Kingsport sweeps Johnson City with late-inning heroics

June 21st, 2021

KINGSPORT, TN — For the third straight day, the Kingsport Axmen played extra innings.

One night after blasting a game-winning grand slam on fireworks night, the Axmen found a flair for the dramatic, again.

Kingsport walked-off Johnson City, 2-1, sweeping the Doughboys Sunday at Hunter Wright Stadium.

Axmen catcher Ben Rozemblum drove home Saturday’s hero, Dante Leach, with a base hit to left, sparking pandemonium in Kingsport.

“There’s no better feeling in baseball than having your team running out after a big win like this,” Rozenblum said. “We have two walk-off wins in back-to-back nights. The Kingsport Axmen are getting hot.”

Kingsport (6-9) piled out of the dugout, chasing Rozemblum around the bases and dousing him with water and sunflower seeds.

“We aren’t going to go down easily. We have a lot of heart from the first inning all the way until the end,” Rozenblum said. “We have a lot of character in this clubhouse and it showed tonight.”

Despite being down to their final out, the Axmen rallied for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Peyton Carson and Damien Torres held Johnson City (5-10) hitless across the first five innings, but the Doughboys struck first with a pair of doubles in the seventh.

Third baseman Ashton King roped the first extra-base hit of the game to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Jaxson Crull traded places with King, rocketing a double into right-center.

In a scheduled seven-inning contest, the Axmen needed an answer.

Will Spears drew a one-out walk and promptly swiped second base. Spears advanced to third after Johnson City right-hander Ian Foggo fired a wild pitch to the backstop.

Kingsport leadoff hitter JonJon Berring stepped to the plate with two down in the frame.

Berring swung at the first pitch and lined a single into center, tying the game at 1-1.

“My approach in that situation was to get a good pitch to hit and take a good hack. I got an elevated fastball and ripped it,” Berring said. “This could start a big run for us.”

Justin Kenyon entered to pitch the eighth with runners placed on first and second.

The Axmen reliever retired the Doughboys in order, igniting Kingsport’s dugout.

“I wanted to attack the hitters, be aggressive and get my team off the field. I knew if we got our bats up there, we’d win it,” said Kenyon, who earned his first win of the summer. “It’s bringing the team together, much closer for sure. We’re playing for each other. I could see a streak coming.”

After a day off Monday, the Axmen will hit the road for a six-game trip, starting with a visit to Princeton, West Virginia, against the first-place WhistlePigs. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. at H.P. Hunnicutt Field on Tuesday. All Kingsport Axmen games are broadcast here with a video stream available online for home games.