River Riders offense stays hot in big win over Axmen

Published 8:39 pm Monday, July 4, 2022

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By: Andrew Smith

KINGSPORT–The Elizabethton River Riders (14-15) took game two of the weekend series against the Kingsport Axmen (20-9) on Sunday night by a final score of 12-6. Shortstop Peyton Basler had a perfect night at the plate, as he went 2-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored and four RBI.

The game saw the River Riders set a new season-high in runs scored, beating out the previous high of 11, scored multiple times this year. It also saw the team match their longest winning streak of the season at three games.

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Kingsport got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. After a strikeout to start the game, the Axmen were able to get runners on first and second. Then, on a double steal, both runners were able to advance a base, before getting 90 additional feet on a River Rider error. Left fielder Nate Anderson scored and designated hitter Sam Petersen moved to third. He would score as well on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jake Perry. After one full, the Axmen led 2-0.

The River Riders came right back in the top of the second. Third baseman Brody Green led off with a single before coming home on a two-run home run to right field by Basler, his first of the season. Left fielder Brendan Jones added an RBI single to plate second baseman Austin Roccaforte to give Elizabethton the lead, 3-2.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the bottom of the third, when the Axmen got all three runs back. With one out, Kingsport got a single and two hit by pitches to load the bases. Then, first baseman Corbin Shaw brought home two on a base hit and center fielder Kyle Booker scored a third on an RBI groundout. The Axmen retook the lead at 5-3.

Once again, E-Town got three more in the top of the fourth. After a flyout, the River Riders got runners on the corners. The scoring opportunity looked to be in danger after a lineout. However, right fielder Avery Owusu-Asiedu, center fielder Morgan Colopy, and first baseman Alex McCoy hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to make it 6-5, River Riders.

The Riders would put the game away in the top sixth. With two outs and runners on first and second, third baseman Brody Green extended the frame by getting a walk. This would be the frame’s turning point, as Basler would follow it up with a two-run single before catcher Connor Price launched a three-run home run to left. The outburst made the game 11-5 in favor of Elizabethton.

In the top of the eighth, the River Riders got one more insurance run. McCoy led off the inning with a walk and eventually scored on a passed ball in the inning. The lead was extended to 12-5.

The Axmen got one in the bottom of the ninth, when Anderson scored right fielder Ian Riley on a double. However, that would be all in the frame for Kingsport. The two squads will meet once more on Monday, with the Axmen making a return trip to Elizabethton. First pitch will be at 7 p.m. from Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark.


Final                    R    H   E    LOB

River Riders      12   12    1     12

Axmen                  6    4     2     8


W: Cole Rodriguez (1-0)

L: Ja’Heim Brown (0-1)