Derek McCallum’s run-scoring single in the top of the 10th inning — his fourth hit and fourth RBI of the game — sent the Appalachian League West Division leaders to a 6-5 roller-coaster win at Hunter Wright Stadium.
“It’s a tough loss,” K-Mets manager Mike DeFelice said. “You never want to lose an extra-inning game at home. We’re hoping to hit our stride soon, though.
“This (series) is a nice measure of what our team is made of, playing the best team in the league.”
The K-Mets appeared to be on the verge of a second consecutive win when, in a steady downpour, Joseph Bonfe unleashed a towering three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
An abbreviated outing simply wasn’t in the cards, however. The rain ceased in the sixth inning — only to return in the ninth — and allowed the game to continue.
The Twins (14-3) immediately responded in the sixth via one of McCallum’s two RBI doubles. The 21-year-old returned four frames later to win it against Mets reliever Luis Rojas (0-1).
Michael Gonzales walked to open the frame. One out later, Rojas intentionally walked Reggie Williams. Pinch-hitter Tyler Ladendorf followed with an infield single, setting the table for McCallum.
“This was a wild game with the rain and everything,” Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. “But we were here so we had to do the best we could. The guys hung in there; I’m really proud of them for that.”
Rojas was unfortunate to pick up the loss. He looked solid after what has been a horrid start to the season for the two-year pro.
There were also encouraging displays from starter Guillaume Leduc — four runs, two earned, over five innings — and Zachary Ronsebaum, who struck out two and allowed one unearned run in three frames.
Jeff Flagg went 2-for-5, including a solo home run to left in the fourth that gave the K-Mets (5-12) a 2-1 advantage. Ronald Harris and Gered Mochizuki had two hits apiece.
McCallum closed 4-for-6. Four other Twins collected two hits. Elizabethton scattered 16 hits.
“We hit the ball well, but left a lot of guys on base,” Smith said. “We snakebit ourselves with some faulty base running. We didn’t take advantage of those 16 hits.”
Matthew Tone (1-1) notched the win in relief, surrendering just four hits and fanning eight. Kyle Carr locked up his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 10th.
Kingsport had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with just one out. Mochizuki was held at third on Harris’ single with the idea that either Bonfe or Flagg could plate him. Neither could.
“We had an opportunity to win it there at the end,” DiFelice said. “If we send the runner and he scores, we win. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way tonight.”
“We’ve got another one against them so maybe we can come out of this series on top.”