Twins trim Bristol

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Two down, one to go.
   Ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Elizabethton Twins were holding the diamond against the Bristol White Sox, who had two on with an error and a single.
   Mike Bohlander stepped up with a big shot into left field, where Twins Australian outfielder Jason 'Pops' Pospishill made a heroic dive and catch.
   Pospishill rocketed the ball to second-baseman Justin Arneson, who tagged out Matthew Herring on a controversial close play to give the 'Betsy Bombers' their second-straight victory against division leading Bristol.
   The 2-1 decision at O'Brien Field Sunday night pulls Elizabethton within a game and a half of the West Division lead.
   The final play didn't sit in too well with Bristol manager Jerry Hairston, who charged the umpires and was tossed from the ballgame, even though the contest had already ended.
   Hairston refused comment, but it looked like a legit call to Twins manager Ray Smith.
   "I thought he was out," Smith said. "The ump got it right to me. We made two good plays in the pressure cooker. A lot of guys don't want them, but Pops had a great run and dive and throws it to Arneson, who covered the bag well."
   Bristol had the bases loaded in the eighth when Arneson made a solid play to get Elizabethton out of the inning.
   The Twins were fortunate to get out of the game with the victory, considering they made five errors compared to Bristol's one.
   "Both clubs had four errors last night, it wasn't everybody," Smith said. "But we weren't aggressive in a couple of spots. Things tightened up pretty good tonight. Arneson was always an outfielder and now he's at second and getting better everyday. He had a big play in the eighth."
   The Twins opened with solid pitching from Errol Simonitsch, who held the Sox hitless through four innings.
   Elizabethton were plagued with poor base-running after hits in the first two innings but climbed onto the board after a roaring fourth-inning homer from Brock Peterson that cleared the right-center wall.
   Bristol took advantage of a double from Jhonny Rivera in the fifth inning when Chris Young walked. Young got caught in a run-down between first and second when Rivera crossed to tie the game around an errant throw.
   It was quiet until the eighth inning, when Rivera singled for the Sox, followed by an errored shot from Chris Young and a Robert Valido walk to load the bags.
   Melvin Perez sent a shot to Arneson, who bobbled it to shortstop Angelo Fermin to escape the inning.
   Fermin walked to open the eighth inning for Elizabethton, advancing on a balk and a stolen base. Bristol recorded two straight outs before Kyle Phillips stepped up for the Twins.
   Phillips knocked a blooper into left field, scoring Fermin to give 'Betsy a 2-1 lead. Elizabethton got a hit from Dusty Goman before a Brock Peterson fielder's choice led to a Phillips out at third.
   "Phillips has had some bad luck and he battles in there and dumps in the winning run," Smith added. "The little things count just as much and we'll take them all."
   The Twins fought out of the ninth inning to take a much-needed victory according to Phillips, who had two hits for Elizabethton.
   "It's a big thing right now in a relatively short season (to get the win over Bristol)," said Phillips. "It's getting down to the wire and we've got to keep up. It's a big advantage to take the first two out of three coming in."
   Levale Speigner took the victory for the Twins after relieving Eric Brandon, who came in during the sixth, for the final two defensive frames.
   "It's huge," said the Georgia native Speigner, who took his third win of the season. "We are playing scrappy for everything we can get. We played great defense tonight. Pops was big at the end with the double play and Arneson in the eighth. Two huge plays helps us get the win."
   Rivera and Cesar Castillo led Bristol with two hits.
   Corwin Malone had his second rehab start for the White Sox last night after beginning the season with the Birmingham Barons. He was removed after the fourth inning and Dwayne Polluck took the loss on the mound.
   Added Twins skipper Smith: "It was a fun game to manage and play. We were pleased with the result and way it turned out. It was a pretty good game from both sides that attacked with good pitching that beats good hitting.
   "It was pretty well played."
   Twins first-baseman and designated hitter Dusty Goman entered the season as one of the top prospects in the Minnesota system.
   Goman struggled early but has slowly came along throughout the middle part of the season.
   "It's coming along good," said the Jacksonville, Fla. product, who had two hits in Sunday's game. "I've been working everyday and I'm starting to show some results the last few weeks."
   The Twins host Bristol for 4-H Night tonight, where 4-H'ers can get in the game free with a clover. It will be a big game for Elizabethton after the two victories.
   "It's a huge two wins," Gomon added. "We've got our confidence back up and we hope to get another one tomorrow."
   The Twins will hold a free baseball clinic today from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the area youth. Lunch will be provided after a solid instructional day.