Riders fall to Danville ninth-inning rally

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

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In a see-saw ballgame, the Elizabethton River Riders battled to a 5-5 tie until the ninth inning, when the Danville Otterbots put together a three-hit rally that earned them a 6-5 victory at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark.

“It was a good ballgame,” River Riders manager Jeremy Owens said. “I wish we could have swung the bats a little better tonight. They threw some fastballs by us and we didn’t make the adjustment.”

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The Riders fell to 4-8 on the season with the loss, but they overcame three Danville leads of 1-0, 2-1, and 4-1 to knot the game at 4-4 in the third inning when first baseman Kade Huff blasted a three-run homer.

Danville (6-5) took a 1-0 second-inning lead after Riders starter Colin Murphy walked Tanner McCammon to open the inning. One out later, Micah Dean singled to put runners on the corners. Cole Johnson then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate McCammon.

In the third, the Otterbots got another run on an opposite-field home run from Alex Connover for a 2-0 lead. It was Connover’s first Appalachian League home run. In the bottom of the frame, Elizabethton struck for a run on a single from shortstop Carlos Irizarry and an infield error by Danville that scored Irizarry.

The Otterbots answered with two runs in the top of the fourth with Johnson tattooing the center-field fence with a two-run double to stake Danville to a 4-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jaxon Diamond singled to open the inning. One out later, Irizarry was plunked to put runners on first and second. Huff, after fouling off three pitches, got one he liked and deposited it over the wall in right field to tie the game at 4-4 with his second home run of the young season.

“He got a slider he could handle, and he didn’t miss it,” Owens said. “It got us back in the game, and we took the lead in the fifth. Hats off to them; they got nine hits and hit with guys on base.”

In the fifth, Kain Collins and Jaydan Lobliner each singled. With two outs and Brady Picarelli at the plate, Ty Lawson on the mound uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Collins to score, making it a 5-4 game in favor of Elizabethton.

In the top of the sixth, a pair of errors by second baseman Diamond and a hit batter loaded the bases for Danville. A sacrifice fly from Addison Smith tied the score at 5-5. The game remained tied through the seventh and eighth innings before McCammon and Aden Hill singled with one out against Riders reliever Myles Green (0-1).

Johnson drove in his fourth run of the game with a single before Green struck out Jaxon Goldberg to end the threat. Johnson finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored and four RBIs. For the River Riders, Huff had two hits with three runs batted in.

Maison Martinez (1-0) got the win, with Garrett Hodges earning his first save while Green absorbed the loss.

Danville 6, Elizabethton 5

Danville: 011 201 001 — 6 9 1
River Riders: 001 310 000 — 5 6 2
W — Martinez
L — Green
HR — Connover (1), Huff (2)