KINGSPORT — The Appalachian League season might be about a month old, but for Kingsport Mets outfielder Chase Greene, Tuesday night’s game felt like a home opener.
And Greene helped the K-Mets tally a rare win at home.
Batting out of the leadoff spot, Greene had two hits and two stolen bases and knocked in the game-winning run as Kingsport doubled up the Bluefield Orioles by a 6-3 margin.
The K-Mets (12-16) came into the game 1-8 at Hunter Wright Stadium, the worst home record in the Appalachian League.
For Greene, it was a home debut. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Floridian sprained his ankle in the second game of the season, and Tuesday’s contest was just his sixth appearance with Kingsport.
“It was exciting to finally get a win at home. My first game at home, so I was excited to play,” said Greene, who tried to keep himself as sharp as he could while sidelined. “I stayed up at the park, hitting batting practice every day and ... getting my swings. Today was just one of those days.”
Both at the plate and on the basepaths.
Greene accounted for two of four steals off Bluefield starter Cameron Roth, who had a rather deliberate delivery.
“Me and the other fast guys on the team communicated,” Greene said. “We saw he had a high pick-off, a high leg kick, and we saw that and we took advantage of it. We’ve got a little speed on the team and we took advantage of it tonight.”
Third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez hustled for only his second stolen base as a pro. ZeErika McQueen swiped his 10th bag of the Appy season. Both went on to score.
“I think A-Rod got his first steal of his career today. So, after that he was looking for the steal sign every time he got on first,” K-Mets manager Mike DiFelice quipped.
Greene’s second steal helped tie it at 3-all in the fifth inning. He singled with two outs, swiped second and scored on a two-base throwing error by Bluefield third baseman Brad Decatur — the 61st defensive miscue by an Oriole in 28 games.
The K-Mets, who led 1-0 early, took control for good with another two-out rally in the seventh. Right fielder John Semel knocked a ball into the right-field corner and ended up with a triple. Greene followed and poked a flare single into center off freshly entered Bluefield reliever David Baker (0-3).
“He was throwing a lot of sliders. Two strikes, I knew a slider was coming,” Greene said. “I tried to go the other way with it, and that’s what I did.”
Kingsport added two insurance runs in the ninth on a double, a walk, two bean balls and a sacrifice fly by Eddie Lora — one of two for him on the night.
Bluefield took the lead in the fourth on a titanic three-run home run by outfielder Luis Ramirez. The blast off K-Mets starter Jacob deGrom sailed well above the scoreboard in right field.
Roth lasted a season-best 6 1-3 innings. No prior outing with Bluefield had lasted beyond four frames.
T.J. Chism (2-0) picked up the win. Michael Weldon earned the save, his third.
The teams renew their series tonight.