Needing only one win to secure a berth, the K-Mets (33-33) clinched the final spot in the Appalachian League playoffs with an 8-6, 10-inning win over Johnson City at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The outcome eliminated the Cardinals (29-37) from the West Division race.
Kingsport got two runs in the top of the 10th inning. Ranfy Adon hit an RBI triple to deep left field to score the runner placed at second base via the International Tiebreak Rule. Yoel Romero then drove home Adon, giving the K-Mets all the insurance they needed.
“It’s a good feeling. It’s a really good feeling,” K-Mets manager Sean Ratliff said. “These guys have worked really hard all year through ups and downs. They’re a young ballclub and they’ve grown up. They’ve learned a lot, too. We have had some trouble with extra-inning games this year. I think we were 2-3 or something.
“Every now and then, Ranfy shows up and crushes a ball,” Ratliff added. “He roasted that triple into the gap and I thought the center fielder had a bead on it. I was glad when he had to make that turn to go get the ball.”
K-METS GET OUT FAST
Mark Vientos got a with a two-out single in the top of the first inning. Domingo Martinez doubled in the next at-bat, advancing Vientos to third.
Ronny Mauricio then reached on a fielding error by Cards shortstop Moises Castillo, and both runner scored on the play.
Liam Sabino got on via a walk as the second batter of the inning for the Cardinals, starting a small rally.
Dariel Gomez knocked him in with a long single to left field, halving the lead.
Donivan Williams led off the bottom half of the third with a single to left, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice fly. Leandro Cedeno hit a gap shot to left field for a run-scoring double, tying the game at 2.
The Cardinals seized the lead in the same inning on Michael Perri’s single that scored Cedeno. However, Perri was called out trying to advance to second, ending the inning.
KINGSPORT FIGHTS BACK
In the top of the fourth, Kingsport got the lead back 4-3 when Adon singled to bring home Raul Beracierta and Kennedy Hernandez.
Romero led off the top of the fifth with a double. Martinez followed with a run-scoring single that pushed the K-Mets’ lead to 5-3.
Guillermo Granadillo drove in Romero again in the seventh to make it 6-3.
CARDS STAY ALIVE
The Cardinals got a pair of homers in the bottom of the seventh to get to extra innings. After Leandro Cedeno blasted a two-run shot, Andrew Warner tied the game at 6 with a solo homer over the Dr. Enuf sign in left field.
Johnson City had a chance to win in regulation after putting runners on first and second with two outs. However, Warner struck out looking on a slider that painted the outside corner of the zone.
The Cardinals and Mets continue their series Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m.