Princeton continues mastery of JC Cardinals

Douglas Fritz • Jul 31, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Princeton has lined up 39 times for Appalachian League baseball games this season.The Rays defeated Burlington, Greeneville, Danville and Kingsport one game each. The rest of their wins have come against Johnson City.The Rays — 9-30 on the season — improved to 5-1 against the Cardinals with a 10-9 victory Wednesday night at Cardinal Park.Princeton manager Danny Sheaffer said he had no explanation for the odd statistic.“I can't answer that,” said Sheaffer. “We've played tough ballgames against them, but we've played tough ballgames against a lot of people this year. I don't think it has anything to do with Johnson City, and I don't think it has anything to do with us.”For the Cardinals, it was a second straight frustrating loss. They fell behind 7-0 before losing 8-7 on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, it was 9-2 before the Cardinals rallied to within a run and had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning.Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel said falling behind early is getting a bit old.“It's happening too much,” said Kruzel. “It will happen every once in a while, but it's starting to happen every doggone night.“Sooner or later these guys need to look in the mirror. If stuff's not working, they need to make adjustments. They're expecting different results with the same stuff.“You can't pitch up in this league. You can't walk people. You can't make errors. You can't score runs, and then immediately give up a run the next inning. And that's what we're doing.”Things went south in a hurry for the Cardinals as Princeton jumped on top with a four-run first. Yoel Araujo delivered the big blow with a three-run blast over the right field fence.Johnson City answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, thanks in part to a pair of Princeton errors. Kenny Peoples-Walls and Rowan Wick each had RBI ground outs.However, the Rays tacked on a run in the second inning on Spencer Edwards' RBI single. They stretched the lead to 8-2 with three runs in the fourth inning, with Travis Flores pounding a three-run double off the left field wall.Araujo then connected again. His fifth-inning homer made it 9-2, and the Cardinals appeared to be out of the picture.But Johnson City struck for two runs in the fifth. Justin Ringo's RBI single plated one of the runs, and Leandro Mateo scored on an error to make it 9-4.Steve Bean got the Cardinals closer as he drilled a long-flight bomb over the right field fence in the bottom of the sixth.Johnny Eierman temporarily gave the momentum back to the Rays with a home run well over the left-center field fence in the top of seventh for a 10-5 lead.However, the Cardinals were still ready for a fight. Ringo punched home a run with a single, and then Wick got the crowd into the game with a two-run crush over the right field fence to make it 10-9.Araujo finished with three hits, four RBIs and scored two runs. Eierman, Dominquez and Edwards each added two hits while Flores totaled four RBIs.D.J. Slaton (1-2) worked five good-enough innings to earn the win for the Rays while Stepan Havlicek pitched two scoreless innings for the save.Will Anderson (0-2) took the loss for the Cardinals, allowing five runs and seven hits in three innings.Jhohan Acevedo knocked out three hits and scored three runs for the Cards. Ringo and Wick each had three RBIs while Wick and Mateo totaled two hits apiece.Johnson City (17-21) tries to keep its fading playoff hopes alive as it begins a three-game series at Kingsport tonight at 7 o'clock.

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