River Riders comeback effort falls short in game two loss to Axmen
Published 10:04 am Monday, June 20, 2022
By: Andrew Smith
The Elizabethton River Riders (8-8) lost the series against the Kingsport Axmen (13-3) on Saturday night by a final score of 15-12. Right fielder Nick Block went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI for the visiting Axmen.
The loss for the River Riders marked their sixth in a row, causing them to fall yet another game behind the first-place Axmen in the West Division standings. For Kingsport, they improved to an unblemished 8-0 away from Hunter Wright Stadium.
The first run of the night was plated by the Axmen in the top of the first inning. Left fielder Nate Anderson reached on a one-out walk, eventually coming around to score on a sacrifice fly to right by Block.
Elizabethton would get the run back in the bottom of the second. After leading off the inning with a walk, designated hitter Harrison Rodgers would later score on an RBI groundout by first baseman Brennan Orf, tying the game at 1-1.
The Axmen would break the game open in the third and fourth innings, putting up four runs in each frame. The third saw four runs scored on two hits, two errors, two walks and a hit by pitch, as all nine batters hit in the inning. In the fourth, Kingsport scored four runs on four hits, including a solo homer by center fielder Sam Petersen, as well as a walk. Through three and a half, the Axmen led 9-1.
E-Town began to claw back in their half of the fourth. After a one-out walk by Rodgers, right fielder Morgan Colopy hit a two-run home run to right field, cutting the deficit to 9-3 through four full.
Kingsport would get those two runs back in the top of the fifth. Shortstop Mayes White led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch before scoring on an error by the River Riders. Another run scored as the Axmen turned a walk to left fielder Nate Anderson into a sacrifice fly. Kingsport led 11-3 at the game’s halfway point.
The River Riders would make a game of it in the bottom of the fifth. Elizabethton scratched across five runs in the inning on five hits, including a monster three-run blast to left by Colopy, on top of a walk. By the end of the frame, Elizabethton cut it to an 11-8 game.
After a bases-loaded walk got one in the top of the sixth for the Axmen, the River Rider bats went back to work in the bottom half of the frame. E-Town got two runs in the inning on three hits, including back-to-back doubles by third baseman Ty Peters and second baseman Marcus Sanders, as well as a sacrifice fly, bringing the Riders to within two at 12-10.
Kingsport would get those two runs back in the top of the seventh. Block would start the inning with a walk before scoring on a single by first baseman Corbin Shaw. Third baseman Jacob Perry also scored in the inning on a wild pitch. The Axmen led 14-10 at the stretch.
The Riders would continue to battle in the bottom of the seventh. After a leadoff walk to Colopy, first baseman Brennan Orf hit a rocket over the right field wall for a two-run homer. It was now 14-12, but unfortunately for Elizabethton, that would be as close as they would get. The Axmen added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, and that would be all of the scoring on the night.
Elizabethton will host Kingsport once more on Sunday for the seven-inning finale of their three-game set. First pitch from Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark is set for 2:30 p.m. on Father’s Day.
Final R H E
Axmen 15 11 0
River Riders 12 12 4
W: O’Brien (2-1)
L: Callahan (0-2)