GREENEVILLE, TN — Kingsport starter Gaven Jones left Hunter Wright Stadium disheveled. The Greeneville Flyboys, the top team in the Appalachian League, tagged the right-hander for five runs in two innings.
One week later, Jones got his revenge.
Jones spun six innings of one-run baseball to lead the Axmen over the Flyboys, 5-2, on Wednesday evening at Pioneer Park.
“When I heard that I was going to throw today, I was really excited to get another chance at them,” Jones said. “I just kept them off balance. Last time I went out, they hit me pretty good. So, I tried to mix up my sequencing a bit and mix in a changeup.”
With the win, Jones helped Kingsport (5-13) secure a split of the doubleheader after dropping the opening game, 9-4.
Jones outdueled reigning Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week Sam Peddycord, who tossed a complete-game shutout in his previous outing against the Axmen.
The two hurlers traded zero across the first two innings before Greeneville (31-15-1) broke the ice in the third.
The Flyboys pushed across a run but Jones buckled down and limited the damage. One inning later, Jones induced an inning-ending double play, sparking Kingsport’s offense.
Logan Harbin provided the jolt, ripping a two-run single to put the Axmen ahead, 2-1, in the fourth.
Two batters later, with runners on the corners and two outs, Harbin took off and drew a throw from Greeneville catcher Andy Collins. Harbin put on the brakes between first and second, buying time for Preston Steele to run home from third.
Pitching with a 3-1 lead, Jones strung together seven outs in a row, including a 1-2-3 fifth frame. He scattered three hits en route to his first Appalachian League win.
“Everything was working for him. He trusted me a lot to call pitches and we were on the same page,” said catcher Ben Berenda. “He was executing really, really well.”
Kingsport padded its cushion with a pair of tallies in the seventh. Kyle Williams and Cole Hales each plated a run with an RBI single, extending the lead to 5-1.
Hales, who started the game at first base, moved to the mound and recorded the final three outs to lock down the victory.
“There was some motivation playing the top team,” manager Mike Guinn said. “It brought out the best in us and we answered the bell. We knew what was in front of us and we competed.”
Next, the Axmen look to take the series in Thursday’s rubber match against the Flyboys. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We are always growing. We never get complacent with how we’re doing. It speaks about the character of these guys,” Berenda said.