Twins divide doubleheader

Extra-base hits send 'Betsy to 3-2 victory in Game 1

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The Elizabethton Twins broke even with Martinsville on Wednesday, as the two division leaders of the Appalachian League split in doubleheader action.
   In game one, the Twins managed to hold onto a 3-2 victory after being threatened in the final inning, but the Astros responded in the second encounter to capture a 6-2 final.
   "We had a pretty difficult time. We had trouble putting together back-to-back good swings, and threw some good arms at us," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "Good pitching will beat good hitting any day."
   The Twins took an early advantage in the first contest, with their first hit of evening coming off a double to right field from Angelo Fermin.
   A two-run homer to center field from Dusty Gomon followed to give Elizabethton a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
   "Lately we hadn't been able to get the lead early in the game, so we've had to have some of our big boppers up there getting us the early lead to put us in good position," said Smith.
   This was Gomon's ninth home run on the year tying Kingsport's Tyler Davidson for first place in the league.
   "We were able to jump out and get the early lead in the first game, and that was a big advantage for us in helping get the win," said Gomon.
   Martinsville cut the deficit in half during the top of the third, when Jose Acosta smacked a solo homer to left field.
   The Twins answered in the fifth frame when a double down the left-field line from Kyle Phillips brought home Denard Span.
   Errol Simonitch was replaced by Levale Speinger after pitching four innings from the mound.
   Simonitch left the game after giving up four hits and one earned run. He recorded six strikeouts.
   The Astros threatened in their final attempt at bat with two singles to start the seventh coming from Hamilton Sarabia and Edgar Babilonia.
   A fielder's choice from Winfield Garcia drove in Sarabia with just one out remaining.
   Mark Saccomanno, who started the game by capturing two hits in his first two attempts, flew out to second baseman Fermin, giving the Twins a victory in the first contest.
   Elizabethton was not so lucky in its second encounter, as Martinsville jumped out on top in a hurry.
   Left-hander Kevin Culpepper struggled from the mound to start the second game for the Twins.
   Culpepper gave up five straight hits in the first five hitters he faced, which resulted in the Astros scoring four runs.
   The first run crossed when a grounder from Saul Torres made it under the glove of the first baseman Gomon, which enabled Winfield Garcia to come home.
   A three-run homer to left-center field by Kevin Davidson increased the Astros' advantage to four runs, which made it difficult for the Twins in trying to overcome a tough pitching opposition.
   "We scored real early in the game and also had some great pitching, which helped us hold them back, so that was a good game for us," said Martinsville manager Jorge Orta.
   Gomon came up big once again in the second contest, as he hit another home run, to left field, bringing his total to 10 on the season and ranking him first in the league in that department.
   "They came out swinging the bats early, and it was hard for us to try to get up after that, but I tried to spark us the best I could," said Gomon. "Unfortunately, things didn't work out for us."
   Martinsville added two more runs in the top of the third when a chopper from Lance Koenig bounced over the shortstop to bring home Ervin Alcantara and Kevin Vital.
   The Twins were unable to put together a string of hits throughout the contest, which was desperately needed after they fell behind in the early going.
   "We need to get some more guys hitting up and down our lineup. It's hard with one guy carrying the offense, so we need to get it spread around more," said Smith.
   It wasn't until the final inning that the Twins would make some noise, as a hit up the middle from Jason Pospishil and a double to right-center field by Span placed runners into scoring position.
   Jose Soler, who had come in to finish off the last inning for the Astros, threw a wild pitch to hitter J.R. Taylor, which allowed Pospishil to come home for the score.
   Elizabethton was unable to add another run as Phillips flew out to right field for the final out of the night.
   "The Elizabethton Twins are always one of the top teams in the league, so it's always a plus when you can come away with a win against them," said Orta.