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Springing a leak… River Riders drop third consecutive game

BY ANDREW SMITH

STAR CORRESPONDENT

The Elizabethton River Riders (16-15) lost their third straight game Sunday night as they were defeated by the Johnson City Doughboys (10-19-1) by a final of 10-9 in seven innings.

Things looked bleak early for the hometown River Riders as the Doughboys plated four runs in the top of the first as they sent ten hitters to the plate.

Johnson City small-balled their way to the lead as Jaxson Crull, Cade Sumbler, Joe Vetrano, and Cherokee Nichols all scored without the help of an extra-base hit.

River Riders starter Andy Quintana was unable to make it out of the top of the first, as he was pulled after 0.2 innings. The inning could have been much worse as well, as the Doughboys left the bases loaded.

While the River Riders were able to get an RBI single from Chase Adkinson to cut the deficit to 4-1 after one, the Doughboys stretched the lead back out in the second as Nichols drove in two with a one-out single to make the game 6-1.

Johnson City extended their lead in the fourth, as they were able to cash in walks from Sumbler and Vetrano to make it 8-1 at the halfway point.

However, the ballgame would begin to turn for the River Riders in the bottom of the fourth. Eli Young, Robert Bavon, and Logan Sanders would all find their way on base with one out to turn the lineup back to the top of the order.

With two outs in the inning, two-hole hitter and the Appalachian League leader in average Marcus Brown came through in a big way, stinging a base-clearing double into the right field corner to make the game 8-4.

The Doughboys were able to get one of those runs back in the fifth, as Damani Thomas was able to score on a wild pitch from Jace Miner to extend the lead back to five, as it was now 9-4.

Nevertheless, Elizabethton would continue to battle, as John Montes was able to drive in Jonathan “Pepe” Soto with a single to cut the lead back down to four.

In the bottom of the sixth, after a leadoff strikeout, the next three River Rider hitters (Mario Zabala, Brown, and Adkinson) all reached base and would eventually come around to score to cut it to 9-8.

After a groundout, Soto was able to reach via a walk and advance to second on a wild pitch. With two outs and a two-strike count, Montes would get another hard-earned base hit, this one driving in Soto to tie the game at nine.

Unfortunately for the River Riders, the Doughboys were not done scoring on the night, as Thomas would reach on a walk to leadoff the seventh, and would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch, allowing Johnson City to retake the lead 10-9.

They would stick with Garrett Simmons, who they brought in the game in the sixth, to try and shut the door on the River Riders, and that he would. He struck out the side in order to secure the 10-9 victory.

Elizabethton will have to get right back up off the mat after the tough loss, as they start a two-game series with the Bristol State Liners Monday night.

The Doughboys will begin a two-game set with the Danville Otterbots on Monday. The game will be held at TVA Credit Union Ballpark in Johnson City, with a 7 p.m. first pitch.


Doughboys 10, River Riders 9

Johnson City Doughboys 10 7 2

Elizabethton River Riders 9 9 3

W-Garrett Simmons (2-3)

L-Brenden Heiss (0-2)