 10-run rule.
With the win, the Nationals earned the right to host the 15-year old state tournament that starts July 21 at Frank Loria Memorial Field.
Nationals coach Joe Romano saw the victory as redemption from last year's defeat in the 14 year-old tournament.
"They (Americans) beat us last year and we didn't forget it," Romano said. "There was a lot of motivation for us in this game."
The Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate in the first, scoring six runs. Joe Moore and pitcher Paul Graeber had RBI doubles.
Jeremy Hinzman drove in a run on a fielder's choice while an error and two wild pitches led to the other three runs.
Graeber then took over, striking out five and allowing just Jarrod Novotny's fourth-inning single.
Graeber credited his defense.
"The guys really made some great plays out there," Graeber said.
"I felt pretty comfortable on the mound and the offense provided me with enough runs."
Graeber also added another RBI double.
Americans coach Guss Kelley called his team's first-inning woes the difference.
"They jumped on us real quick and that deflated the team's morale a bit," Kelley said. "Mentally, we just weren't ready to play and that's my fault.
"Now we are just going to go down to Morgantown and take care of business."
The Americans now must play Wes-Mon in a best two-out-of-three series with the winner advancing to the state tournament.
Also, the District 2 13-year-old tournament will be played at 7 tonight with the Americans and Nationals playing each other at Frank Loria Field.
Cost is $3 for adults and $2 for children with the gates opening at 6 p.m.