After a wild back-and-forth game, Elizabethton clinched an Appalachian League playoff berth on a walk-off error.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, Trey Vavra’s grounder to third base was thrown away by Eudor Garcia and Blake Schmit scored to give the Twins a 9-8 win.
Combined with Johnson City’s loss to Greeneville, the Twins (37-29) clinched no worse than a second-place finish in the West Divison. Elizabethton can clinch the division title, and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs, by beating the Mets again tonight at 7 o’clock.
After overcoming an early 4-0 deficit to tie it up, the Twins scored three more times with a lot of help from the Mets. They committed two errors, threw a wild pitch and had a pitcher not cover first on a ground ball to the first baseman.
It all added up to a 7-4 lead for Elizabethton. Another run put Elizabethton up 8-4, and that’s where it stood until the ninth when the Mets tied it up.
Ivan Wilson got things started with a bunt single, and an error and single loaded the bases. Dereck Rodriguez came to mound in relief, and got one out before hitting Luis Ortega to make it 8-5.
Eudor Garcia followed with an RBI groundout, and Wuilmer Becerra tripled to tie the game. After a walk, the Mets attempted a double steal but Becerra was nailed at the plate for the final out.
The Twins fell behind 4-0 as Appy League pitcher of the year Felix Jorge had an uncharacteristically shaky outing. Jorge wasn’t helped by a defense that committed two errors, but he allowed seven hits in three innings.
Jorge’s teammates got him off the hook quickly, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, all with two outs.
Nick Gordon, making a rare appearance as the designated hitter, got things started with a two-out single. After Gordon stole second, Trey Vavra drove him in with a double.
Tyler Kuresa then singled, giving him his Appy League-leading 42nd RBI. Jorge Fernandez followed with a triple to score Kuresa. T. J. White, recently promoted from the Gulf Coast League, completed the rally with a seeing-eye single to score Fernandez.
Vavra kept the game tied in the top of the fifth when he made an inning-ending diving catch on a sinking liner hit to left field by Kingport’s Wuilmer Bucerra with two runners on base.
The Mets had some trouble with a couple of bats. Home plate umpire Dave Martinez sent two Kingsport batters back to the dugout to get some new lumber because their bats had too much pine tar on them.
The two teams meet again tonight before ending the regular season Friday with a 3 p.m. matinee.
The playoffs begin on Sunday.comments powered by Disqus