Twins finish regular season on high note

By Wes Holtsclaw

   KINGSPORT -- By looking at the hit and error columns of Tuesday night's season finale between Elizabethton and Kingsport, you would probably think the Twins were heavily defeated.
   That, however, was not the case.
   Racking up 11 runs on five hits, the Twins overcame the four errors they committed and 10 Kingsport hits to enter the playoffs in winning fashion with an 11-5 victory at Hunter-Wright Stadium.
   The Twins are rolling on a big win streak going into the series against Martinsville at home tonight.
   "You want to have some type of momentum as you enter the playoffs," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "So much of the game is mental. If we go out questioning our ability to do things, it might have a tremendous amount of negative impact on our game.
   "I don't know if we're peaking, but we're going in the right direction. We're going north and not going south. These guys know what's at stake. We try to stress to our guys that this might be the only opportunity they have to win a league championship, to keep form and keep attacking."
   Mets pitcher Mateo Miramontes was in trouble from the beginning after walking Denard Span and Ron Perodin at the top of the first inning. It allowed Dusty Gomon to drill one over the right-field wall, taking a 3-0 lead for Elizabethton.
   The 'Betsy Bombers continued things in the second inning after Jason Pospishil was hit by a pitch and Ryan Spataro walked. Span singled, but an error on the throw home scored Pospishil and moved things around the bases.
   Angelo Fermin flew out for Spataro, giving Elizabethton another run and the 5-0 edge.
   After another solid defensive frame, Elizabethton took advantage of Kingsport's miscues when Gomon singled. However, Gomon was thrown out with a Brock Peterson fielder's choice.
   Justin Arneson and Josh Johnson got on with a walk and a fielder's choice, while Peterson scored on a wild throw. An error put Pospishil on and scored Arneson to make it 7-0 before Kingpsort manager Mookie Wilson put Julio Freites on the mound.
   Spataro set up a four-to-six fielder's choice that scored Johnson while Pospishil was thrown out.
   Kingsport finally got on board in the third after Twins pitcher Hiroyuki Iida gave up two hits to Lastings Milledge and Roberto Solano before Charles Bennett came through with an RBI single.
   Seth Pietsche loaded the bases for Kingsport on an error, as Kevin Rios delivered a run with his second hit of the night. Miguel Garcia set up a bloop error to pull the Mets within 5.
   A Todd Dulaney single put another run on the board for the Mets, making it 8-4.
   The Twins fired right back after a single from Perodin and a close throw towards Dusty Gomon, which bounced off his helmet. Johnson stepped up, hammering a huge three-run shot to put Elizabethton up 11-4.
   Kingsport rallied again in the seventh after Miguel Garcia singled, when Marcos Cabral stepped up with a single to give Kingsport their final run of the game.
   Hiroyuki Iida took his first victory of the season on his first start for Elizabethton, striking out six Mets. The Twins had a total 13 strikeouts during the game, with relief pitchers Ryan Hader, Paul Mutch, Tim Henkenjohann and Julio DePaula combining for seven.
   Dusty Gomon led Elizabethton with a two of four game, while Johnson had a big one of three night with two runs and three ribbies to his credit. Ron Perodin added two scored runs for the Twins.
   TWINS NOTES: Elizabethton manager Ray Smith picked up his 400th career victory in the Appalachian League after Sunday's second-game win over the Mets.
   He became only the fourth manager in league history to do so.
   Tonight's Elizabethton-Martinsville game begins at 7. The two teams will play Game 2 on Wednesday in Martinsville.