Twins sweep past Bluefield

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Bluefield was hoping that Tuesday night's rain would drench any chance the Elizabethton Twins had to win Wednesday night.
   However, the Twins (19-16) kept their momentum and swept the Bluefield Orioles (21-13) 5-0 and 2-1 Wednesday night at Joe O'Brien Field.
   Behind stellar pitching from Ricky Barrett, Ryan Smith, and Justin Keeling, as well as the stellar hitting performance from Trent Oeltjen and a homer from Scott Whitrock, the Twins blasted their way to a first place tie with Kingsport in the Appy League Standings.
   "Either one could've gone either way," said Twins manager Ray Smith, "In this part of the season, you just tend to see them starting to improve. And they've improved on their fundamentals."
   The starting pitching was quality, and then the bullpen just shut them down. We got timely hitting, and it's just no mystery in how to win. Had a couple of breaks, but it's just fun to watch them improve and get better."
   The first game started out as a defensive battle, with no scoring through four and a half innings of play. The Twins saw great pitching from Ricky Barrett, who flirted with a no-hitter through four and a third innings and tallied seven strikeouts in six.
   Elizabethton did all of the scoring in the game, starting with an RBI single from Trent Oeltjen, scoring Sam Taylor to take the 1-0 lead.
   Elizabethton wore down Oriole pitcher James Johnson in the sixth inning, loading the bases for Paul Henry. Henry walked in Cory Agar, when a 4-3 RBI ground out from Edgardo LeBron scored Justin Sims.
   The Twins followed up with a massive two RBI single from Oeltjen, scoring Daniel Marin and Scott Whitrock, taking the 5-0 lead over the 'Baby Birds.'
   Bluefield couldn't follow up, as Pat Neshek's pitching sealed the deal for Elizabethton, as he picked up his eighth save in the first win for the Twins.
   Oeltjen led the Twins with a three of four performance with three ribbies in the process.
   "I was trying to stay loose," said Oeltjen, "We had runners in scoring position and I had to get hits to bring them in."
   Game two was a tight battle from the beginning, Bluefield just got a lucky start on Elizabethton.
   The Orioles opened with a standup double from Tom Joyce, who scored off an Eric Smallwood grounder, giving Bluefield a 1-0 lead.
   The Twins came close on many occasions, but didn't get a grip on anything until the fifth inning, when Scott Whitrock laid the smackdown on a 2-0 pitch over left-centerfield to tie the game at 1-1.
   "I've been struggling lately, but slowly coming out of it," said Whitrock, "It was 2-0 and I was looking for a fast one on the inside corner and I got the pitch. If it had been any other pitch, I would've missed it."
   The Twins took the Orioles the complete distance, and came across Jeff Montani at the end. With the bases loaded, Bluefield moved five players into the infield, as Montani threw a wild pitch allowing Danny Matienzo to tag across the plate with a score to win the game at 2-1.
   The Twins play a three game series at home against the Danville Braves starting Friday with 4-H Night, with game time at 7 p.m.