KINGSPORT — The worst of the rain, thunder and lightning somehow managed to bypass Thursday’s Appalachian League doubleheader at Hunter Wright Stadium.
So the Kingsport Mets stirred up a little storm of their own.
The K-Mets hammered out 11 hits, including a season high three home runs, in a 12-2 rout of the visiting Danville Braves to get the party started.
In the second game, Kingsport exploded for five runs in the sixth inning to post an 8-5 comeback to seal the sweep.
“In these mountains here, you never know what’s going to happen with the weather,” said Kingsport manager Jose Leger. “They said (the storm) was coming our way and we said, ‘So be it.’ We’ve got a tarp over there and we can always finish it up later if we have to.”
Amazingly, they never had to.
Richie Rodriguez led the K-Mets lineup, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including his two-run blast over the Reinhart Food Service sign in left field. Rodriguez also had an RBI groundout to plate Kingsport’s first run.
The K-Mets’ other two homers also went over the left field fence. In the fourth inning, Jon Leroux poked a three-run shot over the TimesNews.net sign, the first of two tall orders served up by Danville reliever Matt Kimbrel.
Jeyckol DeLeon gave Kingsport its first big shot of the night against starter Matt Marksberry (1-2), sending the ball sailing over the Greene Coach sign to plate two runs.
“These guys have been swinging the bats really good. We were on the six-day road trip but played only four games. Those games we were swinging it well,” Leger said.
”It was just a matter of time for the offense to come around. We were just patient with it.”
Pedro Perez went 2-for-2, including a three-RBI single in the third inning. Victor Cruzado had an RBI single and Bradley Marquez had a double.
Kingsport right hander Robert Whalen (1-1) did his part to keep the Braves in check. He struck out seven over his six inning shift, walking one.
Whalen gave up the first of only three hits surrendered when Johan Camargo doubled with one out in the fourth inning. Thanks to an error at first, that snowballed into two unearned runs. It was nothing Leger would lose any sleep over.
“He’s been throwing the ball really good. He had his fastball, changeup, everything going for him, today. He had good pace,” said Leger. “He had trouble in one inning when the defense didn’t help him out much, but he came out alright.”
In the second game, 6-foot-7 righty Martires Arias got into some trouble, but the K-Mets lineup and bullpen got him out of it. Alberto Balconado (1-0) got the win in relief. Ricardo Jacquez picked up his third save of the season.
Joe Tuschak went 2-for-3 with a triple and a two-run homer. Marquez went 2-for-3 with a double and Jeff McNeil went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Leadoff batter Yeixon Ruiz went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Rodriguez only got a partial plate appearance in the second game. He was replaced by Perez with in the first inning after he painfully fouled a 1-1 pitch off his leg.