Elizabethton pulled away for a 5-2 win over the Kingsport Mets on Sunday at Joe O’Brien Field in Game 3 of the Appy League West Division series.
The Twins will meet the Princeton Rays in the championship series beginning Tuesday night. The Rays rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat Bluefield 6-5 on Sunday in Game 3 of the East Division series.
BACK AND FORTH
The K-Mets struck first Sunday when Domingo Martinez’s sacrifice fly to center in the top of the second inning staked them to a 1-0 lead.
The Twins answered in the bottom half on an RBI single by Yeltsin Encarnacion.
The score remained tied at 1 until the bottom of the fifth when Elizabethton’s Gilberto Celestino came through with a two-run single for a 3-1 lead.
A Martinez single drove in another run for the K-Mets in the top of the sixth, and Kingsport reliever Nate Peden threw a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half to send the game to the seventh with the Twins still clinging to a 3-2 lead.
Elizabethton pushed across a pair of insurance runs — on Chris Williams’ sac fly in the seventh and Yunior Severino’s RBI single in the eighth — and Tanner Howell closed it out for the Twins in the top of the ninth by inducing a flyout, a groundout and a line-out.
ON THE MOUND
Twins starter Andrew Cabezas pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowed one hit, one earned run, walked five and struck out five. Brian Rapp earned the win with 3 2/3 innings of work. He allowed four hits but just one run, striking out one and walking one. Howell recorded the save.
Kingsport starter Dedniel Nunez got the loss. Nunez gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits. He struck out six and walked four in his 4 1/3 innings.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the Twins, Severino finished 3-for-5 with the RBI and Celestino was 2-for-5 with the two runs driven in.
For the K-Mets, Martinez went 2-for-2, including the double, with the two RBIs. Guillermo Granadillo walked three times and scored a run.
Game 1 of the Appy League championship series is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Princeton. Game 2 will be played Wednesday and Game 3, if necessary, Thursday, both at Elizabethton.
The Rays and Twins split their four regular-season meetings. A scheduled doubleheader wasn’t played because of rain.
Elizabethton is seeking its second consecutive Appy League title and 14th overall. Princeton is looking to add a second league championship to the one it won in 1994.