BriSox trip Twins in 10 innings, 6-5

By Allen LaMountain
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   With first place in the Appalachian League's West Division on the line, not to mention a seven game win streak, the Elizabethton Twins traveled to Bristol's DeVault Stadium on Monday to try and put some distance between themselves and the BriSox.
   An old bugaboo came up to bite the Twins however, as two 10th inning errors allowed Bristol to load the bases and Sox first baseman Brendan Bounds' sacrifice fly brought home the winning run as Betsy fell 6-5 in 10 frames.
   "We just wanted the chance to put it in our own hands," said Sox manager Nick Leyva of his teams' three game set with Betsy. "I'm happy with the results. We know we have to play our best game because Elizabethton has a good club."
   The Twins scored a pair of runs in the first when Doug Deeds dropped a two-out single to rightfield and Dusty Gomon followed that with a triple to right-center to plate Deeds.
   A wild pitch by Sox starter Rylan Reed plated Gomon and gave the Twins an early 2-0 advantage.
   "I feel that I hit better when I swing where the ball is pitched," said Gomon, who came off a mini-slump with a two-for-four game that included a double and a pair of RBI. "In certain situations though, you get to thinking a little differently. I really wanted to hit a home run in the 10th, but I popped it up."
   Bristol retaliated against Betsy hurler Tim Henkenjohann for two runs in the second and another in the third as the Sox and Twins were knotted at 3-3 after three stanzas.
   Neither starter was around to get a decision in this one as Henkenjohann went five innings -- giving up five runs on seven hits, while fanning three and walking three -- and left trailing 5-3. Henkenjohann recently was on the disabled list and hasn't yet found his rhthym on the hill.
   "I didn't feel too comfortable tonight," said Henkenjohann. "I got some pitches out over the plate too far, trying too hard maybe, and couldn't get my (pitch) delivery right."
   In the Bristol fifth Andy Gonzalez started things with a one-out single to center and Darren Ciraco blasted a two-run shot the other way (rightfield) to give the Sox a 5-3 lead.
   "It was tough for him to come here," said Leyva. "He was in A ball and had to come down, but his attitude has been great. He wants to be here and help this team win."
   Ciraco's homer was his sixth of the season.
   Nick Niedbalski took over the pitching chores for Betsy in the sixth, and was solid over his three innings of relief work. Niedbalski didn't allow a hit and walked just one in retiring nine of the 10 Sox hitters he faced.
   "I felt pretty good," Niedbalski said. "I just wanted to keep them off balance and try to get the to put it in play. Our defense has been strong, and I'm not going to overpower guys, so I just want to mix in all my pitches."
   Elizabethton tied the game in the top of the seventh when Sandy Hiraldo reached on a catcher's interference and Trent Oeltjen ripped a double to right off Bounds' glove and down the line putting Twins runners on second and third.
   Felix Molina then dropped an 'excuse me' single near the leftfield line and both Hiraldo and Oeltjen hustled home to make it a 5-5 contest.
   Neither team could break through against Twins reliever Jesse Crain, who came into the contest in the ninth, and Sox relievers Todd Deininger and Adam Larson until the last of the 10th.
   Ciraco led off with a grounder that Hiraldo threw too high and pulled Gomon off the bag, and Ciraco was on safely on the E-6. Thomas Brice sacrificed Ciraco over and Edgar Varela was given a free pass to set up the double play.
   Charlie Lisk did just what the Twins hoped for and rapped a taylor-made double play ball to short and once again Hiraldo couldn't find the handle and was charged his second error of the frame and loaded the bases for Bristol.
   "This is a real sandy infield, and there's always a lot of errors here," said Gomon. "Balls take some tricky hops sometimes."
   That set the stage for Bounds who hit a fly ball off a Crain curveball just deep enough to plate the winning run.
   "I threw him a curve, and I should have thrown something harder," said Crain (2-1) who took the loss though the run that scored was unearned. "He got under it enough to get the run home."