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K-Mets sweep opening series as Santana’s walkoff single thwarts Rays

By KEVIN MAYS [email protected] • Jun 21, 2018 at 10:25 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Mets continue to find ways to win early in the season.

The K-Mets remained unbeaten with a 5-4 Appalachian League win over the Princeton Rays at Hunter Wright Stadium Thursday thanks to a walkoff single from Luis Santana.

“We’ve sort of kind of showed it all in the first three games,” said K-Mets manager Sean Ratliff. “This team just has no quit in it, and that’s one of the things I love most about working with them. They’re never going to quit. They’re never going to lay down, no matter what the score is. They’re always going to battle, they’re always going to grind their way through at bats and they’re going to fight for every out.”

The win completed a series sweep of the Rays (0-3) by the K-Mets (3-0), who travel to Johnson City tonight to start a three-game series.

DRAMATIC WIN

The Mets led 4-2 going into the ninth inning before Princeton rallied to score two runs.

In the bottom of the ninth, L.A. Woodward delivered a one-out single and then moved to second on a single to left from Joel Romero. One out later, Santana delivered single to right-center field and Woodward scored from second to win the game for the K-Mets.

COME FROM BEHIND

Princeton went ahead early in the game thanks to two miscues from Woodward.

Jonathan Aranda reached second on a throwing error from Woodward and then scored on another throwing error from the K-Mets shortstop to put Princeton ahead 1-0.

The P-Rays added to their lead in the top of the third when Pedro Diaz doubled to start the inning and then scored on a two-out single from Jordan Qsar.

Kingsport used a strong offensive outing in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.

The K-Mets scored three runs on three hits to grab a 3-2 advantage.

Luis Santana started the Kingsport fourth with a double off Zack Trageton. Gavin Garay then singled to score Santana.

Garay later scored in the inning, thanks to a wild pitch and an error by Aranda.

Raul Beracierta reached first on the same error by Aranda and then stole second. After moving to third on a single from Phil Capra, Beracierta scored on a sacrifice fly to right field from Ranfy Adon.

The K-Mets added another run in the fifth when Garay drew a two-out walk and then scored on a double from Anthony Dirocie.

RALLY IN THE NINTH

The scored remained 4-2 until Princeton tied things up in the top of the ninth.

K-Mets reliever Eric Villanueva blew a save opportunity when he gave up a walk to Vincent Byrd and allowed a bunt single to Jose Tonton. One out later, Wander Franco was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

A wild pitch from Villanueva then allowed Byrd to score. Tonton then scored when Aranda hit a ground ball to shortstop. Woodward fielded the ball at short, but Tonton scored when Woodward chased down Franco at second for the second out of the inning.

Tonton’s run tied the game at 4 before the K-Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth to take the victory.

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