It had rained all day in Greeneville and the weather kept the crowd down but the game on the field was worthy of a much larger audience. The crowd that was there huddled up under the awnings to stay away from the heavy drizzle that fell at times early in the game. Let's look at the game:
At the plate:
Every Greeneville hitter contributed at the plate tonight. Only one was without a hit but he contributed a sacrifice fly that scored a run. Here were the top contributors:
Big Hit Brian Blasik - In the first, he battled in an eight pitch at bat to hit a sacrifice fly to plate the first run of the game. In the third, he ripped a ball down the left field line for a bases loaded triple to give Greeneville all the runs they would need. It made the game 5-0 at the time. He would later score on a sacrifice fly by Terrell Joyce. He finished the night going 2-3 with four RBI and a run scored.
Angel Ibanez - Got things started in the third with a lead off single. He later scored on a wild pitch after moving station to station. He finished the night two for four but the two outs were loud. He smoked a line drive to third in the fourth and then hit a ball to deep right field in the ninth that the park barely held.
D'Andre Toney - Was the lead off man tonight and got the game off to a good start with a double in the first and later scored on Blasik's sac fly. He also reached in the third on a dropped third strike. He later scored on the carousel started by Blasik's triple. He tried to bunt his way on in the fifth but he didn't deaden it enough and the ball beat him down the baseline.
There were three at bats that went deep in counts that had good results for Greeneville. Blasik's eight pitch sac fly in the first is one. He finished the night seeing 20 pitches in four plate appearances. Ibanez's single in the sixth was a seven pitch at bat. Toney reached on a called third strike on the seventh pitch of that at bat and only one pitch was a ball - the first pitch!
On the Mound:
Adrian Houser impressed me tonight. He was pitching against a very good team and at times, he struggled. He showed resiliency as he pitched six innings. Let's look at each inning individually:
First: Leadoff hitter reaches on a single that was almost a great play by Blasik at second. The second batter reaches on a fielders choice but the leadoff is erased. After a fly out to center for the second out, the final out is made by Mark Wik in right who ranges a long way to flag down a tailing fly ball. Unofficially 13 pitches - 10 strikes
Second: First batter walks in a seven pitch at bat. Houser bounces back and fans the next guy on four pitches and gets the subsequent batter to fly out to right on just two pitches. The final batter hit the ball back to Houser on the second pitch of the at bat for a 1-3 put out. Unofficially 15 pitches - 9 strikes.
Third: Two lead off walks followed by a fielder's choice that erased the middle runner. So he has first and third with one out. A flair hit just over the short stop allowed one run to score and leaves runners at first and second with one out. Another ball is hit to left and Wik catches the ball and fires a laser back to the infield to discourage any extra base ideas the E-Twins might have had. Houser bears down at this point and strikes the next batter out. Unofficially 27 pitches - 12 strikes.
Fourth: The lead off man in the inning golfs a high fly ball to the fence in center. It appears Toney had a bead on it but ends up leaping about a foot away from where the ball hits the fence. The result is a lead off triple. This is followed by a RBI single up the middle. That put the Twins up by one at the time. The next batter singles and puts runners at first and second with no outs. During the next at bat, the catcher, Genoves tries to pick a runner off first but Batista is not ready for the throw. It goes into right and the result is second and third with no outs. It looks like the wheels are coming off. However, Houser digs deep and strikes out the next two batters. Then after a four pitch walk to load the bases, he fans the last out of the inning. Impressive pitching in a high pressure situation. Unofficial count 25 pitches - 15 for strikes. So after four innings, his pitch count is at 80.
Fifth: Houser throws just 12 pitches in a one two three inning. Eight of the pitches are for strikes and the ball doesn't leave the infield.
Sixth: A seven pitch strike out starts off the final inning of work for Houser. The next batter hits a flair for a single down the right field line. Houser bounces back and strikes out the next batter and then induces a fielder's choice ground ball for the final out.
Houser really impressed me tonight. He pitched ahead in the count all night - 17 of the 25 batters he faced saw a first pitch strike. He mixed his pitches well. When Elizabethton started sitting fastball early in the count, he went to his change and made them look silly several times. Adrian Houser earned that win tonight!
Scott Zuloaga came in to start the seventh and got one strike out sandwiched between a hit and a hit batter. Michael DiMock came in and got a 5-3 double play to end the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth before struggling in the ninth. Though one of the hits in the ninth was a triple that was added by a bad route. Ovando didn't give enough ground in moving on the ball and the ball was past him before he met where he expected the ball to be.
In the field:
I have already mentioned the solid play by Wik in left and the error by the catcher on the throw to first, however, the first baseman, Jean Batista, has some responsibility in that play. He was not in position to receive the throw and the result was the runners moving up 90 feet.
Batista simply doesn't look comfortable at first yet. The footwork and the glove work are both raw. It appears he tries to backhand everything when he should be scooping with the arm extended.
The game was very fun and the team played very well. Everyone contributed with the bats and the pitching stayed around the zone and the defense made plays when they were needed. The E-Twins left 11 men on base compared to Greeneville just leaving four. The win puts Greeneville just 1 1/2 games back of the E-Twins with two more games this week with them.