A ninth-inning rally produced a 5-4 walk-off win over the Elizabethton Twins in Appalachian League action Saturday evening at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Entering the eighth Saturday, the K-Mets had scored one run in 37 innings — including Friday’s 15-inning game in which Kingsport got that lone run.
But Saturday, with the K-Mets (3-7) trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Amed Rosario and Victor Cruzado led off with back-to-back singles. Pinch-hitter Jeff Diehl reached after being hit by an inside pitch.
Designated hitter Jon Leroux showed no fear in the bases-loaded situation, his single plating two runs and tying the score at 4.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit and my teammates gave me the chance,” Leroux said. “That’s all I could ask for.”
Diehl wound up at third base. A wild pitch by Twins reliever Luis Nunez allowed Diehl to come home with the winning run.
Kingsport’s first two runs came in the eighth on Leroux’s RBI single and a throwing error.
Leroux spent last season in Kingsport and sees the differences from the 2012 squad.
“We have so much more experience than we had last year. I’m telling you right now, we are going to be good. We are going to come out of it,” he said.
Lost in all the late-inning excitement was the effort of starting pitcher Carlos Gomez. The right-hander pitched into the seventh, allowing three hits and no runs.
“It was so good to see all of these guys get things going,” said K-Mets manager Jose Leger. “Our pitching has been phenomenal, but our offense has been in a funk. We haven’t been able to get anything going, especially after a shutout and a 15-inning loss in Greeneville.”
Elizabethton scored all four of its runs in the eighth, highlighted by Kevin Ortiz’s two RBI double.
The three-game series continues tonight with a first pitch at 6 p.m.
NOTES: Twins right fielder Dereck Rodriguez was 0-for-3 and reached on an error Saturday, though he may be better known as the son of a future Hall of Famer. His father, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, is considered the best defensive catcher of all time. He was the 1999 AL MVP and collected 13 Gold Glove awards, along with 14 All-Star selections.