Twins tumble drops Betsy to fourth in West

Published 6:00 am Thursday, August 22, 2019



The Elizabethton Twins – riding a six-game losing streak – have put two streaks in jeopardy. The first being the defense of their two consecutive Appalachian League titles and the other a much more precious string.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Twins (27-31) are in danger of snapping a streak of 31 years without a losing record. The Twins lost to Pulaski at Northeast Community Credit Union ballpark on August 13 and then took to the road to face last-place Danville.

The Braves (24-35) swept the Twins in three straight one-run games in which the Braves had walk-off wins on the 15th and 17th. Elizabethton then went to Princeton (28-30) where they suffered 4-2 and 8-2 losses to extend the losing streak to six.

The Twins have nine games left including at Princeton on Tuesday with a pair in Johnson City and finishing with the last six at home against Danville and Greeneville. Two more losses clinch the first Twins losing season since 1988 when they finished 33-37 in manager Ray Smith’s second season at the helm.

The Twins 34-34 finish in 2015 was the closest the team came to breaking the streak. To be fair the Twins have lost or sent up more players than any team in the league, but as Smith says, “You go forward with what you have and try to keep things going in a positive direction.”

Bluefield (28-30) first baseman Spencer Horwitz was named Player of the Week for the week of August 12-18 in which he hit .471 with four runs batted in and six runs scored. Elizabethton right-hander Andriu Marin was Pitcher of the Week for his masterful win over Pulaski in which he pitched six shutout innings, walked none and struck out 11 in the Twins 4-2 win, which is the last win registered by Elizabethton.

The Bristol Pirates (29-29) have benefited the most from the Twins swoon moving into second place behind Johnson City (30-29). The BriBucs have gone 6-4 in the last 10 games to leapfrog over Elizabethton.

Pulaski (39-20) continues to dominate with its strong pitching (3.77 ERA) and home run power (65) which leads the league. Burlington (36-23) lead the league with a 3.49 team earned run average.

The Rays first baseman Jake Guenther has been on a tear over the last 10 games raising his average from .333 to .359 going 14-for-39 with seven RBI over that period.

Bluefield first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino has probably swung the hottest bat in the league over the last 10 games with a .432 batting mark with 12 runs batted in. Pasquantino has 11 home runs which are second to Danville’s Bryce Ball who has 13.

Pasquantino however, has moved ahead of Ball in the RBI category with 49 to Horwitz 45. Ball has 38 RBI which ties him with Bluefield first baseman P.K. Morris and is one behind Pulaski third baseman Chad Bell’s 39.

Danville lefthander Mitch Stallings (3-5) looks like a shoo-in for the ERA and strikeout crowns with a 2.25 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 56.0 innings. The next closest in Pulaski’s Jhonthan Munoz (5-3, 4.53) with 59 K’s over 51.2 innings of work.

Games this week include Elizabethton at Johnson City, Bristol at Pulaski, Kingsport at Greeneville, Burlington at Danville and Bluefield at Princeton.