Meeks, Peterson spark 'Betsy past Burlington

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

   The Burlington Indians came to Carmon Dugger Sports Complex looking to slow the Elizabethton Twins march toward the regular-season divisional title.
   By game's end, the E-Town train kept its momentum behind the outstanding pitching of Evan Meek and a display of power by Brock Peterson, who slammed a towering three-run homer to give Meek all the run support he was going to need in a 4-0 blanking of the Indians on Friday evening.
   "I felt real calm and easy out there tonight," said a smiling Meek in the Twin's locker room after the game. "I made one mistake when I let my change-up hang on that first hit, but I pretty much was able to keep from making anymore the rest of the game."
   Indian right fielder Teodoro Encarnacion collected the only hit Burlington could manage off Meek in the second inning with one out in the frame. Burlington squandered any chance of plating a run as third baseman Domingo Vasquez tapped one back to Meek for the second out and first baseman Fernando Pacheco grounded out to Twins third baseman J.R. Taylor to end the threat.
   Burlington's starting pitcher, hard-throwing lefty Dan Cevette, matched his counterpart's feat through three complete, allowing only a single to Peterson in the bottom of the second before picking the Twin base runner off one-three-six to end the Twins slim chance of scoring.
   Keeping the Indians in check, the E-Twins finally cashed in to take the lead in its fourth inning. After Denard Span grounded out for the innings first out, Taylor coaxed a walk from Cevette as did catcher Kyle Phillips placing E-Twins at first and second.
   Peterson promptly placed Cevette's first pitch high and deep over the left-center field fence for a huge three-run dinger. Peterson had an ideal of what to expect from the Burlington pitcher based upon how the Indians had pitched him in earlier games.
   Said Peterson: "The last time we played, they threw me a bunch of sliders. I was looking slider and he (Cevette) left it up in the strike zone. All I had to do was what I am supposed to do in that situation--hit it hard."
   The home run not only gave the Twins the edge, but it seemed to allow Meek to slip into a groove that the Indians couldn't crush.
   "Brock's big hit really helped and the defense had a fantastic night in the field backing me up," stated Meek. "I was hoping to go eight innings, but I started to lose a little on my pitches in the seventh. It was a fun night and I am really happy with the way I pitched tonight."
   John Lynch took over for Meek in the top of the eighth and worked a scoreless frame to keep the shutout in tack, but did give up a single to second baseman Argenis Reyes, the Indians lead-off batter. E-Town picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the inning by way of a balk with the bases loaded.
   Bo Ashabraner relieved Hector Santana as the inning began and proceeded to put Peterson on base for the fourth time in the game by grazing the DH on the arm for a hit batsman. Left fielder Ron Perodin legged out an infield single to place runners at first and second for the Twins.
   Second baseman Justin Arneson worked Ashabraner for a walk to load the base path. The home plate umpire called a balk on the Burlington hurler much to the dislike of the pitcher and the coaching staff, allowing Peterson to increase his league-leading runs scored to 44.
   Levale Speigner closed out the game for the Twins with a three up and three down ninth to give Elizabethton win number 34 against 22 losses. More importantly it kept the pressure on Pulaski, who trailed the Twins by three games at the beginning of the game Friday night.
   According to Peterson, the credit for his patience at the plate is due to his hitting coach--Jeff Reed.
   "Working with Coach Reed I have been able to slow down my mechanics at the plate," quipped Peterson on his success of being able to get on base and score runs for the Twins. "He has got me to use the whole field, and not just trying to pull the ball all the time. We just need to keep playing solid because we are in control right now and we need to keep up our intensity."