Twins lose runfest to JC
By Allen LaMountain


   On Sunday night the Elizabethton Twins bats came out of cold storage and ripped 16 hits around Joe O'Brien Field. Unfortunately the Betsy pitchers couldn't stop the Johnson City Cardinals from collecting 15 hits and scoring a 13-12 win over the banged up Twins.
   Cory Agar came off an assortment of injuries that have shelved him for the better part of a month and went two-for-five including his third home run of the season.
   Agar, who started the season at Quad City but was sent back to Betsy for more playing time, ironically spent most of the season learning a new position, and then recovering from a shoulder injury.
   "It hurt most to not be able to play and compete," said Agar. "It was good to get back to playing after being out so long. I still have a few nagging things, but I'll be able to play through it."
   Leading the hit parade for Betsy (36-30) were Doug Deeds and Garret Guzman who combined for a five-for-10 night at the dish with each knocking home three runs.
   "I sure don't want to go home yet," said Guzman. "I'm starting to hit real well right now, but being eliminated has kind of made us a little upset. We didn't have mental focus tonight. Right now I just want to finish the season strong, and reach some of the goals I set for myself."
   Three Elizabethton hurlers couldn't hold the Cards (29-37) down with Tim Henkenjohann being pressed into service, with Ricky Barrett nursing a tender throwing arm.
   "I must have pitched close to 200 innings this year," said Barrett, who competed in a full collegiate season at the University of San Diego before the Appalachian League season got underway. "My arm is tired, so there's no sense in pushing it. Especially since we are out of it now."
   Henkenjohann went three innings giving up four runs on six hits, while walking three and fanning three. "It was another opportunity to throw, and I know that I have struggled. I felt good physically, but I know I could be better. A lot better." said Henkenjohann.
   Betsy put up a five-spot in the third to take a 6-4 lead as J.R. Taylor walked and stole second. Scott Whitrock reached on catcher's interference and Guzman ripped his 20th double to center to plate Taylor.
   Deeds' single brought home another run and Agar then unloaded on Cards reliever Jonathan Estes to give Betsy hurler Janewrys Simon a two-run cushion.
   The Cardinals scored three in retaliation to grasp a 7-6 advantage against Simon, whose error opened the floodgates and let Johnson City go back on top.
   Eduardo Reyes had an RBI hit in the stanza and Gabe Veloz had a two-run single, but Elizabethton came right back with a pair of runs in the last of the fourth to take an 8-7 advantage.
   Betsy took a 10-8 lead in the last of the sixth as Deeds' two-run double led the way, but lefty reliever Nick Niedbalski wasn't sharp on this night and the Cards took advantage.
   "Niedbalski can pitch, but he needs to be a lot more consistent," said Twins pitching coach Jim Shellenback. "These guys have to learn to throw strikes."
   That would be the last lead the Twins would see as Johnson City scored five in the seventh to take a 13-10 lead as Betsy's defensive lapses led to a big Cardinal output.
   Taylor threw away a ball hit by Veloz and Zach Cates followed with a single. A double by Josh Bridges plated both runners and after a walk to Matt Lemancyzk, a Mike McCoy single brought home the mail for JC once again.
   Terry Evans then ripped a two-run hit to right to complete the seventh-inning uprising.
   Betsy scored single runs in the seventh and eighth, but came up empty in the ninth.
   "We're playing for pride right now," said Agar. "I takes a lot out of you when you lose the chance to play for a championship."
   E-Twins notes : CF Trent Oeltjen was sent up to Quad City, and both Deeds and Guzman continue to swing hot bats. Guzman raised his average to .277 with his two-for-five night. "I would like to be closer to .300, but if I can reach .280 and reach 50 RBI, that would be good." said Guzman.