Wednesday night, the K-Mets got the late go-ahead at Hunter Wright Stadium and got a piece of the Appalachian League’s West Division leader.
Kingsport scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 10-7 win over the Elizabethton Twins. Reliever Travis Babin retired the side in the top of the ninth to collect his second save of the season.
“We’ve been battling for nine innings, that’s no secret. But we competed the right way and tonight it showed what can happen when you compete the right way,” K-Mets manager Mike DiFelice said. “I’m real proud of them.”
Babin preserved the win for Sam Taveras (1-2), who gave up one earned run off one hit over three innings of relief. Call it redemption. Taveras and Babin both spent nightmarish minutes on the mound during Kingsport’s 10-run meltdown in the ninth against Bluefield on June 27.
“That’s been our thing, man,” Babin said. “We’ve been putting up runs and we’ve been in every ball game, it seems. Just a lot of errors and walks and our pitching has been killing us. But we’ve been hitting the ball. We’ve just got to put it together.”
The K-Mets lineup put something together in the bottom of the eighth, shelling southpaw Tony Davis (0-2) for six hits. Gered Mochizuki got it all started with an infield single.
Before it was done, Joseph Bonfe had collected an RBI double, Michael Moras had a two-run double and Ryan Mollica got himself caught in a rundown while decoying to ensure a second run off his single.
“Our bullpen is trying to find themselves. We’ve got some holes in the pen and it was showing tonight, “ said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith, whose team leads the division at 13-3 overall.
“We’ve got come deficiency out there and some roles to assume. So it’s wide open.”
The E-Twins wasted no time, getting two runs off three hits against Kingsport starter Angel Cuan in the first inning. Chris Hermann doubled, scoring on Tyler Ladendorf’s single to left. Daniel Rams stroked another base hit to left and Ladendorf subsequently scored when Tobais Streich grounded into the force-out at second.
The K-Mets responded by picking up a run in the bottom of the first off right-hander Tom Stuifbergen, with help from a two-base throwing error by Ladendorf at short. The beneficiary, leadoff man Alonzo Harris, made it to third after tagging up on a flyout by R.J. Harris to center. He scored on Bonfe’s groundout to short.
Elizabethton made it 4-1 in the third inning. Chris Hermann got on with a walk and scored on Daniel Rams’ line-drive double down the left field line. Rams scored on Josmil Pinto’s sacrifice fly. The Twins added two more runs in the fourth on three hits and a Kingsport error. Jonathan Golcalves scored on a Hermann single, with Hermann coming home when Rams rapped into an error by Bonfe at third.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kingsport loaded the bases with consecutive base hits from Mollica, John Semel and Pedro Zapata. Mollica scored when Mochizuki swung into a double play. Alonzo Harris showed what the rally might’ve been when he plated Semel with his two-out triple. R.J. Harris struck out, leaving Elizabethton up 6-3.
The E-Twins added another run in the top of the sixth when Ladendorf scored on Streich’s sacrifice fly to left field. Kingsport brought the margin back to three runs in the bottom frame when Zapata doubled in Mollica.
Elizabethton reliever Kane Holbrooks gave Kingsport a golden opportunity in the seventh when he served up three straight walks. Despite getting help behind the plate from Pinto, who erased the would-be lead runner when he gunned down stealing R.J. Harris on his way to second, one out later he re-loaded the bags when he hit Mollica with a pitch. Bonfe scored when Semel took ball four for an RBI, making it 7-5.
The table was set for Zapata, but Smith sent out Davis, who bore down for the strikeout.
Davis’ shining save, however, was fated to be blown in the following frame.