River Riders continue winning ways behind Gillespie

Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2021

KINGSPORT – The Elizabethton River Riders defeated the Axmen 6-1 Tuesday night in Kingsport at Hunter Wright Stadium. Starting RHP Drew Gillespie (Southeastern) threw a season-high four innings with one hit allowed and seven strikeouts to help lead the River Riders to a 6-1 win.

Elizabethton (5-5) scored their first run in the top of the third inning when catcher Chase Adkison (OSU) hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score third baseman Reagan Guthrie (Regis).

In the top of the fifth, the River Riders erupted for four runs, sending nine to the plate.

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With one out, right fielder Mario Zabala (Florida International) reached first on an infield single. Shortstop Marcus Brown (OSU) tripled to bring Zabala home and scored on an Adkison ground ball that was misplayed by Axmen second baseman Will Spears (Arkansas Little Rock). Elizabethton’s second baseman Jonathan Soto (Rogers State) singled to bring Adkinson home from second.

Soto has five hits this season, four of which have come against the Axmen.

Centerfielder DJ Sullivan (Florence-Darlington Tech) brought in the final run of the fifth with a double to score Soto.

RHP Philip Berger (William Peace) came in relief of Gillespie in the bottom of the fifth inning and allowed the only run of the night for the Axmen, a solo home run by right fielder Nick Barnes (Georgia Gwinnett) in the bottom of the sixth.

Jordan Leasure (Tampa) debuted out of the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh for the E-Town and allowed one hit and struck out four in two innings.

In the top of the ninth, Soto collected his final hit of the night and scored Brown from second, 6-1 River Riders.

E-Town’s pitching staff struck out a combined 15 Axmen, their second-most of the season (18 vs. Greeneville, June 5).


“Team win, tremendous job by the pitching [staff], defensively we held our own, offensively [we] did some really good things. All in all, a great day up and down.”

The River Riders return to Elizabethton on Thursday to host the Greeneville Flyboys. It will be a thirsty Thursday at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark, fans can enjoy a two-dollar brat and wash it down with beer specials all evening.

Tickets can be purchased at elizabethtonriverriders.com. Fans can tune into the game on https://www.mlb.com/appalachian-league/elizabethton/fans/audio-listen-live .