E-Twins score first conquest on strenght of Burns' bat

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff

  BRISTOL -- Deacon Burns could've completed a cycle, but he kept on going.
  In his first professional appearance, the Elizabethton Twins left-fielder hit a solo homer, an RBI triple and two RBI doubles to lead his team to its first Appalachian League win of the season in a 10-3 decision over the Bristol White Sox in the first seven-inning game of a doubleheader Thursday night.
  The Twins fell 7-2 in the second game at Boyce Cox Field.
  "The guys haven't lost confidence in their ability. They've been blessed and they didn't give up after a couple of losses," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "We'll see where we are sitting when all the dust settles in August. We're going to score some runs. These guys have too much athleticism to not put some runs up on the board."
  "I was happy to see Deacon come out there, he didn't back off, he attacked and had a career night his first night," he said. "It'll be tough for him to measure up whatever he does from now on. He could've hit a cycle, but he bypassed it on that naildriver in his last at bat. I'm happy for the troops, they know that the good work is starting to pay off."
  Burns had the chance at a cycle in the seventh inning, but advanced to second after his hit bounced off the right-field wall.
  "(The Cycle was) what everyone was talking about, then I struck out (in my fourth) at bat," said Burns, who wound up with six RBIs overall in both games. "Then I got the double off the wall and they said, 'you should pull up at first.' I was happy with the double, I just hope we can keep on winning from here."
  The Brownwood, Texas native's power may have surprised a few people. He is the shortest guy on the team at five-foot-eight, but he played like the biggest.
  "I'm wanting to prove to everyone that I can play a little bit," said the 26th-round pick, who previously played at a Division II school in South Dakota.
  The first game was also the first professional appearance for Twins pitcher Matthew Fox, who was one of the top five picks in the draft.
  The former Central Florida standout had a rough first inning, giving up two hits and all three Bristol runs.
  But he battled back with four strikeouts and didn't allow a hit in the next three innings before he was replaced by Metairie, Louisiana's Jonathan Martinez.
  "I was happy (with the pitching)," Smith said. "After that first inning, 'Ol Foxie started to get in a groove around the third or fourth then he reached his pitch limit and we had to get him out of there."
  "That's his first pro appearance. I'm sure he was nervous, but he was strong and I'm impressed with his power arm."
  Fox knew he didn't have his best stuff in the beginning of the game.
  "I'm just glad we got the win," the Coral Springs, Fla., native said. "I was a little rusty and didn't have really any of my pitches workings except for spotting on my fastball here and there. I didn't have a breaking ball, so they were just waiting on the fastball."
  "I got ahead early, but luckily I battled out there and got through," he said. "(The first game) wasn't too hard, it was me not executing my pitching. If I would've had my stuff, I would've done a little bit better."
  Elizabethton scored a pair of runs to open the game when Burns tripled Northridge, California's Trevor Plouffe across the plate before scoring himself on a David Winfree sacrificed fly.
  The White Sox returned the favor with Evan Tartaglia walking and scoring on a Jose DeLos Santos single. Bristol took their lone lead of the game when Mike Gulan followed up with a two-run jack.
  Burns evened it up periodically with his solo shot over the right-field fence in the third inning.
  In the fourth, Plouffe drove in Matt Tolbert, who had walked, with a single before scoring his second of three runs on Burns' first double.
  The sixth inning saw Patrick Ortiz, an infielder from Puerto Rico, get his first hit, a double, for Elizabethton. He would later score when Landon Burt advanced on an error and Plouffe got his second RBI single of the game.
  The Twins combined for five runs in the seventh inning, with Winfree and Plouffe scoring on wild pitches.
  Burns drove across Johnny Woodard and Ortiz, who both walked, with his final double before right-fielder Jeremy Pickrel singled him across
  In relief, Martinez allowed two hits, but was backed up by solid defense in order to get his first professional victory in front of the 1,722 in attendance at Bristol. Fairfield, Ohio's second-year player Jason Bowlin closed things out in the seventh for the Twins.
  Bristol went through five pitchers in the game after starting Charlie Haeger, who is known for his knuckleball. The White Sox went through the other four pitchers in the final 3 1/4 innings.
  Game Two
  Bristol 7
  Elizabethton 2
  Evan Meek took the loss after a tough first start in his second season at Elizabethton.
  Bristol scored three runs in the first inning, and had a four run fourth to lead the way to their second win of the season.
  Jeff Schmidt had an RBI single to lead the first inning scoring for Bristol, before he and Javier Castillo scored on an errant Elizabethton exchange that could've ended the inning.
  Brandon Johnson and Castillo each had a two-run single in the fourth for the White Sox.
  The Sox were led on the mound by Yunior Novoa, who had eight strikeouts and only allowed two hits in four innings of work on the mound.
  The victory, however, went to Juan Bello, who struck out three in two innings to close things out for Bristol.
   Elizabethton got its first run in the fifth when Javier Lopez scored on a Plouffe sacrificed fly. Jay Yaconetti doubled in the sixth before scoring on an RBI single from Burns.
  'Betsy couldn't put anything else together.
  Tonight, the Twins host the Princeton Devil Rays for the first of a three-game home stand.
  Fans be sure to come to the ballpark at 4 p.m., as the Principal Financial Group Family Fun Fest invades Joe O'Brien Field.
  The traveling baseball show will feature over 20 baseball themed attractions, including the Microsoft X-Box Home Run Derby Trailer, a Minor League Baseball Museum, Batting and Pitching Cages and slides.
  A movie will be shown after the game on a large screen that will be blown up in the field.