Gomon blast gives Twins win

By Allen LaMountain

   Dusty Gomon found his long ball stroke on Thursday night, just in time to give the Elizabethton Twins a one-run lead, with his Appalachian League leading 12th round tripper and a pair of relievers made Gomon's blast stand up in a 6-5 win over Martinsville at Joe O'Brien Field.
   "Gomon has been battling falling behind in the count and having to get defensive with his swing," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "Tonight, he got a favorable count and was able to take a good rip at the ball, and he made something happen."
   Twins relievers Nick Niedbalski (1-2) and Jesse Crain held the Astros to no runs on just one hit over the final five frames after starter Scott Tyler -- hampered by a lat strain -- wasn't as effective as he has been this season.
   Niedbalski got the win with three quality innings of one-hit relief. Niedbalski struckout one and walked one.
   "I just want to keep the ball low in the zone and throw strikes," said Niedbalski. "Consistency is my main goal. I look to throw strikes and let them put the ball in play."
   Tyler was hit hard in the Astros third as Martinsville plated five runs to erase a two-run Twins lead to take a 5-2 advantage. With two-out Valentin Mendez ripped a double to left and Hamilton Sarabia drew a walk.
   Freddy Acevedo then doubled home a run and Justin Humphries walked to load the bases. Michael Lorsbach then hit his first homer of the season -- a grand slam -- that gave the Astros a three-run advantage.
   "I couldn't follow through on a lot of my pitches tonight," said Tyler, who will be examined by the team doctor today. "It's very tight in my shoulder and back. I have tried to pitch through it and keep battling, but I'll have it checked out tomorrow and I hope that I'll be back in a short time."
   A home run by Justin Sims and an RBI single by Garret Guzman in the first gave Betsy an early lead, but with Tyler struggling, the Twins knew that the bullpen would be crucial in this one.
   "We are pretty thin in the pen right now," said Smith. "If Niedbalski didn't come through the way he did, we would have been in a lot of trouble."
   The Twins continued to battle back, scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth to make it a 5-4 game as Sims singled in a run in the fourth, plating Edgardo LeBron who had doubled. In the fifth LeBron's sacrifice fly brought home Gomon, who had walked earlier in the frame.
   In the sixth Trent Oeltjen reached on an error by Mendez, but was thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch. Sims reached on a walk and came around when Gomon drove a pitch by Sullivan Central graduate Brent Long over the leftfield fence for a 6-5 Betsy lead.
   Crain pitched the eighth and ninth for his second save of the season.
   "It was a good game," said Martinsville manager Jorge Orta. "We had the one big inning and then couldn't get any more. Maybe we were a little bit anxious and not patient enough at the plate."