KINGSPORT — A nine-game homestand against the bottom teams in the Appalachian League standings is the perfect chance to make a charge at the first-place spot in the West Division.
It’s an opportunity that may end up being wasted after the Princeton Rays swept a doubleheader from the Kingsport Mets, 2-0 and 6-2, on Tuesday evening at Hunter Wright Stadium.
The K-Mets’ nine-game home swing includes three- game series with the Bristol White Sox and the Burlington Royals. They, along with Princeton, take up the bottom three spots in the league.
Pitcher Martires Arias was close to perfect for Kingsport in the first game. He pitched six innings and allowed just two runs on three hits.
The runs, and the hits, came in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Princeton’s Spencer Edwards and Hunter Lockwood.
In the other five innings, Arias was perfect — facing the minimum number of batters.
The Mets provided little offensive support for their pitcher. The team managed just six hits and only one runner got past second base.
The Rays opened the second game with three early runs, highlighted by Lockwood’s RBI triple.
The lead ballooned to 6-0 before Kingsport came up with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Richie Rodriguez’s solo shot accounted for the sixth-inning score, and Adrian Abreu added a RBI single in the seventh.
The losses put Kingsport 3½ games behind division-leading Greeneville.
While the K-Mets are enjoying a long homestand, the Astros are in the opposite situation. Greeneville is currently in the midst of its longest road trip of the season — 12 games.
There are a little more than two weeks left in the rookie-league season before the expanded playoffs begin.
Before last season, the Appalachian League champion was chosen in a playoff between division winners. But as of 2012, the first- and second- place teams in each division play each other in a three- game series for the right to meet in the championship series.
The K-Mets’ homestand continues tonight against Princeton. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.