KINGSPORT — Pulaski’s Appalachian League baseball team celebrated the Fourth of July a few hours early with a 14-5 victory over the Kingsport Mets Saturday night.
While the fireworks show in downtown Kingsport could be seen from Hunter Wright Stadium as the game ended, the Mariners had already fired an arsenal of rockets at the Mets.
Kingsport manager Mike DiFelice continues to face quite a task in getting his team on track but apparently has the patience to teach youngsters the ropes he was taught on the way to the major leagues.
“The only things we’re looking for right now are execution and effort,’’ DiFelice said. “Tonight, we got effort. It’s still early in the season and we’re getting a lot of kinks out and trying to get rid of the awe of being a professional.
“We have some guys from the academies and the Gulf Coast League. For some it’s their first experience at playing night games.’’
The Mariners, with 16 hits, gave five Kingsport pitchers a drubbing. Jorge Agudelo, appearing as a reserve outfielder, went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs. Jake Schlander was 3-for-5 and got two RBIs. Hassiel Jimenez finished 3-for-5 and had three RBIs.
K-Mets starter Gonzalez Germen, the loser, was tagged for eight hits and seven runs. Reliever Orlando Tovar gave up six unearned runs in the 1 2/3 innings he pitched.
Winning pitcher Jessie Nava pretty much scattered eight hits and was still in command when Matt Bischoff took over in the eighth inning.
Kingsport’s batting leader was Javier Rodriguez, whose 4-for-5 performance included a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Ismael Tijerina, Nelfi Zapata and ZeErika McQueen each added two hits.
Pulaski came out of the gate fast, scoring four runs in the first inning. Kingsport got two back in the bottom of the frame but didn’t reach home plate again until the eighth. By this time, the Mariners were up 14-2.
Tracy Stallard, who had an outstanding career pitching for three big-league teams, attended the game and was given a warm welcome when introduced. It was a pleasant surprise for Kingsport fans to have in their midst one of the only two local men to actually play for the parent New York Mets team. “I really enjoyed being here for the game,’’ Stallard said.
He played for Coeburn High School before signing with the Boston Red Sox. Stallard finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He lives in Wise.
The K-Mets are struggling with a 3-8 record. They’ll be on a six-game road trip before returning home to play Johnson City’s Cardinals on July 10.