Ota went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs to lead the Kingsport Mets to a 7-5 Appalachian League win over the West Division rival Elizabethton Twins at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Ota’s homers overshadowed a four-homer performance by Elizabethton (23-22). All four of its home runs — two from Will Holland and one each from Parker Phillips and Kidany Salva — were solo shots.
HOW THE TWINS SCORED
Phillips smacked his solo shot in the top of the fourth, Holland belted his in the sixth and the ninth, and Salva’s came in the ninth.
View Dakota Hamilton’s photos from the game
The only Twins run not via solo homer was the first one of the game.
Charles Mack led off the game with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Willie Garry Jr.’s RBI single.
K-METS SCORE IN BUNCHES
Kingsport (21-24) scored multiple runs in three innings, including three in the fourth. Brett Baty led off the frame with a double and moved to third on a single from Francisco Alvarez. Baty then scored on Jaylen Palmer’s sacrifice fly.
Ota followed with the first of his two homers to put the K-Mets up 3-2, their first lead of the contest.
After Elizabethton tied the game at 3 in the top of the sixth, Kingsport took the lead for good in the bottom half.
Palmer singled to start the inning and came home on an Ota double. Ota then scored on an RBI single from Wilfred Astudillo.
The K-Mets added to their advantage in the bottom of the eighth when Palmer, who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, led off with a double. Ota’s homer over the right-field wall put the K-Mets up by four.
CLOSE TO THE FINISH
Kingsport wound up needed those two eighth-inning runs.
After Holland led off the Twins’ ninth with a solo shot, Salva came up with a big swing an out later to cut it to 7-5. K-Mets closer Reyson Santos retired the next two batters, however, to finish off the win.
BY THE BOOK
In addition to big nights from Ota and Palmer, Kingsport got a 2-for-4, one-RBI effort from Astudillo.
Mack finished 2-for-4 for the Twins.
Brendan Hardy picked up the win out of the bullpen. Hardy (2-1) gave up a hit and a run and walked two with no strikeouts in two innings of work.
Denny Bentley (2-2) took the loss, working two innings in relief and giving up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
Game 2 of the three-game set is scheduled for Tuesday at Hunter Wright. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.