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JC Cards foil Reds, climb into first-place tie

Tanner Cook • Updated Jul 27, 2019 at 10:41 PM

The Johnson City Cardinals have played themselves back into a tie for first place with Elizabethton in the Appalachian League’s West Division.

They took down Greeneville on Saturday night, beating the Reds 5-2 at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.

The Cards (20-17) did not have much offense in the first five frames, mustering just three hits and four total base runners. In the sixth, however, things started moving for the home team.

KEY MOMENTS

Zach Jackson got aboard as the second batter in the bottom of the sixth with a five-pitch walk. After Chandler Redmond successfully batted him around to third, in stepped Liam Sabino.

Redmond got caught in a rundown between first and second — mostly trying to bait the throw and get Jackson to score — and was tagged out.

Jackson did score and the Cardinals had cut the lead to 2-1. Sabino teed off on the next pitch for a solo home run over the right-field wall and the game was tied with one swing of the bat.

BIG SEVENTH FOR BABY BIRDS

Kevin Vargas led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Diomedes Del Rio got on with a walk and suddenly Johnson City was in business with runners on the corners again.

With Ben Baird at bat, Del Rio attempted to steal second and bait the throw again. It worked and Vargas was on his way to home plate. Greeneville second baseman Tyler Callihan made a throw that was just a bit left of the plate and catcher Justin Gomez made an attempt at it.

The problem was that Baird was not all the way out of the path of the catcher trying to make a play at the plate and Gomez collided with Baird. There was no play at the plate and the play was ruled a throwing error.

Johnson City was able to get a couple of extra runs thanks to a double by Trejyn Fletcher and a fielder’s choice by Malcom Nunez.

PITCHING SHOWCASE

Johnson City starter Jake Sommers did give up two early runs to the Reds via a two-out RBI double by Gomez in the second and a Raul Juarez RBI single in the third.

After a rough first three frames, Sommers settled in and pitched well. He ended up with the no-decision, but struck out three. Enrique Perez (1-1) got the win for JC, pitching just the seventh inning and striking out a pair.

Hector Soto recorded his first save of the season, pitching the final two frames.

Greeneville’s Jose Zorilla got the loss, allowing three unearned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals will go for a sweep of the Reds (16-21) on Sunday at TVA Credit Union Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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