Riders swept by Bluefield, lose fifth straight

Published 10:21 am Monday, July 3, 2023

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For the second straight day the Appalachian League’s ‘sudden death’ rule was not good for the River Riders. The Ridge Runners scored a run in the 10th frame to complete a 2-1 win and take a three game sweep of Elizabethton on Friday night at Northeast Community Credit Union ballpark.
The Ridge Runners (11-10) win sent the Riders (10-11) to their fifth consecutive loss.
Spencer Atkins (1-1, 5.27 ERA) took the bump for Betsy and he was solid in his seven innings of work giving up no runs on seven scattered hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
“(Atkins) last two outings have been phenomenal,” said River Riders manager Jeremy Owens. “I hope young pitchers see that when you pound the zone and let your defense work for you good things can happen.”
The Riders blew a solid opportunity to take a quick lead in the last of the first when Brandon Jones led off with a triple but was stranded when Hayden Moore, Dylan Knowles and Austen Jaslove each struck out against Bluefield starter Colby Guy.
“We didn’t get a ‘W’ in our win column but you know what…we won tonight,” Owens said. “This is what this league is about. These guys were put in situations with the game on the line and in pressure situations. I tip my cap to Bluefield, and I’m sure they do the same to us. This is a league that these kids come to learn.”
Elizabethton broke through a scoreless game in the last of the eighth against Bluefield’s third relief pitcher Garrett Coiner as Moore doubled to centerfield and moved to third on a ground ball from Knowles.
A sacrifice fly to center field by Jaslove brought Moore home with a 1-0 lead and needing just three outs in the ninth to snap the four game losing skid. That did not happen as the Ridge Runners put together a game tying rally against Trever Callahan.
KaiKea Harrison doubled with one out and Brody Briggs singled to short putting Bluefield runners at the corners. A walk to James Hackett loaded the bases and an infield hit by Tyron Moore brought home the tying run.
The Riders decided to try defense this time for the win but Bluefield was up to the task as Daniel Barbero took first and went to second on a stolen base. Catcher Keaton Cottam dropped a third strike against Blake Guerin allowing Barbero to squeak in at third base despite a great throw from Cottam that looked to beat Barbero but he was called safe by infield umpire Courtney Clemons.
Tommy Harrison then hit a ground ball to drawn in second baseman Knowles but his throw to the plate was high and Barbero slid in safely for the win.
Ridge Runners 2-1
Bluefield 000 000 001 1 – 2 8 1
Elizabethton 000 000 010 x – 1 8 2
W – Brodersen L – Callahan

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