The contest featured three ties and three lead changes over the course of the 3½ hour affair that culminated with a four-run eighth inning by the K-Mets that knocked the Astros out of first place in the Appy League West.
Greeneville reliever Patrick Sandoval worked his way into trouble after issuing a pair of walks and a single in the eighth. Sandoval then walked Dionis Rodriguez to force in Jeremy Wolf with the tying run.
Reggie Johnson relieved Sandoval and got Yeffrey De Aza to pop out on his first pitch, but Strom went the other way for the two-bagger that scored Walter Rasquin, Jose Miguel Medina and Rodriguez.
“A great at-bat there by Strom,” said Kingsport manager Luis Rivera. “We might have been too anxious before that, but Strom stayed back and went the other way, did what he had to do to put us back in the lead.”
The Astros led the game at three different points, 1-0, 2-1 and 5-3, but Rivera said the K-Mets showed a lot of resolve with the comeback.
“It’s not been easy for us lately, and there were several times we could have just said it was over,” added Rivera. “I’m proud of the guys for staying with it.”
Greeneville’s 3-2 lead came on a fifth-inning two-run homer by Connor MacDonald, his fourth round-tripper of the season.
Reed Gamache’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth scored Ricardo Cespedes to tie the score 3-3. But Greeneville went back on top 5-3 in the top of the sixth thanks to a two-run double by Jonathan Arauz.
The K-Mets cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth when Wolf tripled and scored on Rasquin’s single, setting the stage for the eighth.
Cespedes, Wolf and Medina had two hits each for the K-Mets while Wolf, Rasquin and Medina each scored twice. Arauz finished 3-for-3 for the Astros and Abraham Toro-Hernandez 2-for-4 with a run scored. Both teams had 10 hits in the game.
Kingsport starter Jake Simon went five innings, allowing two earned runs and six hits. Simon struck out eight and walked two. Placido Torres and Gregorix Estevez each tossed an inning of relief while Ronald Guedez (2-0) picked up his second win while tossing scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth. Sandoval suffered the loss for the Astros.
Game two of the series is set for Monday night at 7 in Kingsport.