Doughboys top Axmen in 5-4 thriller

June 27th, 2021

Johnson City topped Kingsport, 5-4, on Saturday night by doing something that had been difficult for them the previous two evenings--holding on to a ninth inning lead.

The Doughboys (8-11-1) handed the ball to reliever Andrew Ronne with two outs in the eighth, and the right-hander proceeded to scatter four strikeouts in a four-out save.

Johnson City blew 8-7 and 9-8 ninth inning leads on Thursday and Friday night to Burlington, but Ronne made sure that the Doughboys didn’t squander their advantage on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 3,031.

The Axmen (8-12) made things interesting by getting two runners on in the final frame, but Ronne struck out Orlando Salinas Jr. to secure the win. Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Doughboys had been just 1-5 in one-run games.

The game started as a pitchers’ duel, with Johnson City’s Will Westbrock and Kingsport’s Peyton Carson going blow-for-blow with three scoreless innings apiece. The Doughboys then got on the board in the fourth frame with runs scored by Joe Vetrano and Jaxson Crull.

In the top of the fifth, the Axmen loaded the bases on Westbrock with nobody out, forcing a pitching change. Kingsport then drew a walk, grounded into a double play, and got an RBI single to lead, 3-2. In the sixth frame, back-to-back doubles for Kingsport extended it to a 4-2 Axmen advantage.

The game flipped on a crucial Kingsport mistake in the seventh inning. With Johnson City having loaded the bases with one out, Steven Ondina grounded into what could have been a double play. Instead, the throw from the Kingsport defender sailed into foul territory and three runs scored on a pair of errors, with Ondina ending up at third. On one critical miscue, the Doughboys jumped in front, 5-4, and didn’t look back.

Johnson City got solid performances in relief from Walker Trusley and Garrett Simmons on the mound before Ronne took over for the save starting in the eighth inning. 

The Doughboys got the win despite being outhit, 10-5, by the Axmen.

Johnson City will look to complete the sweep when they welcome Kingsport back to TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Sunday to finish the series. The seven-inning contest will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Fans can listen to live audio coverage of every home and away Doughboys game this summer by visiting: