Garcia paves way for Elizabethton victory

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   KINGSPORT -- Angel Garcia made himself right at home on the Hunter-Wright Stadium mound Sunday night.
   The 19-year old Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico native only allowed two hits while recording seven strikeouts over five innings, leading the Elizabethton Twins to a 5-1 victory over the Kingsport Mets in Game 1 of an Appy League doubleheader.
   "I felt good out there today," Garcia said between games. "Hopefully, this will be good for us and continue to build our momentum."
   Kingsport won the nightcap, 2-0.
   The Twins used offensive sprees in the second and third innings to compile enough runs to topple the Mets in the opener. Kingsport scored its lone run in the seventh inning.
   Overall it was a good win for the squad, after their second loss of the season Saturday in Johnson City.
   "We got good pitching from Angel, who's quick getting it in," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "He keeps the defense on its toes and we don't have a chance to fall asleep out there, which is a good thing."
   "The game started with our pitching and we built a few hits, which was enough to get us over the top."
   Both teams sat down quickly in the first inning, but Elizabethton found its groove in the second.
   Dusty Goman delivered a sharp, line double into right field, followed by a single from Brock Peterson. Ryan Spataro and J.R. Taylor walked, bringing Goman across the plate for Elizabethton with a 1-0 lead.
   The 'Betsy bombers picked things back up in the third inning with a single from Felix Molina, who stole his way around and scored on a wild throw. Goman walked, then a Peterson single placed two aboard for Twins catcher Jesse Collins.
   The Florida native doubled, scoring two more runs for 'Betsy.
   Spataro flew out during his next attempt, scoring Collins in the process. Ron Perodin and J.R. Taylor climbed aboard with a single and an error, but the Mets fought their way out of the inning, as Elizabethton led 5-0.
   Dante Brinkley and Tyler Davidson got the lone hits from Garcia in the fourth inning, but the talented right-hander struck out two batters to end the frame.
   The Twins wound out the game with a hit from Spataro and another double from Collins. John Lynch and Julio DePaula relieved Garcia in the final two innings, with DePaula walking two and giving up an RBI double to James Wallace in the seventh inning.
   Although both were struggling offensively coming in, Peterson and Collins led Elizabethton with 2-for-4 games. It was a good sign for both players.
   "If felt pretty good out there today," said the University of North Florida standout Collins. "I haven't been hitting it well during the past couple of games. I saw it well today with this backdrop here and they have a good group of pitchers to hit."
   "It's my first year and I'm still learning it," said Peterson, the first-year player out of W.F. West High School in Chuhalis, Wash. "I've got to make adjustments. I've been working with Jeff Reed, and changed my stance today where it felt more natural."
   The Twins rode a heavy streak before it came to an end against the Cardinals. The players believe if they keep their focus, they can keep the momentum in league play.
   "All streaks come to an end," said Collins. "Coach Smith told us today to start a new one and win some more games."
   Added the sharp third-baseman Peterson: "It's a nice situation with this team. Everybody is friends and we share the same goals, which is part of our success."
   The game was part of a late seven-inning double-header. We will have more on the second game in Tuesday's paper.
   (Editor's Note: Due to deadline concerns, Game 2 information will appear in Tuesday's edition)