Gomon, Twins power to win over Cardinals

By Matt Wilson
STAR Correspondent

   JOHNSON CITY -- Most people had plans to see fireworks on the 4th of July as part of their Independence Day celebration. The Elizabethton Twins decided to put on a display of their own early in their afternoon game with the Johnson City Cardinals at Howard Johnson Field.
   The bombs were bursting through the air and over the fences early and often as the Twins exploded for five home runs on Friday in a 13-2 Appy Leauge contest.
   Deuces were wild early in the contest as the Twins scored two runs on two hits per inning in each of the first two frames.
   The first roundtripper of the game belonged to Twin first baseman Dusty Gomon as he homered to right field to chase home the catcher, Kyle Phillips.
   In the second, left fielder Justin Sims singled and scored on a another blast by his outfield mate on the right side, Ryan Spataro.
   Former Baltimore manager Earl Weaver used to have a formula for winning baseball: pitching, defense, and the big home run. Skipper Ray Smith must have borrowed that mantra for the day as the Twins were strong in all three categories.
   Former Cornell standout Chris Schutt gave a dominating performance on the mound early for the Twins, fanning six Cards in five innings of work.
   The Twins also showed they could throw the leather around on defense in the third as shortstop J.R. Taylor ranged far to his left to rob Cardinal first baseman Andrew Davie of sure single up the middle and keep the Cards hitless on the day.
   The Twins added a run in the third when Felix Molina singled, then advanced to third on an error by the catcher, who attempted to catch Molina sleeping on first.
   Molina then scored on a wild pitch from Card starter Brett Hoffman. The Cards finally managed to get to Schutt in the fourth when DH Levi Webber walked and advanced to second on a pass ball.
   Marcos Rodriguez then collected the first Cardinal hit and RBI as he doubled home Webber.
   Gomon broke out the lumber again in the fifth as he blasted a towering shot to right, his second homer on the day.
   The Cards plated their second and final run on the day in the fifth when Tanner Wootan was driven home on back-to-back hits from Cody Haerther and Webber.
   The Twins were held scoreless in the sixth and then played long ball again in the seventh. Phillips, the league's leading hitter, crushed a three-run homer to right and the rout was on as the Twins held a commanding 12-2 lead.
   In the eighth, the Twins were held scoreless for only the second time in the game.
   The Twin bullpen touted its strength as it four relievers combined to shut down the Cards for the final four innings. Ryan Hader, Julio Depaula, Tim Henkenjohann and John Lynch closed the door on any hopes of a Card comeback.
   In the Twin ninth, Gomon collected his third home run of the day, the team's fifth, to bring the final tally to 13-2 Twins.
   The major league Twins are two games back of division leader Kansas City, but the young Twins from 'Betsy have shown that help is on the way.
   Elizabethton improved to 12-3 on the Appalachian League campaign to remain in first place while the shellshocked Cards fall to 8-10.