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K-Mets yield seven runs in eighth, lose first game of 2009

Bill Lane • Jun 25, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — After an opening-game thriller, things slowed back down Wednesday night at Hunter Wright Stadium.

Johnson City turned the tables on Kingsport’s Mets 13-6 by exploding for 11 runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

It was vintage Appalachian League. One nightmarish inning broke open a 2-2 game.

The final out didn’t come until nearly four hours after Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips had thrown out the game ball to signify the start of the home team’s second appearance.

It became less than interesting after the Cardinals pushed across seven runs on six hits in the eighth.

In this type of game, only the imagination and wit of PA announcer Don Spivey could keep the dream alive.

For the most part, Kingsport’s defense was fundamentally sound but pitching malfunctions detracted from the team’s overall performance.

It was a collection of hits, walks and mound conferences. There was nothing K-Mets manager Mike DiFelice could do or say to slow down Johnson City’s momentum in the late going.

Kingsport, in the midst of a six-game home stand to start the 2009 season, missed an opportunity to get a leg up on the rest of the league.

Nine pitchers paraded to the mound before game’s end. Five of them were wearing Cardinal uniforms.

Reliever Jason Novak shut down a last-ditch rally by Kingsport to bring an end to the scoring. He got R.J. Harris on a groundout with the bases loaded for the final out.

Mike Swinson and Rich Racobaldo swung the big bats for the Cardinals. Swinson singled, doubled and tripled to drive in four runs. Racobaldo singled twice to account for three RBIs.

Kingsport’s best scoring effort came in a four-run eighth. Tyler Howe and Evan LeBlanc each doubled and Alonzo Harris singled during the burst.

The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead only to see R.J. Harris push Kingsport ahead with a two-run double in the third. Johnson City tied the game 2-2 on an error in the fifth and a low score appeared in the offing until the K-Mets’ pitching collapsed in the eighth.

The loss was pinned on Johnathan White who seemed to have the situation under control when he struck out four of five batters, only to be greeted by a series of hits and walks.

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