JC Cardinals set for season opener with new game time

PULASKI, Va. — The Pulaski Yankees were as good as advertised. And now they are going to the playoffs.

Pulaski swept a doubleheader from the Johnson City Cardinals on Sunday, winning 7-6 and 8-1 at Calfee Park to become the first Appalachian League team to clinch a spot in the postseason.

The Yankees (39-19) moved to 20 games over .500 and have a four-game lead in the Appy League’s East Division.

Somehow, when the smoke cleared, the Cardinals were still in first place in the volatile West Division. Johnson City has lost seven of its last nine games to fall to 29-29 but still holds a half game lead over Bristol.

All the teams chasing the Cards — Bristol, Kingsport and Elizabethton — lost Sunday.

The Cards dropped to 0-4 in extra-inning games in the opener, falling in eight innings. Both games were scheduled for seven innings.

The Cards scored the go-ahead run in the first game on a throwing error in the eighth inning after the Yankees forced extra innings with a home run in the seventh.

Pulaski loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth and Blake Drake walked in the tying run before Luis Santos drove a long single to left-center field to win the game.

The Cards were three outs from a win, but Pulaski’s Jake Pries led off the bottom of the seventh with a pinch-hit solo home run to tie the game 5-5. It was the Yankees’ league-leading 61st home run of the season.

A three-run fourth inning put Johnson City in control for a while. Sacrifice flies by Mateo Gill and Jhon Torres sandwiched around an RBI single from Aaron Antonini put the Cards up 5-3.

Torres hit his fifth home run for the Cards, while Chad Bell drove in three runs for the Yankees.

In the nightcap, the Yankees hit three more home runs and their starting pitcher Jhonathan Munoz struck out 10 Cardinals.

Game 3 of the four-game series is scheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Calfee Park. Tuesday’s series finale will be played at 11 a.m.