Twins continue to apply pressure in playoff race

Johnson City Press • Aug 24, 2019 at 10:36 PM

ELIZABETHTON—Elizabethton is doing its part to make it a mad end-of-the-year scramble in the Appalachian League’s West Division.

Knocking off Danville 4-2 on Saturday night at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark, the Twins closed within 1 1/2 games of first-place Johnson City and remained a game behind second-place Bristol.

Kingsport is a half-game ahead of Elizabethton (31-32), which is 4-1 in its last five games. With the race for both West playoff berths still undecided, four regular-season contests remain for all four contenders.

For the second straight night, the Twins overcame a late deficit to upend the Braves (27-37). And for the second straight night, it was Seth Gray coming up big.

Having ended Friday’s contest with a two-run, ninth-inning double, Gray erased a 2-1 deficit on Saturday by swatting a two-run homer in the eighth. The round-tripper was part of a three-run rally — Trevor Jensen added an RBI groundout — for the Twins, who carried a 1-0 lead into the top of the frame.

A throwing error on a pickoff attempt enabled Danville to even the score. Cody Milligan snapped that tie with a run-scoring single.

Charles Mack doubled in a 2-for-3 effort and Anthony Prato went 2 for 4 for Elizabethton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. clubbed a fifth-inning homer.

Milligan was 2 for 4 for the Braves.

Twins starter Ben Gross collected seven strikeouts over five shutout innings, then Denny Bentley blanked the Braves for two innings before Brent Headrick surrendered Danville’s runs in 2/3 of an inning.

Closing reliever Tyler Beck (1-0) recorded four outs for the decision.

Darius Vines did scoreless work in a four-inning start for Danville, which will try to avoid a three-game sweep in Sunday’s matchup. The Twins and Braves are scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.

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