Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 26, 2012

P-Rays still alive

Princeton tops Twins in 10 to retain playoff hopes

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. — The Princeton Rays held off Elizabethton 8-6 in 10 innings on Sunday night in eastern Tennessee, further closing the gap on the Danville Braves in their furious chase for an Appalachian League East playoff spot.

Danville (35-27) lost 15-7 at Johnson City. Princeton is now 35-31. The regular season ends Tuesday.

The Rays allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra inning. In the top of the 10th, the Twins intentionally walked Omar Narvaez to load the bases and Oscar Hernandez made it pay off with a single to left that scored Reid Redman and Andrew Toles with the final runs.

With two Twins on base and one out in the bottom of the 10th, reliever Jonathan Weaver snagged a liner by Travis Harrison and threw to first, doubling off Rory Rhodes to end the game.

Kevin James pitched five innings for the Rays, giving up four hits and two runs, one of them earned. He struck out three Twins, but lost the chance to earn the win when Princeton blew its lead in the ninth.

Zach Butler (3-0) had a blown save but was credited with the win, and Weaver got the save. Chris Mazza (3-1) took his first league loss after pitching the ninth and 10th.

The game was scoreless until the third inning. Princeton’s Brandon Martin hit his 11th double with two outs, and reached home on Toles’ single to right. A fielding error by the Twins’ Adam Walker allowed Redman to score for a 2-0 lead.

Elizabethton tied it in their half of the third on a solo home run by Jorge Polanco and a groundout by Niko Goodrum that plated Byron Buxton, who had doubled.

Redman and John Alexander hit a two-run singles in the fifth and sixth to stake the Rays to a 6-2 lead that held until the bottom of the ninth.

Twins pinch-hitter D.J. Hicks hit a two-run home run to right, and Alexander’s fielding error with two outs allowed two more runs to reach the plate, tying the game 6-6.

Alexander batted 3 for 5 and seven of Princeton’s nine batters got multiple hits in the Rays’ 15-hit attack. None of the Twins had more than one hit.

The fight for the playoff berth renews tonight at Joe O’Brien Field at 7:05 p.m.

*****

At Joe O’Brien Field

Princeton........002   022   000   2  —  8  15  2

Elizabethton...002   000   004   0  —  6    8  2

Kevin James, Jacob Faria (6), Zach Butler (9) and Oscar Hernandez. Hudson Boyd, Josh Burris (6), Tyler Duffey (7), Chris Mazza (9) and Jhonatan Arias, Bo Altobelli (10). WP - Butler (3-0).  LP - Mazza (3-1). Save - Weaver (2). HR - Eliz, J. Polanco (5) 3rd, 0 on; D.J. Hicks (4) 9th, 1 on. Time - 3:14. Att - 523.

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