Espinal, Thomas homer in Doughboys win

Bats come alive as Johnson City snaps Danville’s winning streak

July 30th, 2021

Alan Espinal and Damani Thomas hit their first home runs of the season, and Johnson City rolled to a 10-6 win on the road over Danville on Thursday night.

Espinal hit a three-run shot in the fourth and Thomas hit a solo blast in the fifth to power Johnson City (14-28-1) to their first win over Danville (24-22) this summer.

The Doughboys got on the board first when Jaxson Crull hit a two-RBI single with two outs in the second inning. Immediately after, Ashton King slammed a two-RBI double to give Johnson City a 4-0 lead.

After the Otterbots got back two runs to make it 4-2, Johnson City brought in a run on a Danville error before Espinal stepped up and blasted a three-run homer 423-feet to left-center. The next inning, Thomas snuck a flyball over the right field wall for a 335-foot solo shot and handed the Doughboys a 9-3 advantage in the fifth.

Johnson City added one more run in the eighth frame on a Joe Vetrano triple that drove in Crull.

All-Star reliever Andrew Ronne pitched the eighth and ninth innings and held Danville to just one run on no hits and four walks. Ronne tallied four strikeouts in the game, pushing his season-total to a team-high 37 K’s in 18 innings.

The win marks only the second time this season that the Doughboys have had more than one home run in a game, and is the first such game since June 6, when Johnson City hit two out against Kingsport.

Eight Doughboys picked up at least one hit in the win, and all nine starters reached base at least once.

Johnson City is now 11-3 on the season when scoring at least seven runs, helping to overcome what was an up-and-down performance from the pitching staff. Twelve walks were issued to Otterbot hitters, who were only able to take advantage for three earned runs on the night.

The loss snapped a five-game win streak for Danville, and dealt a devastating blow to the Otterbots’ chances of catching up to Pulaski in the race for the East Division crown. Danville is now five games back of Pulaski with nine games to play.

Johnson City continues their road trip with a visit to Burlington, North Carolina, on Friday to start a two-game series against the Burlington Sock Puppets. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.

Fans can access live radio coverage of every Doughboys game this summer by visiting: