Petersen cycle not enough as River Riders take wild game two against Axmen

Published 8:41 am Friday, July 15, 2022

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By: Andrew Smith

The Elizabethton River Riders (17-18) defeated the Kingsport Axmen (25-10) on Thursday night by a final score of 17-14. Despite the loss, Axmen left fielder Sam Petersen went 4-for-4 with a cycle, four runs scored and four RBI.

The win allowed the River Riders to keep pace with the Johnson City Doughboys, who are half a game ahead of Elizabethton for second place in the Appalachian League West division. The Axmen saw their division lead drop to seven and a half games over J.C. and eight games over the Riders.

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Elizabethton got on the board first in the bottom of the first. With runners on second and third and one out, left fielder Issac Williams hit an RBI groundout to third base to score right fielder Avery Owusu-Asiedu from third, making the game 1-0 after one.

The River Riders added on four more in the second inning. Owusu-Asiedu found himself up with two outs, bases loaded, and hit a double to clear the bases. He would find his way home when the next batter, shortstop Harrison Rodgeres, hit a single, extending the lead to 5-0.

Kingsport would begin its comeback in the top of the third. A single by Petersen brought home right fielder Ian Riley from third, cutting the lead to 5-1.

However, the big blow came in the top of the fifth. The Axmen put up six runs on just three hits, but they did draw five walks in the frame. The highlight of the inning came with the bases loaded and two outs, when third baseman Kendall Diggs cleared the bases with a double. When the frame concluded, Kingsport had a 7-5 lead.

Three more insurance runs came in the top of the sixth. After one run scored on a double play, Petersen and first baseman Jake Perry hit back-to-back solo home runs. It was now 10-5 in favor of the Axmen.

The bottom half of the sixth saw an absolute offensive explosion for the River Riders, as they put up a ten-spot in the frame. They only got three hits, but drew eight walks and a hit by pitch. The biggest hit was a grand slam to right field off of the bat of catcher Connor Price. When the inning finally came to a close, Elizabethton led 15-10.

Kingsport got three more runs in the top of the seventh. The Axmen got three straight run scoring hits with two outs, a single from second baseman Gunner Gouldsmith, a triple by Petersen, and a single by Perry. Elizabethton still led 15-13 going into the seventh-inning stretch.

The River Riders got one insurance run in the seventh and eighth innings, with both runs scoring on sacrifice flies. Williams hit one in the seventh and second baseman Peyton Basler hit one in the eighth. Heading into the ninth, it was 17-13.

The top of the ninth saw the Axmen plate one on an error by the River Rider defense, but no more, as the proverbial “track meet” ended at 17-14.

Elizabethton will continue their homestand by beginning a three-game series with the Johnson City Doughboys. First pitch from Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark is set for 7 p.m. on Friday. Kingsport will travel to Tusculum University to take on the Greeneville Flyboys on Friday night. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Pioneer Park.


Final                     R      H      E      LOB

Axmen                 14     14      0      10

River Riders       17       9       1       7


W: Baker Cox (2-1)

L: Croix Jenkins (1-2)