The Mets clinched the final spot for the Appalachian League baseball playoffs Monday night with an 8-6, 10-inning win over Johnson City at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The Mets (33-33) entered the contest needing only one win to clinch a spot. The outcome eliminated the Cardinals (29-37).
Kingsport got two runs in top of the 10th inning when Ranfy Adon hit an RBI triple to deep left field to score the runner placed at second base via the International Tiebreak Rule.
Yoel Romero then drove Adon across the plate and the Mets had all the insurance they would need.
“It’s a good feeling. It’s a really good feeling,” Mets manager Sean Ratliff said. “These guys have worked really hard all year through ups and downs. They’re a young ball club and they’ve grown up. They’ve learned a lot, too. We have had some trouble with extra-inning games this year. I think we were 2-3 or something.
“Every now and then, Ranfy shows up and crushes a ball. He roasted that triple into the gap and I thought the center fielder had a beat on it. I was glad when he had to make that turn to go get the ball.”
METS GET OUT FAST
Kingsport got off to the start it needed in the top of the first with Mark Vientos leading off with a two-out single. Domingo Martinez got a double in the next at-bat, advancing Vientos to third.
Ronny Mauricio followed by reaching on a fielding error by Cards shortstop Moises Castillo. Both runners scored on the play and Kingsport owned a 2-0 advantage.
Liam Sabino got on, via a walk, as the second batter of the inning for the Cardinals — starting a small rally.
Dariel Gomez knocked him in with a long single to left field, and the lead was cut in half.
In the bottom of the third, Donivan Williams led things off with a single to left and then stole second. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly. Leandro Cedeno hit a gap shot to left field and scored Williams with a double.
Johnson City had tied the game at two.
The Cardinals seized the lead in the same inning on a single by Michael Perri, plating Cedeno. However, Perri was called out trying to advance to second, thus ending the inning.
KINGSPORT FIGHTS BACK
In the top of the fourth, Kingsport got the lead back (4-3) when Adon knocked a single to right field that scored Raul Beracierta and Kennedy Hernandez.
In the fifth, Yoel Romero led off the inning for Kingsport with a double. Martinez got a single and brought home, Romero, increasing the Mets’ advantage to 5-3.
Kingsport was pouring it on in the seventh when Guillermo Granadillo batted in Romero again, making it a 6-3 game.
CARDS’ POWER SURGE
Cedeno blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to get the Cardinals within one at 6-5.
Andrew Warner then tied the game with a solo homer over the Dr. Enuf sign in left field.
Suddenly, it was an entirely different game.
The Cards had a golden opportunity to win the contest in regulation with runners on first and second with two outs. However, Warner struck out looking on a slider that painted the outside corner of the zone.
The Cardinals and Mets will continue their series on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.