BURLINGTON, N.C. — The Johnson City Cardinals’ reign as Appalachian League champions came to an end on Friday night.
Mark Threlkeld’s two-run home run in the second inning gave Burlington the lead for good and the Royals held on for a 3-2 victory over the Cards in a semifinal playoff game to clinch the series two games to one.
Johnson City had won the last two Appy League titles and was bidding to become just the second club in league history to win three in a row.
Burlington, champion of the Appy League’s East Division, will take on the Elizabethton Twins in the championship series, which begins tonight at Burlington. The Twins beat the Danville Braves 4-2 to win their series wo games to one.
Beau Magli’s sacrificie fly in the fifth gave the Royals a 3-0 lead before the Cards began to come back.
Carson Kelly’s single scored a run in the sixth for Johnson City.
The Cards had a chance to tie it up in the ninth. After Ronard Castillo’s two-out RBI double made it 3-2, Leandro Mateo stranded the tying run at second when he struck out to end the season. Mateo had two hits leading up to his final at-bat.
Elizabethton, the West Division champ, will be bidding to win its ninth league championship. The Twins have been Appy champs two times in the last five years.