Defensive miscues cost River Riders, drop contest to Axmen

Published 3:03 pm Monday, July 31, 2023

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By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
A couple of sloppy innings cost the River Riders Sunday night as they dropped the opener of their final series in the 2023 season, and although they went out swinging, it would be too little too late. After getting two outs in the top of the first, Axmen Corbin Shaw would reach on a called catcher’s interference and then Deniel Ortiz would follow up on a soft liner to left. Then on a 3-2 count Carson Queck would hit a home run to left field to put the Axmen up 3-0. The River Riders would try to respond in their half of the inning but a Kade Huff strikeout and an Angel Lobo hard grounder to third would strand Kerry Herdon-Brown and Trey Fenderson at second and third to end the Elizabethton threat.
Both teams would go relatively quiet until the top of the fifth when the Axmen would start the inning off with Kevin Fernandez being hit by a fastball and Noah Gent reaching on an infield error off the throwing arm of Trey Fenderson. The high throw would allow Fernandez to come all the way around to make the new score 4-0 Axmen. Another wild pitch would allow Gent to move to third; River Rider’s catchers Keaton Cottam would then pick off Axmen Mike Mancini, who was attempting to steal second and the River Riders looked as though they might get out of the inning while limiting the damage but a passed ball by Cottam would allow Gent to scoot home to make it 5-0 Axmen.
The River Riders would get on the board in the bottom of the sixth as Fenderson would start the inning off with a single off a ground ball that ate up Axmen shortstop Mayes White; he would then take advantage of a Kade Huff walk and a wild pitch to advance to third. Peyton Basler would later pick up the RBI as a slow roller to short would score Fenderson, making it 5-1. Dylan Knowles would hit a two-run bomb to right-center in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-4, but the River Riders would get no closer in the shortened seven-inning Sunday contest.
The River Riders would outhit their opponents 5-3 in the game. Knowles would pick up three RBIs in the game, while Fenderson would get two base hits and raise his batting average to .301 on the year. Pablo Torres would be strong off the mound, pitching 1.2 innings and giving up no hits and recording two strikeouts. The River Riders will play their final game of the 2023 season tonight at home, featuring both a free t-shirt giveaway and $1 night. The game is slotted for a 7 pm first pitch time.

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