It got under way at Hunter Wright Stadium Saturday night and 1,447 folks turned out to watch it.
It was called “Slug Fest.”
The Johnson City Cardinals hammered out 18 hits — half of which went for extra bases — en route to a 14-4 steamrolling of the homestanding Kingsport Mets.
K-Mets starter Michael Hebert (1-2) picked up the loss, giving up seven runs — five earned — over his 3 2-3 inning shift.
An error at second — one of two on the night by second baseman Ismael Tijerina — helped burden Hebert with two unearned runs in the first inning.
But when Johnson City (12-6) mounted a four-run rally off four hits in the fourth on Hebert, an error at third base by Aderlin Rodriguez was pretty slight damage compared to the two-run double by Kleininger Teran and the two-run triple by Virgil Hill.
Subsequent Kingsport relievers Hunter Carnevale, Jhonathan Torres and Steve Winnick all contributed to the Cardinals’ team slugging percentage.
“We threw batting practice for them tonight,” said one K-Mets fan who stuck with the home team to the last out.
Let’s not be silly. There was no protective screen sitting in front of the mound, for one thing. Although at times, it might not have been a bad idea.
“I hate to see it happen tonight. But it was one of those nights,” said Kingsport manager Mike DeFelice, whose team dropped to 7-11.
“We’ll chalk that up to development. You have to teach them a lot of things. The one tonight is to teach them to separate the game. This is a game we need to take a look at, separate it, and come back tomorrow fresh.”
Perhaps Johnson City’s lineup won’t feel quite so fresh when it returns to Hunter Wright tonight for the second game of the series.
But the Cards aren’t leading the Appalachian League West Division for nothing.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well. I don’t know if tonight is the most number of hits we’ve had or the most extra base hits, but it’s obviously up there,” Johnson City manager Mike Shildt said.
“We’ve been swinging the bats pretty well for the most part. We feel good about it.”
Hill was a regular “Dr. Feelgood” for Johnson City, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, a double and a triple. Teran went 2-for-6 with three RBIs while Romulo Ruiz went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.
The hit parade didn’t end there. Greg Garcia and Juan Castillo each went 2-for-5 with a double. Oscar Tavares tripled, Packy Elkins added a pinch-hit RBI double and Cody Stanley went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
John Semel and Tijerina each doubled as part of a two-hit effort. Brandon Brown added an RBI double.