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NORTH BEND — The South Coast Nationals claimed a decisive 17-1 victory in five innings over the South Coast Americans on Friday in the first round of the South Oregon State Babe Ruth Tournament's 13-year-old division.

The game was one-sided from the beginning. The Nationals launched out, claiming early runs in the first inning on the bats of Sean Hensey and John Calvert. When the Americans came to bat, they put up a strong fight but had three batters out while only one other got on base. The rest of the game went the same way, with the Nationals scoring multiple runs each inning and quickly ending the Americans' at-bat.

All was not lost for the Americans, however; in the third inning, the Americans' Riley Murphy made it to first on a walk, stole second and third during Kale Borras's at-bat before racing home, bringing the score to 14-1. The run gave the Americans a second wind and they pushed to recover; it was too great a gap to overcome, though, and at the end of the fifth inning the mercy rule was called to end the game.

Americans coach Michael Campbell said the game did not go as well as he would have liked. He noted the team made several errors and gave up runs in places they should know not to. He added the score would have been much closer had it been a cleaner game.

"We'll just come back and play them again tomorrow and hopefully have a different outcome," Campbell said. "Hopefully they go home, get some rest and think about what they need to do ... come ready to play."

Russ Johnston, coach for the Nationals, was pleased with his team's performance. He said Cole Hansen and Calvert had a strong game on the mound and are starting to get dialed into their pitching.

"There's a lot less walks happening and a little more pitch location taking place, and I'm really proud of them for that," Johnston said.

The Nationals' coach added the players need to work on their base running to remove mistakes they shouldn't be making anymore. Johnston is proud of both teams, though; he said both are great groups of kids and was glad the Americans played the Nationals.

The teams play again Saturday, at 4 p.m., in the tournament to determine who goes to the Regional tournament in Miles City, Montana. If the Americans win today's game, they play again Sunday for the best two-of-three games.

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Reporter Adam Robertson can be reached at 541-297-3590, or by email at adam.robertson@theworldlink.com.

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