These Kingsport Mets just keep making history.
After clinching their first Appalachian League playoff berth since 1996, the K-Mets added a divisional title to their list of accomplishments in 2013 with Thursday's 9-1 rout of the Bluefield Blue Jays.
Kingsport last won the West Division crown in 1996. That earns the K-Mets home field advantage for the opening round of the postseason. Kingsport will play its first game against the runner-up in the East Division on Saturday, then host Game 2 on Sunday and Game 3, if necessary, on Monday.
Several K-Mets enjoyed big offensive nights as part of Kingspor's nine-run, 10-hit onslaught. Champ Stuart and Adrian Abreu both hit their first home runs of the season, with Stuart's also his first professional homer.
Stuart also doubled as part of a three-hit, three-run night. In the No. 2 spot, Jeff McNeil also had three runs scored despite going without a hit. He also drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Dominic Smith, the Mets' first-round pick in the June draft, took the final two at-bats at designated hitter. He doubled twice, with his first bringing in two runs. In four plate appearances, Smith is 2-for-2 with two walks for a 1.000 on-base percentage.
Michael Bernal also had a good night, reaching safely in three of his trips as part of a 2-for-4, two-RBI night.
Gaby Almonte (1-0) worked six strong innings in the start in his Kingsport debut. Called up from the Gulf Coast League just a few days ago, Almonte allowed one run on Bluefield slugger Matt Dean's home run as part of three hits. He got through the six innings on only 82 pitches. Edioglis Villasmil finished the game for his first save. He worked three perfect innings, with his only base runner reaching on a walk.
Kingsport's playoff status is now confirmed, thanks to the Greeneville Astros' 3-2 loss to Danville in 10 innings. Greeneville locked up second place thanks to Pulaski's 4-2 win over Elizabethton, which eliminated the Twins from playoff condition. That result also propelled the Mariners to the top of the East Division; they lead Bluefield by a half-game going into the final day of the regular season
NOTES: Stuart hit a ground-rule double in the bottom of the fourth that initially was ruled a home run before the ruling was corrected. … Zak Wasilewski (4-2) took the loss for Bluefield. … The final regular-season game for both these playoff-bound teams takes place Friday night at Hunter Wright Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.