Twins due for day off


star staff


  TUSCULUM -- After a long road stretch for both clubs, it's no wonder the Elizabethton Twins and Greeneville Astros hustled through nine innings.
  Sunday's two-hour matinee opened with a run, and it wound up being the only one the 2,022 in attendance would see.
  With the tight division race pulling into full speed, the 'Betsy Bombers' were lucky it was on their side, leaving Tusculum College's Pioneer Park with a 1-0 victory.
  It was Elizabethton's fifth one-run victory at the new ball park this season.
 "(These one run games) are fun," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "Both teams swung the bat like they forgot to take the bat weight off. There was good pitching from both sides."
  It gives the Twins four wins out of their recent seven-game road stretch, with the team returning home for six straight beginning Tuesday night against the visting Danville Braves at O'Brien Field.
  A opening triple from Tarrence Patterson set up a RBI sacrificed fly from Trevor Plouffe in the first inning for Elizabethton. The rest of game was a pitching showcase.
  Despite giving up the one run and taking the loss, the Twins couldn't do anything against Astro Troy Patton in his first career start in professional ball.
  Patton struck out eight and only allowed another hit, to Timothy Lahey, in the second inning.
 "That little lefty came in and kind of tied us in knots with that breaking stuff," Smith said of Patton. "They came out with the big punch outs when they had to. It was a well-played, clean game for rookie league ball."
  The Twins had solid mound work on their side as well in Venezualan Javier Martinez, who allowed two hits with five strikeouts in his six innings.
  Metairie, Louisiana's J.P. Martinez had perhaps his best relief outing of the season, allowing only one hit with two strikeouts in the final three innings to pick up his first professional save.
  "It's the first (good) one I've had in a while, so it felt good to go out there and throw well," said Martinez. "It was a close game. They played well and we played well."
  The win was Smith's 427th as manager of the Elizabethton organization. He became the league's all-time winningest short season manager during the road stretch last week.
  "All that tells me is that I'm old and I've had a chance to win games because I've been around so long," Smith joked of the record. "I probably lead the Appy League in losses as well."
  Only one Twin, Patterson, had a multi-hit game. Aside from Lahey, Plouffe, David Winfree and Javi Lopez each had a single for Elizabethton during the game.
  Winfree and Lopez opened the seventh with back-to-back singles before Greeneville reliever Ryan Thompson worked in a double play.
  Greeneville's closest chance of scoring came in the  second inning when Bryan Triplett walked and Neil  Sellers followed with a single. However, Triplett tried to make his way to third after a strikeout only to find himself shot down by the former Princeton standout Lahey.
   Appy League's home run king Mitch Einertson got Greeneville's last hit in the ninth before Ole Sheldon was sat down by Martinez.
   Before Sunday's contest, Elizabethton led the Western Division by a half-game over Johnson City and Greeneville. The Redbirds had a doubleheader at Kingsport last night.
   Elizabethton hopes to find success Tuesday after the league takes Monday off. The Braves will bring a stacked club before Bluefield visits Elizabethton on Friday for a three-day stint.
  "It's tight right now with Johnson City. I'm hoping we can pull it through," added Tarrence Patterson. "We haven't been home in seven games so we're looking forward to it."
  Tuesday marks the return of the Blues Brothers. Jake and Elroy will perform before the game and between innings at O'Brien Field.
  'Betsy has fifteen home games left in August with 15,027 in attendance during the first half of the season. The squad ranks sixth in the league with it's average of 939 fans at each game so far this season.
  There are plenty of promotional events left on the schedule, and the team is pushing to get the continued support from their fans in the area.