Cardinals rally past Twins in game one

Published 12:27 am Sunday, September 4, 2016


On Saturday evening the Appalachian League playoffs began at Joe O’Brien Field, but unfortunately for the Elizabethton Twins the visiting Johnson City Cardinals rallied late to take game one 7-4.

The game was a see saw affair through seven innings all tied at 3-3 before Cardinals designated hitter Jacob Lopez crushed a pitch from reliever Hector Lujan over the fence in left centerfield to give JC a 5-3 lead.

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“(Lujan) got behind the hitter 3-1 and left his pitch middle up,” said Twins manager Ray Smith. “The game is a game of critical situations and he gave it his best effort and he left it out there to a power guy who hit it over the fence like he is supposed to.”

Twins first baseman Lewin Diaz gave the Twins the early lead with a home run to left field – a solo opposite field shot – that gave Betsy a 1-0 lead. The Twins made it 2-0 in the third when Luis Martinez singled and Ariel Montesino reached on an infield error to put runners at first and second with one away.

Caleb Hamilton came through with an RBI single off Cardinals lefty Ross Vance for a two run Elizabethton lead. Vance was tough posting 11 strikeouts with his high leg kick and sidearm slingshot delivery through six innings of work.

“Any road game you can win on the road in the playoffs is huge,” said Cards manager Chris Swauger. “I thought Ross did a great job filling up the strike zone and he was pretty tough to hit. 11 strikeouts in six innings is pretty impressive. He fought through some adversity and kept missing bats.”

The Cardinals scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game when Mathew Fiedler reached on a one out walk and catcher Andrew Knizner tripled to centerfield to plate Fiedler. After a walk to Lopez, Bryce Denton singled in the tying run off Twins starter Miguel DeJesus.

In the fifth the Twins took the lead back at 3-2 with Hamilton driving in his second run of the game, this time it was Montesino who singled and moved into scoring position on a passed ball.

After the Lopez blast the Twins cut the Cardinals lead to 5-4 in the eighth on an RBI double off the bat of Diaz who missed a game tying home run by a foot or less. Diaz was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple and an opportunity was lost with that decision.

In the ninth JC added a pair of runs with J.R. Davis hitting a sacrifice fly to bring home one run and Fiedler drove home another with a two out single.

Game two is set for today at Cardinal Park with game time set for 6 pm.
Game One

Joe O’Brien Field

Johnson City 7-4

Johnson City 000 201 022 – 7 9 2

Elizabethton 011 010 010 – 4 9 1

W – MaVorhis L – Lujan

HR – Diaz, Lopez. 3B – Knizner. 2B – Diaz.