Owusu-Asiedu walks off River Turtles to end River Riders’ 2022 campaign

Published 8:43 am Monday, August 8, 2022

By Andrew Smith
Star Correspondent
The Elizabethton River Riders (26-26) ended the Appalachian League regular season in style on Saturday night with a walk-off win over the Pulaski River Turtles (27-29) by a final score of 8-6. Riders’ right fielder Avery Owusu-Asiedu went 1-for-5 with the game-ending two-run home run.
The win gave the River Riders a final record at .500, avoiding what would have been the team’s first losing season since the league became a collegiate wooden bat league. It also propelled Elizabethton to third place in the Appalachian League West division.
Pulaski got the scoring started in the top of the first. First baseman Owen Deshazo hit an RBI single to score catcher Konner Kinkade from second, giving the River Turtles a 1-0 after a half of an inning.
The Turtles tacked on two more in the top of the third inning. First, Kinkade came home on a River Rider fielding error, then left fielder Connor Fuhrman brought Deshazo home on a fielder’s choice. The lead was now 3-0.
After a fourth-inning RBI double by Kinkade, Pulaski carried a four-run lead into the game’s halfway point. Then, the River Riders exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out and the bases-loaded, center fielder Brendan Jones hit a bases-clearing triple to cut the lead to 4-3. The next batter, third baseman Jaxon Diamond, brought Jones home on an RBI groundout. Through five full, the game was now tied at 4-4.
E-Town would then take its first lead of the evening in the bottom of the sixth. Left fielder Issac Williams led off the frame with a triple and scored later on a wild pitch from the River Turtles. The River Riders now led 5-4.
They would add on an insurance run coming out of the seventh-inning stretch. A single by first baseman Carlo Zorola brought shortstop Marcus Sanders to the plate from second base, making it a 6-4 contest.
The River Turtles would claw their way back in the top of the ninth. Three straight base hits loaded the bases to begin the inning. Pulaski then got a sacrifice fly from Deshazo and an RBI single from third baseman Brian Nicolas tying the game at 6-6 heading into the bottom half of the frame.
To start the frame, Diamond led off with a single. Following a strikeout, Williams hit into a fielder’s choice. With a runner on and two outs, enter Owusu-Asiedu. He worked himself into a 3-0 count, and got a fastball. He did not miss it, sending it an estimated 354 feet over the left field fence to end the game. Owusu-Asiedu said that he was just looking for a pitch to hit.
“My approach was just to see a pitch up,” Owusu-Asiedu said. “I got to 3-0, Coach gave me the green light, just wanted to see a pitch up and hit it hard.”
While the regular season has concluded, there is still one more game to be played in the Appalachian League. The West-winning Kingsport Axmen will travel to Burlington to face the East-winning Sock Puppets in the Appy League Championship. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Final                       R    H    E    LOB
River Turtles         6    11    2     10
River Riders          8     9     1      7
W: Wilfrido Valenzuela (1-0)
L: Brody Wilson (0-2)

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