E-Twins pull out another close game   

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

  TUSCULUM--The Elizabethton Twins like those close ones.
  For the eighth time this season, the 'Betsy Bombers held off a late charge and came through with a one-run victory.
  This time it was a 3-2 decision at the expense of the rival Greeneville Astros at Tusculum College's beautiful, new Pioneer Field on Saturday night.
  "We've had a lot of one-run games," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "These are fun games to coach."
  The Twins only have one loss this season in a game that was seperated by the number one, that coming in a 5-4 loss at Johnson City on July 5.
  Rain almost hampered Saturday's action as there was a one-hour delay before the first pitch was thrown.
  Elizabethon gave up one run through the first seven innings, that coming in the first offensive frame for Greenville.
  Aside from that and an error-filled eighth, the squad's pitching staff and defense held up well.
  Glen Perkins had a successful five-inning start to pick up his first professional victory. He tossed eight strikeouts and allowed two hits, which both came in the opening frame.
  J.P. Martinez held his own for two innings before errors plagued John Williams' eighth. Frank Mata came through for the squad with another save by striking out two of the three he faced in the ninth.
  "We're getting pretty good pitching and defense (to help us win games)," Smith said. "It's no mystery, it's been the same ever since Abner Doubleday came up with this game 150 years ago. If you get pretty decent pitching, it's going to keep your defense off the field and give your offense a chance to score some runs.
  "The pitching gave us a chance to score some runs and we were able to hold on late."
  Greeneville took the opening lead after a leadoff single from Hector Hernandez, who came across on a sacrifice fly from home-run hitting Mitch Einertston.
  The Twins weren't able to tie things up until the second with an opening walk from Johnny Woodard, who reached on a triple into the left-center gap by former Ole Miss standout Matt Tolbert.
  'Betsy was held hitless until the sixth by a solid starter in Brad James. But James gave up a hit to Deacon Burns and a walk to Jeremy Pickrel before giving the mound to Matthew O'Donnell.
  O'Donnell got the second out in David Winfree, but got rocked by the next batter.
  Woodard, after scoring the first run, came through with a big two-run triple in his third at bat to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.
  Elizabethton had another chance at scoring in the eighth.
  Trevor Plouffe opened with a double and Burns walked. When Pickrel flew out, Plouffe was caught trying to tag and take third.
  Winfree got his bat in gear on the next pitch with a double and Burns headed towards the plate where he was called out on a close tag, prompting a visit to the home plate umpire from Smith.
  Things wouldn't get better at the time for Elizabethton.
  Winfree gave Neil Sellers a bag with a throwing error.
  Sellers, who it appeared was tagged out at second, was declared safe, thus prompting another visit from Smith.
  The call almost hurt the Twins, as Sellers scored on a sacrificed grounder from Chris Uhle, who hit into a double play.
  Williams got the final out on strikes, before Mata came out during the next frame with hard pitches to help the team seal the win and earn his fourth save of the year.
  James was credited with the loss for Greeneville.
  The win keeps Elizabethton on top in the close West Division by a half of a game, but they still need their best baseball to distance themselves from Johnson City, who defeated Bluefield last night.
  "We are trying to stay at the top of the list right now and we hope to get at least two out of three in every series we play," said Johnny Woodard.
  The league's leading hitter, Burns, was the only Twin with a multi-hit game (two hits), while Hernandez did the same for the Astros.
  Elizabethton will continue play the next two nights in Twins radio announcer Frank Santore's backyard Greene County.
  Matthew Fox is slated to get the start tonight, while Steven Duguay will open from the mound on Monday.