KINGSPORT — Friday’s promotion at Hunter Wright Stadium was “Fun Night.”
Unfortunately, that didn’t apply to the Kingsport Mets, who lost to the Johnson City Cardinals for a second straight night.
With the Cardinals leading 5-0 with one out in the top of the ninth inning, the game was called because of heavy rain and lightning.
Kingsport starting pitcher Robert Whalen recorded three strikeouts in the first inning, but the second inning proved to be trouble — again.
In Thursday’s 9-3 win over Kingsport, Johnson City erupted for five runs in that frame on its way to a victory. On Friday, the Cardinals came up with four runs in the second.
The offensive surge came with two outs.
Jeff Altobelli reached base on a fielder’s choice, a play that was followed by a hit batsman. A throwing error led to Devante Lacy reaching first and loading the bases.
It took two pitches before center fielder Vaughn Bryan came through with a bases-clearing triple.
Bryan finished the night 3-for-5, adding in a single and double. He struck out in the first inning but still reached base safely on a passed ball.
Kenny Peoples-Walls tacked on another run in the second on an RBI single.
“Whalen threw the ball hard tonight. Unfortunately we had that error and it was costly,” K-Mets manager Jose Leger said. “The error came with two outs and things like that happen, but offensively we couldn’t get it going.”
Even after storm clouds made their way to the stadium, umpires allowed play to continue as the few fans still braving the rain and lightning watched.
The Cardinals’ final run came in the ninth. Peoples-Walls doubled between lightning strikes and later scored on a double by Brett Wiley.
“It’s the umpires’ decision but sometimes a rain delay can be hard. But when the lightning came it got scary, but ultimately it is their decision,” Leger said.
The K-Mets recorded six hits on the evening. Ahmed Rosario, who signed a $1.75 million bonus with the Mets organization, recorded his first two hits of the season.
It’s still very early in the Appalachian League season, but Leger was feeling good about his team and his players’ abilities despite the 0-2 start.
“I’m seeing the energy and effort not only in the game but practice,” he said. “We are going to come around. Some of these guys are just getting their feet wet.
"I’m very positive about this year’s team.”
The series with Johnson City continues Saturday night at Hunter Wright. First pitch is set for 6 o’clock.
The K-Mets begin a six-game road trip Sunday with stops in Bristol and Greeneville.