'Betsy winning streak halted at nine games

By Wes Holtsclaw

   After a nine-game winning streak, the Elizabethton Twins were due a dismal inning or two.
   Coming away victorious in the first two outings against the Johnson City Cardinals, the 'Betsy Bombers were rocked in the first two innings at Cardinal Park on Saturday night.
   Although the team played stellar defense the final seven innings, they came up short offensively and fell to their Western Division rival, 5-2.
   "It was a good one to win," said Johnson City Cardinal manager Pop Warner. "We needed that in the worst way. We got some timely hits, for the most part played good defense and picked it up at the end with good pitching tonight."
   The Twins (9-2) opened with a single from Denard Span and loaded the bases with walks from Kyle Phillips and Brock Peterson before the redbirds sat them down defensively.
   Johnson City (6-7) bounced back with back-to-back singles from Cal Hayes and Tanner Wootan before Andrew Davie lit up Cardinal Park with a huge three-run homer over the right-field wall into Spurrier Field.
   "I looked horrid on the first pitch," said the Arkansas native Davie on his fourth homer of the year. "The next one was the best change-up I've seen in a long time and I took it."
   The Twins fought through tough pitching from Brett Hoffmann with a walk to Justin Arneson.
   Span grabbed his second hit of the night, driving in Arneson before Felix Molina hammered a triple into center field to pull Elizabethton within one.
   As soon as the Twins built up momentum, the Cards were breathing down their spine. Tavaris Gary and Andy Schutzenhofer singled for Johnson City, setting up a big two-run double from Cal Hayes to take a 5-2 advantage.
   The Twins had three more chances to grab runs after singles from Phillips and Kyle Geiger, but the lineup fell apart after the fourth batter as the bottom five hitters combined for one of Elizabethton's 11 hits in the game.
   Twin relievers Hiroyuki Lida and Eric Brandon finished the game out for Elizabethton, only allowing four hits in the final four frames. But the Cards were gunning for a win, which they took in front of a large home crowd.
   "Anytime you beat these guys, it's a boost," said Warner. "They are the top team in the division and the league, and it shows our players we can beat anybody when we use tough defense to win games."
   Added Davie, who finished two of three on the evening: "We wanted to win this game and get out of the losing streak. We have to keep doing what we did tonight the rest of this season."
   Hayes, Frisella and Schutzenhofer had two singles for the Cardinals, while Span, Phillips and Geiger had three shots for the Twins.
   Elizabethton travels to Kingsport Sunday for a double-header at Howard Johnson Field. Game time is 6 p.m.