Another race week is in the books in the Mountain Empire after the completion of Saturday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The race for a playoff berth is just getting revved up for Bristol’s minor league baseball team, however.
Francisco Acuna went 4-for-5 with three RBIs as the BriBucs moved into sole possession of second place in the Appalachian League’s West Division with a 7-2 road win over the Princeton Rays on Saturday night.
Bristol (28-28) trails first-place Johnson City (29-27) by one game and will try to hold off Kingsport (28-29) and Elizabethton (27-29) with 11 games remaining.
The top two teams in each division earn Appalachian League playoff berths.
Bristol hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2002 and the last winning season for the city’s professional baseball franchise came in 2008.
Bristol pounded out 15 hits on Saturday as Yoyner Fajardo (3-for-5), Jesus Valdez (two hits) and Matt Morrow (two hits) also got in on the act.
Jose Maldonado (4-5, 4.54 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings to notch the win on the mound, while Yordi Rosario recorded his first save with two shutout innings.
Bristol opens a three-game series at Bluefield today at 5:30 p.m.
Greeneville 9, Bluefield 4
The Three Stooges – Larry, Curly, Moe and sometimes Shemp – used to harmoniously say “Hello … Hello. … Hello,” when answering the phone or entering a room during many of their timeless comedy sketches.
The catcher for the Greeneville Reds on Saturday could have made his presence known to Bluefield Blue Jays pitchers by saying, “Tello … Tello. … Tello.”
Jose Tello had three hits in leading the Reds to a triumph and raised his batting average to .455.
Danville 3, Elizabethton 2
Willie Mays Hayes – a fictional outfielder/base-stealing expert for the Cleveland Indians in the 1989 film “Major League” – brags, “I hit like Mays, and I run like Hayes.”
Willie B. Carter of the real-life Danville Braves hit like Willie Mays and ran like Bob Hayes on Saturday as he helped his team earn a 10-inning win over the Elizabethton Twins.
The Lake City, Florida, native slapped out two hits and dashed home for the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.
Johnson City 4, Burlington 2
John Witkowski was the recipient of the 2019 John E. Buehler Jr. Family Athletic Scholarship while a student-athlete Boston College.
On Saturday night, he received a save in helping the Johnson City Cardinals collected a win over the Burlington Royals.
Witkowski followed Luis Ortiz and Walker Robbins with superb pitching as the trio combined on a five-hitter.
Kingsport 9, Pulaski 8
“Kramer vs. Kramer” was the highest-grossing film of 1979 and is a drama that dealt with divorce and the ensuing child custody battle.
Dirocie vs. Spence was part of the highest-grossing Appalachian League game of Aug. 17, 2019 as 2,804 folks came through the turnstiles at Pulaski’s Calfee Park and enjoyed a critically-acclaimed rookie-ball contest.
Anthony Dirocie won his showdown with Pulaski Yankees relief pitcher Mitch Spence in the climactic scene as he crushed a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and propelled the Kingsport Mets to a victory.