'E' - Twins fall to Pulaski, 10-4

By Allen LaMountain

   Six errors and 10 walks doomed the Elizabethton Twins on a rainy Wednesday night at Joe O'Brien Field, where the Pulaski Rangers maintained their grip on first place in the Appalachian League's West Division, with a 10-4 win.
   Pulaski now stands 6-3, while Betsy falls to 3-6 on the young season. Elizabethton has lost each of it's first three series by a 2-1 margin.
   It was a sloppy game on a sloppy night," commented Ray Smith, E-Twins manager. "We got off to a bad start and just got whomped. Walks have been our biggest nemesis so far and that really hurt us tonight."
   In the early portion of the season the only consistent part of Betsy's game has been porous defense and shaky hurling, and this night was a microcosm of their season thusfar.
   Twins starter Tim Henkenjohann, who won his first start in Princeton, got off to a troubled start, and things went downhill from there.
   "Some points of the game I felt good," said Henkenjohann. "But in the fourth I got down a little and things got rough. I'm not the quickest guy to the plate and they took advantage of that. I have to definitely improve on that."
   Henkenjohann gave up four hits in his three and one-third innings of work, but he also made three throwing errors and walked six hitters.
   Jose Gonzalez led off the game with a ringing single to left, and Craig Ringe followed suit to put Pulaski runners at the corners. Charlie Bilezikjian then dropped a sacrifice bunt down that Henkenjohann bobbled and the Rangers had the bases juiced with no outs.
   Henkenjohann then surrendered a run-scoring walk to Nate Gold but recovered to strike out both Julian Charles and Rich Carroll before reverting back to early form and walking Chris Hamblen to force in another run as Pulaski held a two-run lead.
   Henkenjohann struckout seven to go along with his six free passes.
   Twins second baseman Peter Martinez followed a single by Edgardo LeBron with his first professional homer in the home third to knot the game at two, but that would be the last thing Twins fans had to cheer on this night.
   "I have been dropping down bunts lately and getting on base," said Martinez. "That has opened things up for me a little bit."
   The roof fell in on Henkenjohann in the fourth as Jason Bryan singled with one-away and Gonzalez also singled for the Rangers. With Ringe at the plate Henkenjohann tried to pick Gonzalez off first, but his throw went into the Twins dugout, allowing Bryan to score.
   Three consecutive walks and a run-scoring wild pitch followed and that signaled the end for Henkenjohann as Janewrys Simon came on in relief of the big right-hander.
   "He's going to be a good pitcher," said Smith of Henkenjohann. "Right now he's green as grass, but when he puts it all together he'll be special. Believe it or not, I think he will learn a lot from this. He just has to shorten his delivery and learn how to slide step with runners on base."
   Simon got out of the frame with no further damage, but the Twins were now down 5-2, and Simon's best effort of the night was now behind him.
   In the fifth the Twins produced a comedy of errors as catcher Danny Matienzo had a big throwing error in the frame as the Rangers plated five more runs to take a 10-2 advantage.
   A Matienzo throwing error led to a Pulaski run in the fourth as well and he finished with three errors and a passed ball.
   Bilezikjian drove a double to the wall in left with the bases loaded and all three runners scored. Matienzo then fielded the throw from leftfielder Garrett Guzman and attempted to throw Bilezikjian out at second.
   His throw sailed into centerfield as Bilezikjian went to third, and Nate Gold ended Simon's mound stint with a single to left that plated Bilezikjian.
   Once again Guzman threw home in a vain attempt at a putout, and again Matienzo threw the ball away at second as Gold went all the way around to score on the three-base error.
   "Bilezikjian was the player of the game as far as I'm concerned," said Pulaski manager Pedro Lopez. "His double was the killer. It gave us all the momentum from then on. I wasn't happy with our situational hitting tonight, but our pitching has been the key all season so far."
   Simon went one and one-third frames giving up five runs (four earned) on just two hits, but Simon also walked three on the night.
   Chad Pylate, Nick Niedbalski and newcomer Pat Neshek mopped up with four shutout frames, but the damage had been done long ago.
   E-Twins notes : Martinez continues to swing a hot bat, with a three-for-five night including a home run, and LeBron also has been swinging the bat well as he went three-for-four. In this series LeBron went six-for-11 to raise his average to .289. Martinez raised his average from .267 to .350 with his night as he now has seven hits in 20 at-bats.