• Walker, Hicks Power E-Twins to Unlikely Appy League Title


    It was another very successful season for the Elizabethton Twins. In the regular season, they had a league-best 43-22 record. The second best record came from the East Division and was the 41-25 record of the Burlington Royals. The two teams rightfully met in the Appalachian League championship series. Burlington won a one-run, extra-inning Game 1. Elizabethton won Game 2 in one-run, extra inning style as well. So, it all came down to Game 3 in Elizabethton. To find out who won this a remarkable game, a thriller … you’ll have to keep reading… Seriously, you will want to. What a dramatic game!!
    These two teams were clearly the top two teams in the league all year. Elizabethton led the league with 6.17 runs per game. Third on that list was Burlington at 5.1 runs per game. The E-Twins gave up a league-fewest 3.75 runs per game. Burlington was second in that category at 4.14 runs allowed per game.

    Let's start in the bottom of the ninth. The E-Twins made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th inning, but they could not come up with the big hit.

    Wait!! Yes, they did!!

    Down 6-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th, Royals closer John Walter came in. He walked Jhonatan Arias and Romy Jimenez to start the inning, but he got the next two batters out. On a full count, he walked Max Kepler to load the bases. He hit DJ Hicks with the first pitch he threw to him to cut the lead to 6-2. Appy League Home Run Champ Adam Walker came to the plate as the potential tying run. A wild pitch cut the lead to 6-3 and moved the other runners to second and third. On the very next pitch, Walker connected on a long home run to tie the game at six. Walter’s night was over and Freddy Rodriguez came in to get the final out of the inning. The damage had been done.



    However, the score was now tied at 6-6 and for the third time in this three game series, extra innings were necessary.

    Let's go back to the beginning.

    Max Kepler started the scoring in the first inning. Following a Niko Goodrum double, Kepler singled him in to give the E-Twins a 1-0 lead. However, the Royals would score the next six runs.

    Jose (JO) Berrios started for the E-Twins. He began with three scoreless innings. Unfortunately in the fourth frame, he gave up four unearned runs on a hit and three walks. He also threw two wild pitches. (Berrios struck out seven in his four innings.) Josh Burris came in and threw two scoreless innings. Chris Mazza pitched a quick 7th inning. However, he gave up two solo home runs in the 8th inning. Travis Huber pitched a scoreless ninth inning which set up the unlikely E-Twins comeback in the bottom of the 9th.

    That brings us to extra innings. Did I mention that it is for the third straight game in this three-game series?

    Ricardo Arevalo came on for the top of the 10th inning. He gave up a single to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. The next batter was intentionally walked for one purpose. Thankfully, the next batter obliged, grounding back to Arevalo who started a 1-6-3, inning-ending double play.

    In the bottom of the 11th, the E-Twins had a chance. With one out, catcher Jhonathan Arias, who had been 0-21 in the playoffs, singled. Romy Jimenez singled over the second baseman’s head to advance Arias to second base with one out. Jorge Polanco came in to pinch run for Arias, but Candido Pimentel struckout and Niko Goodrum flew out to deep center field to end the threat.

    Arevalo started the 12th, but he got just one out and had runners on 1st and 2nd. Lefty Brett Lee came on and got a ground out and a strikeout to end the inning.

    In the bottom of the 12th, Bo Altobelli grounded out. Romy Jimenez walked. Candido Pimentel struckout for the fourth time in the game. Niko Goodrum worked a walk. Then after a wild pitch, Max Kepler was walked to load the bases. That brought up DJ Hicks. With two outs and a full count, Hicks drilled an opposite field home run, a walk-off grand slam to win the game, to win the Appalachian League Championship.



    It was the E-Twins 10th title since the Twins moved to Elizabethton in 1974. It is their fifth title in the last ten years, but it is their first since 2009.

    Congratulations to long-time E-Town manager and former Twins catcher Ray Smith and his coaching staff on the title and another tremendous season. Congratulations to the whole roster for the E-Twins.

    What a game!! E-Twins 7, Burlington 6. (Note - since Hicks never got to round the bases, the final score is officially 7-6, not 10-6, not sure anyone really cares.)
    This article was originally published in blog: Walker, Hicks Power E-Twins to Unlikely Appy League Title started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Great write up Seth
      I noted this at Twinkietown but thought I would post here as well:
      The average age of the Royals was 20.5 while the Twins are Twins 20.3
      This is not the typical case of Twins sending a bunch of polished College players out and beating up kids. This is a young team beating the Royals who have had top draft choices for the last decade. The Royals feature one of the games top prospects in Bubba Starling and some good pitchers as well.

      Two 2 out HRs, one to tie the game and 1 to win it. What a fun game to follow.
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      What a game! To be honest I had given up when I saw it was 6-1 going into the 9th but when I went back to check it was 6-6 in the bottom of the 12th. Then Niko walked, they intentionally walked Maximillion and D.J. came through!

      What a clutch home run by Adam Walker. To hit a home run, when you know you have to have it, for a league championship, WOW! On top of that he's still 20 years old. I was excited when the twins stole him in the 3rd round. I had read he was raw with 80 power and had Giancarlo Stanton comparisons on MLB.com. They seem to have nailed it on the head with the rookie season he had.

      With the major league team in the state they're in, it's nice see our youngsters getting it done. Good job E-Twins! Next up.. Beloit!!!
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Great way to end a great season. That team was loaded. Beloit is going to dominate next year.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      Beloit is going to dominate next year.
      We will see. The offense should be good but the pitching staff will have a lot of 2012 draft picks being starters for their first full seasons and that could be a dicey affair.
      The organization is looking strong when it comes to hitters but its pitching still looks very weak. Hopefully Berrios will be the star at Beliot next year with someone like Mark Appel as his wing man after the 2013 draft.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Beloit is going to dominate next year.
      We will see. The offense should be good but the pitching staff will have a lot of 2012 draft picks being starters for their first full seasons and that could be a dicey affair.
      The organization is looking strong when it comes to hitters but its pitching still looks very weak. Hopefully Berrios will be the star at Beliot next year with someone like Mark Appel as his wing man after the 2013 draft.
      I don't even know if Berrios will start out at Beloit (innings). Anyway, Tim Shibuya will be back. I don't know how many innings some of those guys threw in HS or college, so I am not totally worried about some of them and their innings. Boyd and Mata should be pretty good for 80-90 innings at least. The relief pitching is going to be pretty stellar at least until some of those guys hopefully get promoted to Fort Myers (after the draft).
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Typically, what happens in E-Town has pretty much no reflection on what will happen the following year in Beloit. It's always interesting to see that transition.

      I still have to look back to see if what I heard on the radio last night was real. What an incredible ninth inning, and extra innings were so tense and fun to listen to.
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Walker has power. Patience will be needed w/Swings and misses. DJ Hicks has size, power,too.

      Rory Rhodes is entering a make/break year. Too much time missed again after sent back to Eliz
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      Holy crud, I was so not expecting that. After the 4th, I was like, yeah no way are they pulling this game out. Geeez, what a way to end the year! That has to be so depressing for the Royals and I would imagine that the Twins' are still partying.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by J-Dog Dungan View Post
      Holy crud, I was so not expecting that. After the 4th, I was like, yeah no way are they pulling this game out. Geeez, what a way to end the year! That has to be so depressing for the Royals and I would imagine that the Twins' are still partying.
      I'm sure they're not. Many of them had to be at the field this morning by 4 a.m. to get to the airport and fly home.
    1. RinaldiPhotos's Avatar
      RinaldiPhotos -
      It will be interesting to see how Harrison, Walker and Kepler do in A ball next year (most likely in CR).
      IF the Twins do draft Appel I'm pretty sure he would start in high A but that's dependent on Iinnings Pitched and his Pitch Count from Stanford. It will be interesting to see how Manea does with ISU this year and if he can work himself into a top 3 pick. I also wouldn't be suprised if they take a long look at Stanek if Appel is gone. Other than the top 3 pitchers there isn't much in the class P wise.
    1. hitbypitch's Avatar
      hitbypitch -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Ed View Post
      Walker has power. Patience will be needed w/Swings and misses. DJ Hicks has size, power,too.

      Rory Rhodes is entering a make/break year. Too much time missed again after sent back to Eliz
      Rory Rhodes hadn't been playing much these last couple weeks and has mostly been coaching first base.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      The other side of the story, from the Royals' perspective: http://www.thetimesnews.com/sports/p...urlington.html

      “It’s the worst defeat I’ve ever experienced in professional baseball,” Royals manager Tommy Shields said. “This will take awhile (to get over).”
      “That’s baseball,” first baseman Mark Threlkeld said. “It will rip your heart out. It will have you floating on clouds one minute and the next minute it’s bringing you back to reality.”
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      This was very well written and brightened my day. What an inspiring win.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      Great write up Seth
      I noted this at Twinkietown but thought I would post here as well:
      The average age of the Royals was 20.5 while the Twins are Twins 20.3
      This is not the typical case of Twins sending a bunch of polished College players out and beating up kids. This is a young team beating the Royals who have had top draft choices for the last decade. The Royals feature one of the games top prospects in Bubba Starling and some good pitchers as well.
      The big advantage that E-Town has is that the Twins aren't splitting up their short season prospects between 3 leagues like several teams do. Guys like Kepler and Goodrum probably wouldn't have repeated at ETown if the Twins had a more advanced team below beloit.
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      WOW.....i remember looking at the boxscore 3-4 times in a couple of hours....

      and in the 9th exited and went to bed thinking it was OVER.... congrats to Burlington!

      WHAT I CAN"T BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED ! wow

      thats baseball for you.....No way.....I was reading this article/ post thinking it was a prank the WHOLE WAY.

      what?!?!

      seriously this happended?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVNYQ...layer_embedded

      Video proof of DJ Hicks home run and the E-Twins celebration!
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