ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Twins and Princeton Rays entered into Sunday’s opening contest of the three-game series with losing streaks, but the Twins broke out the bats in an 11-0 victory and in the process Elizabethton set an Appalachian League record for shutouts.
The win sent the Twins to 32-24 and stopped a two-game skid. Kingsport and Greeneville was tied at three apiece going into the 10th inning at press time. Elizabethton owned a 1.5 game lead over Kingsport when the day started. Princeton, currently second in the East Division, went to 30-25 with a four-game losing streak and tied with Pulaski as both are 2.5 games behind Danville.
The Twins offense exploded Sunday as every starter scored a run and eight of the nine had at least one hit. Of those with hits six Twins had multiple hits.
Leading the hit parade was Trey Vavra who went 3-for-4 and bumped his average up to .312. Jeremias Pineda was 2-for-5, drove in three and scored twice. Nick Gordon, Tanner English, Alex Real and Austin Diemer all had two hits of their own as well. Gordon drove in two while Diemer scored twice. English and Real also drew walks.
“I thought Pineda put the best swings of the year on the ball tonight. He’s an exciting player when he gets on base because I think he runs the best of anyone in the league,” Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. “He’s always on go and forces the issue.”
Derrick Penilla, Brandon Poulson and Randy Leblanc combined for the Twins’ 13th shutout of the season breaking the league mark held by the Kingsport Mets of 1996 who had 12 shutouts that season. Pulaski and Kingsport each have five shutouts this season and are tied for second in that category.
Penilla went the opening six innings and scattered four hits, struck out eight and walked one. Poulson, making his third appearance, worked out of a bases loaded and no out jam in the eighth to help preserve the shutout. He ended up with two innings of work with a hit, two walks and two strikeouts. Leblanc finished things off in the ninth as the Twins lowered their league-best ERA to 2.85
“His temperament looked pretty good out there,” Smith said about Poulson’s approach. “He knows it’s an education and in the heat of battle he made adjustments to get them out.”
The Twins scored a run in the first before two more in the third then broke the game open with seven runs in the fourth and added another score in the fifth. Included in the fourth-inning run fest was a 1-2 count home run over the tall left-field fence with two outs and two on from Brian Navarreto. It was his second homer of the year and put the game out of reach.
For the game Elizabethton went 15-for-38 which included going 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position. In the game the Twins only struck out five times.
Elizabethton also improved to 27-0 when leading after eight innings with Sunday’s decision.
Thomas Milone had two of Princeton’s six hits. Greg Maisto went three-plus innings for the Rays and was responsible for the first seven runs on nine hits as he faced 19 batters.comments powered by Disqus