In a seesaw Appalachian League game between West Division foes at Kingsport’s Hunter Wright Stadium, Elizabethton (16-8) took the lead for good in the top of the ninth inning following a dramatic five-run outburst by the K-Mets (13-11) in the bottom of the eighth.
The game featured 14 hits from the Twins and 12 from the K-Mets.
Kingsport led 4-2 after six innings before Elizabethton added three runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to go up 8-4 heading into the bottom of the frame.
But the K-Mets answered.
Raul Beracierta and Phil Capra started the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back walks. One out later, Shervyen Newton walked to load the bases, and Luis Santana followed by drawing a walk that plated a run.
Mark Vientos the came through with a double that scored Capra and Newton and cut the Twins’ lead to 8-7.
Jarred Kelenic, the Mets’ No. 1 draft pick this past June, then earned some of his $4 million-plus signing bonus with a triple that brought home both Santana and Vientos and put the K-Mets ahead 9-8.
TWINS BOUNCE BACK
K-Mets pitcher Nelson Leon looked to shut the door in the top of the ninth, but Elizabethton had other plans.
Chris Williams led off the inning with a solo home run over the left-field fence. After Albee Weiss and Ricky De La Torre reached, the pair scored on back-to-back RBI singles from Andrew Cosgrove and Hunter Lee for an 11-9 Elizabethton lead.
THE FUN DIDN’T END THERE
Beracierta tried to keep the K-Mets’ chances alive in the bottom of the ninth by opening the frame with a walk and moving to second on a wild pitch.
One out later, Guillermo Granadillo singled to move Beracierta to third, and Newton’s sacrifice fly scored Beracierta and cut the Twins’ lead to one run.
But Zach Neff (3-0), Elizabethton’s fourth pitcher, ended the threat by retiring Santana and ending a game that surpassed the 3-hour, 30-minute mark for playing time.
Elizabethton’s Alex Robles had two hits and recorded three RBIs courtesy of a three-run home run in the seventh.
The Twins also got two hits and two RBIs from both DeShawn Keirsey Jr. and Trevor Casanova. Cosgrove and Lee each had two hits and drove in a run, and De La Torre finished with two hits.
Vientos finished with three RBIs and Kelenic and Gavin Garay had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Kingsport. Beracierta and Granadillo recorded two hits apiece.
SERIES FINALE SET FOR MONDAY
The third and final game of the series at Hunter Wright is set for a 6:30 p.m. start time Monday.
A pregame concert is to begin at 5:15 p.m. and fireworks are scheduled for after the game.