Angel Manzanarez hit his first professional home run to give the K-Mets a walk-off win over the Johnson City Cardinals 13-12.
Johnson City (9-14) got off to a fast start with a five-run first, brought about thanks in large part to three Kingsport defensive miscues.
The Cardinals continued to pile it on in the middle innings. In the fifth inning, the Cardinals plated three more runs, including a long solo home run by Luis Bandes, his second blast of the night.
With the K-Mets down 9-2, they began their comeback by plating four runs off Cardinal starter Franyel Casadilla, including six straight hits to begin the inning. Reliever Will Changarotty was able to temporarily put out the fire and hold Kingsport at six.
The teams traded runs in the sixth and eighth, with the Mets cutting the lead to 12-10 on a RBI sing by Juan Uriarte in the bottom of the eighth. However, on Uriarte’s single, Kingsport skipper Luis Rivera held up the newest K-Met, Hansel Moreno, at third. Rigoberto Terrazas took a wide turn around second anticipating a play at the plate, resulting in a run down that ended the inning.
After K-Met reliever Stephen Villines pitched a perfect top half of the ninth, the Mets sent the 6-7-8 hitters to the plate in need of two runs to continue the evening.
After Anthony Dirocie began the inning with a walk, DH Kevin Hall worked a nine-pitch at bat before depositing a long home run over the left center field wall to tie the game.
Two batters later, with the crowd still buzzing, Manzanarez sent the K-Mets fans home happy with his shot, just beyond the leaping Walker Robbins in left.
In his third seasons of professional ball at the short-season level, Manzanarez had never homered in 395 at-bats.
The victory for Kingsport (9-12) puts them alone in third place in the Appalachian League West Division, five games behind first place Elizabethton. Johnson City falls to six games back.
The K-Mets and Cardinals will be back in action at Hunter Wright Stadium Sunday afternoon as they play game two of the series. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.