Yaconetti wakes up scoreboard with HR

Photo by Rick Harris
Bristol's Brandon Johnson is tagged out by Twins second-baseman Matt Tolbert, who took a throw from catcher Javier Sanchez, on a steal attempt in the first inning.

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff

  Leading a tight 1-0 nailbiter in the sixth inning, all the Elizabethton Twins needed was a 'Yackity-whack.'
  For the fourth time this season, the 'Betsy Bombers had three long balls in a game, including an eventual game-clinching, three-run jack from Jay Yaconetti to lead a 9-2 win over the Bristol White Sox.
  Bristol knuckleballer Charlie Haegar kept Elizabethton at bay after allowing a run in the opening inning. After the four-run sixth, he left the mound thunderstruck.
  Johnny Woodard also contributed a two-run shot in the seventh inning, and shortstop Trevor Plouffe tagged his second professional shot with a solo blast over Ash Street in the eighth.
  "It was a tight game man up until the sixth inning and their knuckleball guy was keeping us off balanced," said Elizabethton Twins manager Ray Smith, who will clinch a tie as the Appy League's all-time shortseason win leader with the squad's next win.
  "We really didn't amount much of a threat until the (sixth) inning. The way the game was shaping up, it looked like it would be a 2-1 or 1-0 type of a game. We were trying to set up how we were going to use our bullpen late in the game, but fortunately that gave us a lead."
  "You never know what's going to happen," he said. "One inning it's a nailbiter, one inning it's a laugher."
  The win returns Elizabethton to the top of the West Division standings as Johnson City lost to Kingsport 10-1, giving the Twins another half-game edge.
  Although Bristol had its problems from the mound late in the game, Elizabethton was solid.
  Former Watauga, N.C., standout Steven Duguay grabbed his third win of the season while striking out seven and allowing five hits in seven innings of work.
  He kept the Sox scoreless, but Jonathan Martinez allowed both of their runs in the eighth. Murfreesboro's John Williams struck out three to clinch things for the squad in the ninth.
  Elizabethton got the opening lead in the first when Landon Burt got a lead-off single and scored on a clutch double from right fielder Jeremy Pickrel.
  The team had scattered hits and little success until the sixth.
  Javier Sanchez walked and advanced to second on a passed ball before scoring on an RBI single from third-baseman David Winfree.
  Woodard added a single to set up the 350-foot shot over the right-field wall from Yaconetti to make it 5-0 in favor of the home team.
  "It's was difficult for everybody to hit off this guy because you don't see the knuckleball every day," said the Arizona native Yaconetti, whose family was in town for a visit. "I'm glad I could help out the team and I'm glad we got a lot of runs."
  Things continued to pick up in the seventh, with Yunior Novoa on the mound for the BriSox.
  Deacon Burns secured first on a throwing error and scored on the first of two Javier Castillo errors in the inning.
  Winfree advanced on that first error and scored during the next at bat, when Woodard launched one towards the old swimming pool area with a 400-foot shot past left-center.
  "I'd seen how he pitched to Pickrel before me, and he threw three curveballs," said Woodard. "He started me with two fastballs, so I knew he had to throw a curveball. It was the next pitch. I guessed right."
  Bristol's biggest offensive spurt came in the eighth after a Martinez strikeout when Francisco Hernandez singled and former Elon star Evan Tartaglia walked.
  They both crossed the plate on a single from Castillo.
  Plouffe led off the eighth with his solo jack and that would be the last run scored in the game.
  Woodard led Elizabethton with three hits in the game, while Burt, Plouffe and Winfree each had two. Castillo was the only Sox player with a multi-hit outing as he had three clear the infield.