Twins sting Devil Rays

Photo by Dave Boyd
Chris Schutt went six good innings on the mound for Elizabethton.

By Wes Holtsclaw
With eight games remaining in Appalachian League play, the Elizabethton Twins needed to boost their West Division lead.
They certainly helped their cause Monday night, using solo home runs from Dusty Gomon and Kyle Phillips to ignite a scoring spree and pull out an 8-0 victory during Milligan College Back-To-School Night at Joe O'Brien Field.
"There's a lot to be said about momentum," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "And even though we're playing a team that's in the bottom of the other division, they're pros and obviously they've got some ability. So you can never take anybody lightly."
"I was happy that we came out and did all of our extra work today, all of our team stuff, individual work and had a good round of batting practice," Smith said. "That's just the way we try to approach things. We don't get any days off, so I was happy to see the intensity from the first pitch."
The Twins combined for 10 hits on a night where the entire lineup hit the ball well.
"We kind of banged away here and there, got a lot of guys on base and spread the hits out from the top to the bottom of the order," the Twins manager said. "That's what you want to do. Hopefully, you can have everyone contributing and that's what we did tonight."
Chris Schutt took the victory on the mound for Elizabethton after a solid six innings of work, only allowing three hits and striking out six. Romelio Lopez gave up five Elizabethton runs before he was relieved.
"It felt good, especially since we lost yesterday," said Schutt, who picked up his fifth win of the season. "It felt good to get a decision, I've gone a few without giving the team a chance. You got to work on preparation and that plays as big a part than anything."
"It all starts with the pitching," Smith added. "Schutt attacked and had good command on breaking stuff, which is his bread and butter, later into the game. He got ahead of the hitters for the most part and they didn't put a lot of good swings on him."
Schutt opened the game with two strikeouts for Elizabethton, before Shaun Cumberland singled for Princeton. Elizabethton held them off and began with a stiff shot of Kyle Phillips' bat.
Quick outs from Denard Span and Angelo Fermin set up a huge 400 foot Phillips shot over the right-center wall, taking a quick 1-0 lead. Dusty Gomon and Brock Peterson walked, however. Ron Perodin flew out to end the inning.
Coltyn Simmons doubled for the Rays in the second inning, but the Twins shut the door defensively. Justin Arneson walked and Span singled, but Elizabethton couldn't keep anything going in their bottom stanza.
The third inning was a different story as Goman went yard with a solo shot over the Carter County Bank sign in right-center. Peterson followed with a single before Princeton shortstop Salvador Paredes had two errors, after a grounder from Perodin, putting the two Twins on second and third.
It set up a two-run single from J.R. Taylor, putting Elizabethton up 4-0, however, the shortstop was thrown out at second to close the frame.
Arneson led off with a single in the fourth before a pop fly from Fermin was dropped. A Phillips grounder led to a Fermin out for Gomon, who singled Arneson across the plate with a 5-0 lead going into the fifth.
Elizabethton picked back up with a Span double and Fermin walk in the sixth, setting up a sacrificed fly from Gomon to make it 6-0.
Perodin and Ryan Spataro opened the seventh inning with back-to-back hits for the Twins before Taylor lined into an error by Devil Ray third baseman Travis Schlicting, loading the bases for Arneson, who contributed to another Princeton error and an Elizabethton run.
Span sacrificed Spataro across the plate to leave the inning at 8-0.
Elizabethton's defense took over late in the game and closed things out much like they had the entire contest, securing the win.
Ryan Hader, Paul Mutch and Kevin Culpepper provided support late in the game, helping total a combined 12 strikeouts from the mound.
Denard Span and Dusty Gomon led the team with two hits apiece during the outing. According to Span, it was a much needed victory in the league race.
"We know we've got to win," said Span. "It's coming down to the end of the season and every game is crucial right now. We've got to keep playing team ball and keep playing fundamentally sound and we'll be alright."