The Johnson City Cardinals closed out their Appalachian League season Friday night with a 10-3 decision over the Burlington Royals Friday thanks in part to an early offensive output.
The Cardinals finished with a 36-31 record, which is the sixth straight season with at least 35 wins. In that stretch of winning campaigns, Johnson City owns a 0.586 winning percentage with two league championships and another playoff appearance.
“We were going to get to this day one way or another,” Johnson City manager Joe Kruzel said. “The players have played hard. Done everything we’ve asked them to do. I’m pleased with the development some of the guys have made.”
Back-to-back RBI singles from Ronnierd Garcia and Rowan Wick in the first inning put the home side up 2-0. Garcia later raced in on a wild pitch.
An inning later, Jhohan Acevedo and Garcia each had two-run home runs to make it a 7-1 score at that point. It was the first home run of the season for Acevedo, who followed with a two-out RBI double to right center in the sixth. Acevedo finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs and just missed joining the .300 club with a .293 batting average.
Garcia ended the contest 2-for-4 with three RBIs and ended the season with a six-game hitting streak. During that stretch he owned a .522 batting average to close 2013.
Kenny Peoples-Walls scored on a wild pitch in the Cardinals’ portion of the third to tack on another run. He also touched home in the seventh on a RBI single to center from Steve Bean. Peoples-Walls ended the season with a .300 batting average. Bean was 2-for-4 in the finale.
Joining him with .300 averages was Justin Ringo, who was successful in his only plate appearance that came in the first inning.
“I think it’s important to them,” Kruzel said about the duo. “I joked with Ringo after his at bat that he’s a career .300 minor league hitter. It’s good to see both guys get there.”
Dailyn Martinez threw five innings and ran his record to 4-3 in the league. He scattered four hits that led to three runs, but only one was earned. He struck out four and walked one Royal.
Burlington hurler Andres Machado ended his first season in the Appalachian League with a 0-8 record as he lasted 12?3 inning and gave up seven runs on six hits.
The Royals’ Bobby Brown laced a 1-1 pitch in the top of the second over the fence in right to cut into the Cardinal’s lead. The visitors scored solo runs in the third and fifth as well.
“Just grateful the way the community accepted this team,” Kruzel said. “They were tremendous this year in how they treated us in Johnson City.”