E-Twins squander lead in loss to JC

By Wes Holtsclaw

   JOHNSON CITY -- Arena-rock group Journey had a big hit in the late 1970s with its tune "Wheel in the Sky."
   The lyrics of the song fit the West Division-leading Elizabethton Twins as their season 'keeps on turning' in many directions, and the players 'don't know how they'll play tomorrow.'
   The 'Betsy Bombers sprung to a heavy 5-1 lead early Sunday night against the Johnson City Cardinals after a three-run homer and two RBI singles from Dusty Goman.
   But as the game turned through the Twins bullpen, things simply fell apart. The Redbirds picked up their bats and took advantage of some Elizabethton miscues with six runs in their final three offensive frames to take a 7-6 comeback victory at Cardinal Park.
   "We didn't make many quality pitch selections," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "Our middlemen (on the mound) have been the glue holding us together. Now they are having a period of adjustment."
   The Twins had 13 hits in a game that saw a rejuvenation of hitting from Goman and Kyle Phillips, among others.
   "Dusty Goman had four hits, and this game was a sign of positive things from our offense," Smith added. "We couldn't make the plays to stop the bleeding. We battled back, but we couldn't hold them."
   Goman took control of the first five runs with his RBI singles in the first and sixth innings, but really took a big chunk of momentum when he scored Angelo Fermin and Kyle Phillips with his roaring shot in the third inning.
   Elizabethton held Johnson City to only two hits in the first five innings, including a solo homer from Tavaris Gary, but the Cardinals finished with eight hits.
   The 'Birds took advantage with two runs in the sixth, three in the seventh -- from an errored shot courtesy of Daric Barton -- and took the icing from the cake with a solo homer from Sal Frisella in the eighth, claiming the decision after sweeping Elizabethton in the ninth.
   "This is a big win for us right now," said the Cardinal outfielder Frisella. "We're struggling and it was a big game. It was a good team victory."
   Gomon finished four of four with five RBIs for the Twins, while Phillips (3 for 4), Denard Span (2 of 4) and Brock Peterson (2 for 4) had multi-hit games.
   "The last few games, we were not swinging well," said Gomon. "Tonight, the bats showed up a big, we got a few runs and it was really nice."
   Andy Schutzenhofer and Cody Haerther had extra-hit games for Johnson City, which meets Elizabethton for an additional four games this week.
   The Twins host Monday night's game, with free admission, a hot dog and drink courtesy of Carter County Bank.