Riders earn walk off win
Published 3:03 pm Sunday, July 24, 2022
The Elizabethton River Riders left 12 runners on base in the first eight innings of play on Saturday evening and trailed Burlington 5-4. But in the ninth, the Riders left no one stranded and delivered a 6-5 walk off win at Northeast Community Credit Union ballpark.
“For me, this whole season has gone that if we stay away from the walks, we will be in the game,” River Riders manager Jeremy Owens said. “The bullpen kept us close and with our offensive capabilities we are never out of the fight. We took advantage of some walks and got some key hits in the ninth obviously and these young men are learning to never stop playing the game.”
The rally began with a one out single by left fielder Isaac Williams Jr. who singled to left off Sock Puppets reliever Gavin Schmidt. First baseman Alex McCoy then hit a broken bat infield single to put runners on first and second.
Owens then send pinch hitter Nelson Smith to the dish having just arrived to the team and he delivered a two base knock to left to tie the game at 5-5.
“After nine innings of sitting and rooting for my teammates, I had to borrow a batting helmet and just tried to stay locked in,” Smith said. “I was late on a couple of fastballs but I was seeing the ball well and he threw a couple breaking balls in the dirt and I felt at three and two that he would throw me a fastball and I wasn’t going to be late again.”
After an intentional walk to Kody Bowker to load the bases, second baseman Peyton Basler drove home the winning run with a sharp single to left to stake the Riders (21-22) to the victory.
“I want to give credit to our pitching tonight,” Basler said. “They came out throwing strikes and getting people out to give us a chance. They had been attacking me with inside fastballs and I was determined not to get beat inside again and I was able to turn on one.”
Early on it looked gloomy for Betsy as the Puppets pushed runs across in the second, third, fourth and fifth to take a 5-2 lead against Riders starter Collin Rothermel (3-3).
Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, Elizabethton got two runs back when McCoy struck a double off the wall in left that was gauged at 113 miles per hour off the bat. With two away, catcher Connor Price bashed a two run homer to rightfield to get the Riders on the board.
In the sixth Brody Green and Ty Peters each worked one out walks and Basler was hit with a pitch to load the bases and centerfielder Brendan Jones dropped an opposite field double to left to bring home two runs and make it a 5-4 contest.
River Riders 6-5
Burlington 012 110 000 5 11 1
Elizabethton 000 202 002 6 11 2
W – Miller L – Schmitt
HR – Zhu, Price.