Mets Win in Wild Walk-off Fashion
The Kingsport Mets showed a flair for the dramatic on Saturday, rallying to defeat the Elizabethton Twins by a 5-4 margin. Down 4-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Kingsport scored five runs in the final two innings and walked off victorious when a wild pitch allowed Jeff Diehl to race home with the decisive tally with two outs showing in the bottom of the ninth.
The K-Mets (3-7) ended a four-game losing streak and posted their first home win of the season, delighting those in attendance at Hunter Wright Stadium. Kingsport also halted a seven-game win streak for the Twins (8-2), who sat comfortably atop the Appalachian League's Western Division.
After getting through the first seven innings in fairly brisk fashion, the game got wild in the eighth. Elizabethton scored all its runs in the top of the eighth on two hits, a pair of errors, and a pair of walks. The second error was very damaging for the K-Mets, as it allowed Elizabethton's second run to score all the way from second base. It also set the stage for a two-run double by Kelvin Ortiz, giving the Twins a seemingly commanding lead.
Kingsport battled back, however. A ground-rule double by Jon Leroux plated Diehl, who had doubled earlier in the inning, and put the K-Mets on the board. That ended a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. Kingsport had dropped a tough 2-1 decision in 15 innings at Greeneville the previous night. An Elizabethton error accounted for the K-Mets' second run, and set the stage for a thrilling bottom of the ninth.
Taking their final at-bats, Kingsport loaded the bases after groundball singles by Amed Rosario and Victor Cruzado, and Twins reliever Dallas Gallant (1-1) plunked Diehl. Leroux loomed large again, blasting a line single into center to score Rosario and Cruzado. Diehl moved to third, and a throwing error by Elizabethton allowed Leroux to reach scoring position as well.
Elizabethton pulled Gallant for southpaw Luis Nunez, and Kingsport played the numbers game by inserting Richie Rodriguez to pinch-hit for left-hander Jeff McNeil. Rodriguez never even had to swing the bat; Nunez's second pitch sailed well wide of the plate, and Diehl scored with ease.
Flabio Ortega (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Kingsport, which will try to carry over this positive momentum on Sunday in the second leg of this three-game series with the Twins. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
NOTES: K-Mets starter Carlos Gomez worked 6 2-3 scoreless innings, limiting the Twins to three hits and allowing only one knock through the first three innings. … The K-Mets left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Elizabethton's best early chance to score came in the top of the seventh, after Bryan Haar led off with a triple and was stranded at third. … Counting an 8-0 shutout loss at Greeneville on Thursday, Kingsport had posted a single run in a span of 36 innings before breaking through with two in the eighth on Saturday. … K-Mets manager Jose Leger used 13 position players.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.