Twins finish home slate on high note


star staff


  Just like a maraschino cherry in the middle of a large chocolate shake, the Twins remain in the thick of the Appy League pennant race. Behind a two-run blast from Deacon Burns and the brilliant pitching of John Williams, Elizabethton held off Greeneville 3-1 Tuesday night at Joe O'Brien Field.
  Williams was in complete control the entire evening, tossing a no-hitter through the first six innings.
  "I had good control of my pitches and was able to keep the ball down," stated Williams.
  After a solid first, Williams retired 14 batters in a row before issuing his second free pass in the sixth. The Murfreesboro native was able to get out of the inning when catcher Timothy Lahey riffled a bullet to nab Sutil Waladimir on his steal attempt.
  The Twins squandered several scoring opportunities, leaving the bases loaded in the second while having two runners cut down at home plate. Lady luck changed for Elizabethton in the fifth when Landon Burt walked to start the inning.
  Burns followed with a 400-foot blast, his eight home run of the season to put 'Betsy on top 2-0.
  "I got a fast ball high and out over the plate," said Burns. "I had struggled some lately and was glad to get the big hit to help my team."
  The Twins tacked on another run in the sixth. David Winfree singled to left and move to third on a double by Matt Tolbert, then Lahey launched a 400-foot sacrifice fly to center scoring Winfree for a 3-0 advantage.
  Williams lost his no-hitter and shut out on one pitch when Mitch Einertson hit his league leading 23rd home run of the season to close the margin at 3-1. Williams would stop the rally by getting three fly ball outs after a single by Antonio Garcia.
  Jason Bowlin pitched a perfect eighth for the Twins, setting the stage for "Mr. Closer" Frank Mata. After giving up a free pass, Mata struck out the next two batters and got the final out on a fly ball just short of the warning track, preserving the win.
  Winfree and Johnny Woodard went 2 for 3 to pace the Twins' hitting. Plouffe had a triple while Tolbert added a double to help the cause.
  The two-run blast by Burns, though, was the key hit in the contest.
  "I had never heard of Elizabethton, Tennessee when I came here, but this is a great place to play baseball, with some wonderful people," he said.
  Added Williams: "We've had outstanding fan support and the people have been wonderful. I really like the ball park and its atmosphere. This has been a great place to play baseball."