River Riders take seven inning contest with Bristol

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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In his second start for the Elizabethton River Riders starting pitcher Turner Swistak may have shown himself the ace of the staff. Swistak pitched four innings giving up two runs (none earned) while striking out four and giving up no walks and just three hits as Elizabethton earned a 6-3 victory over Bristol on Sunday.
It was his second strong start that saw first inning runs in each start.
“Just like the first game I had a rough start,” Swistak said. “As a pitcher any time you give up runs, it’s good that the team comes right back. It gives you the feeling that you can trust the guys playing behind you and that they are playing hard for you.”
The game opened with Derek Cease reaching on an infield error and Joe Kinneberg singled. Catcher Dalton Bargo hit a fly ball to rightfield for Bristol that was fielded by Matty Wright and his throw to third base struck the helmet of the diving Cease and went into the State Liners dugout.
That allowed both runners to move up with Cease scoring and Kinneberg moving to second. Kinneberg moved to third on a stolen base and scored when Swistak was called for a balk to make it a 2-0 Bristol advantage.
The River Riders (4-2) struck back quickly as Hayden Moore doubled to lead off the last of the first and consecutive singles from Brendan Jones, Knox Preston and Kerry Herndon-Brown brought home two runs to tie the score at 2-2.
While the Riders were scoring runs in the second, third and fourth innings Swistak was mowing down the Bristol hitters on two hits while Elizabethton built a 6-2 lead. The Riders got a run in the second on an RBI double from Moore that plated first baseman Keaton Cottam who walked and stole second base.
In the third, the Riders plated two more runs on a double from D.J. Dillehay and a ground ball from Peyton Basler and Cottam had an RBI single as well. Dillehay doubled in a run in the fourth to make it 6-2.
Relievers John Hollister, Kai Leckszus and John Harrick closed out the final three frames with Hollister allowing a run in the fifth on singles from Easton Rulli and Joe Cardinale and a ground ball out by Kinneberg.
Herndon-Brown collected three hits in this one to raise his average to .733 and when asked how he is transitioning to a wood bat, he said, “I have always used a wooden bat. I just like the feel and I have been working with the coaches on going the other way. I tried to pull the ball too much in college so I decided to take a different approach here and just go with where it’s pitched. So far, the results have been good.”
Dillehay collected his first two Appalachian League hits – both doubles – and Cottam got his first league hit as well. Manager Jeremy Owens said, “Sometimes it takes a mistake to get somebody to lock in and Swistak was locked in after that first inning. After he got past that he said no more and that is a starter’s mentality. The team got him two runs and that enabled him to take a deep breath and concentrate on the task at hand.”
River Riders 6-3 (7 innings)
Bristol 200 010 0 – 3 6 1
Elizabethton 212 100 x – 6 13 2
W – Swistak L – Nic Smith

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