River Riders drop key game one in Kingsport

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

By: Andrew Smith

KINGSPORT–The Kingsport Axmen (26-13) won game one of a key two-game series against the Elizabethton River Riders (19-20) on Tuesday night by a final score of 6-4. Right fielder Ian Riley went 1-for-3 a run scored and two RBI.

The victory extended the Axmen’s lead in the Appy League West to seven games over the River Riders, who fell to third place heading into the game on Wednesday. The Johnson City Doughboys moved into second place with their win over Princeton.

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Elizabethton struck first in the top of the first inning. Center fielder Brendan Jones led off the game with a double to left-center field and moved up to third on a groundout by right fielder Avery Owusu-Asiedu. He then scored on a single by third baseman Harrison Rodgers to give the River Riders a 1-0 after a half of an inning.

The Axmen took the lead in the bottom half of the first. With runners on first and second and one out, third baseman Jake Perry hit a double to score center fielder Sam Petersen from second. Then, catcher Shea McGahan hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Riley from third. Kingsport led 2-1.

Kingsport added on two more runs in the bottom of the second. Left fielder Nate Anderson singled to bring home designated hitter Henry Hunter and Riley drew a bases-loaded walk to score shortstop Mayes White. The Axmen now led 4-1 after two.

However, the River Riders began to claw back into the game in the fourth inning. Second baseman Marcus Sanders drew a walk with two outs and designated hitter Brody Green on third. On ball four, starting pitcher Tommy Meyer threw a wild pitch that allowed Green to score, and Elizabethton had cut the lead to 4-2.

They scratched across another run in the top of the fifth. With Owusu-Asiedu leading off of second and two outs, left fielder Issac Williams roped a single into left field to score Owusu-Asiedu, cutting the lead to 4-3.

The River Riders were able to tie the game in the sixth inning. Shortstop Peyton Basler singled to center field, and Petersen committed a fielding error in center field to allow Sanders to score all the way from first base. They nearly retook the lead, as Jones hit a fly ball to left field that looked to score Basler. However, home plate umpire Matthew Metcalf ruled that Basler never touched home as he slid by the plate, and Basler was subsequently tagged out to force an inning-ending double play.

Kingsport got back ahead in their half of the sixth inning. Anderson was able to work a two-out walk, then he went to steal second base. When E-Town catcher Cayden Phillips went to make the throw to second, no one was covering second base, allowing Anderson not only to steal the base, but move up to third. He just kept running and scored easily as Jones nonchalantly hit his cutoff man, not realizing Anderson was scoring. The Axmen got one more run on top of that, and led 6-4 after six, and that is where the game would stay.

The two squads will play for the last time this season on Wednesday night, with first pitch from Hunter Wright Stadium set for 7 p.m.

Final                   R      H      E      LOB

River Riders      4       9       1       9

Axmen                6       7       1       11

 

W: Connor Maggi (1-0)

L: Zach Martinez (0-1)

S: Chris Sabo (3)