Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 20, 2013

Kingsport's late scores doom Rays

PRINCETON — For most of Saturday night’s game at Hunnicutt Field it appeared that the Princeton Rays would snap its three-game losing skid and pick up a win against the Kingsport Mets.

However, a four-run eighth inning propelled the visitors from Tennessee to a 5-3 Appalachian League victory before 874 fans who came out on Heroes Night.

Jeff McNeil led off the game with a single through the legs of Princeton starting pitcher Jacob Faria. He moved to second on a wild pitch and back-to-back fly balls allowed him to tag and on the second by Victor Cruzado to center, McNeil crossed the plate with the game’s first run.

It would be all the Mets would get off Faria. The 6-foot-4 righty from Anaheim, Calif., after the hit by McNeil to open the game, did not allow another hit until the top of the sixth when McNeil singled to right.

he only other baserunner for Kingsport in that time was again McNeil, who was hit by a pitch in the third.

Faria in his six innings allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven Mets.

“After that (first batter) it was just a matter of getting comfortable with how I felt out there,” Faria said. “The first hitter, I didn’t feel like I had settled in, really, but I think I figured out what I needed to do to get the ball over for strikes.”

The Rays gave Faria a cushion with which to work. In the third against Mets starter Andrew Massie, the Rays loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter. With two out Hunter Lockwood hit a popup in the infield. Kingsport third baseman Richie Rodriguez called for the ball, but it fell right on the mound, scoring two runs.

The next batter, David Garcia, got Princeton’s first and only hit of the game, a single to center that scored Bralin Jackson with the Rays third run.

Trouble came for the Rays in the fifth when shortstop Spencer Edwards fouled a pitch off his hand as he attempted to bunt. He left the game, replaced by Addison Rosa.

“Right now it’s a contusion on one of his fingers and we’ll see tomorrow,” said Princeton manager Danny Sheaffer said. It swelled pretty bad and we’ll see. It may require an x-ray, but tomorrow we’ll determine that. He won’t be in there for a few days.”

Edgar Gomez came on for the Rays to open the seventh and retired the side in order. The Mets came out swinging, however, in the eighth.

A single by Jeyckol DeLeon, a walk to Amed Rosario and a bunt single by Bradley Marquez loaded the bases with no outs. McNeil’s fielder’s choice brought home DeLeon and Rodriguez’s hit to center tied the game at three.

Isaac Gil came from the Princeton bullpen and Cruzado was intentionally walked to load the bases and provide a force at any base. However, Jon Leroux hit a grounder to center past a pulled in Princeton infield that scored two runs and gave Kingsport a 5-3 advantage.

“I thought he (Faria) pitched a great ball game,” Sheaffer said. “He got his pitch count elevated in the first and pitched out of it, then threw five wonderful innings, kept us in the ball game. He left the game with a 3-1 lead and we had one hit, so he did a heck of a job.”

Luis Rengel, who came on and struck out the Princeton side looking, in order in the seventh, sat the Rays down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and ninth to pick up the win. He pitched three innings of no-hit ball and struck out five.

Massie worked six innings and gave up only one hit. The three runs scored by Princeton were all unearned. He walked five and struck out two.

Kingsport managed six hits in the game, four of them coming in the eighth inning. There were no extra base hits in the contest by either team.

“At this level it’s frustrating because execution is key and we’ve just got to keep digging and the productivity and the season that we have now comes down to a game-by-game basis,” Sheaffer said. “If we can execute tomorrow, then today didn’t matter. We learn from it. At this point you’ve got to look for a silver lining. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing every day, on a daily basis, and hopefully retention takes place.”

The two teams square off again this afternoon with the first pitch set for 2:05.

*****

At Hunnicutt Field

Kingsport…….100   000   040 — 5  6  1

Princeton…….003   000   000 — 3  1  0

WP-Rengel (2-1). LP-Gomez (0-1). HR: None. Att: 874.

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