The Greeneville Astros (24-20) took the series victory against the Burlington Royals (21-25) with each team taking a win from the double header Tuesday night. The Astros and Royals split the season series with three wins and three losses apiece.
Game one quickly took a turn in the first as the Royals struck three times for the early 3-0 lead. Cal Jones hit a one-out double to left field, but after a strike out Reed Rohlman doubled on a sharp liner to right. The Royals followed that up with an RBI single and an RBI triple before grounding out for the last out of the inning.
The Astros pitching staff would settle down and not allow a run for the next four innings thanks to the efforts of Francisco Villegas and Tim Hardy. Offensively the Astros started chipping away at the lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a Patrick Mathis walk and a single by Brody Westmoreland. Both runners advanced a base on a double steal, but back-to-back strikeouts cuffed the Astros before catcher Ruben Castro singled on a grounder to center scoring both runners.
Looking to take and keep the lead, Greeneville brought a pair of runs across the plate in both the fifth and sixth innings. Greeneville loaded the bases in the fifth with a single, hit by pitch and a walk setting up Reid Russell for his second double of the year on a line drive to left field just missing a grand slam. Russell's two RBI double gave Greeneville a one-run lead.
Burlington put up two runs of their own in the top of the sixth as Greeneville was faced with the bases loaded and no outs. Reliever Willy Collado was able to limit the damage as Burlington only scored on a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.
Greeneville kept the trend of scoring a pair of runs going in the bottom of the sixth with what would be the decisive runs. Center fielder Wilson Amador singled to start the inning and stole second base, his 16th on the year. A balk advanced Amador to third, but Amador trotted home as Gilberto Celestino smashed his fourth home run of the year over the right center field wall for the 6-5 lead. Willy Collado came out and pitched the seventh and retired three Royals to secure the game one victory.
Game two was a nail biter as it came down to the last inning before a winner was determined. Greeneville starter Adam Bleday sent Burlington down in order in the top of the first which set the tone for the rest of the night. Bleday went on to pitch five innings giving up one unearned run and striking out eight batters in a stellar performance. The lone run against Bleday was courtesy of a fielding error on a single to right in the top of the second scoring a runner from first.
The Astros offense saw a handful of scoring opportunities throughout the contest. Wilson Amador doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and collected his league leading seventeenth stolen base before being stranded at third. Roman Garcia did much of the same in the fourth with a leadoff double, but three consecutive outs kept him from scoring.
Burlington went on to add one run in both the sixth and seventh innings helping solidify the victory. After loading the bases with no outs, Greeneville pitcher Dariel Aquino escaped by only giving up one run on a bases loaded walk before striking out two and recording a force out at home. Burlington's run in the seventh was courtesy of a throwing error on a bunt single advancing the runner to third. An RBI ground out gave Burlington their third and final run of the game.
Greeneville brought home their first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn't string together enough hits to tie the game. Cody Bohanek singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a ground out to first by Celestino. After a walk and a strike out, Martin Figueroa knocked an RBI single off of Burlington's third baseman before a ground out ended the inning. Unable to score in the seventh, Greeneville came just short of sweeping Burlington with a 3-1 loss.
The Astros now head on the road for a brief three game series against the Elizabethton Twins before returning home for a double header against the Kingsport Mets on Saturday August 12th. First pitch is set for 4:00pm and the first 1,000 fans will receive a Gizmo bobble belly courtesy of Laughlin Memorial Hospital.
The Astros are the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. For more information, visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.