River Riders fall to Otterbots despite strong start

Published 9:55 am Friday, June 21, 2024

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On Wednesday night, the Elizabethton River Riders wasted a masterful pitching performance and relinquished a four-run lead as Danville rallied for a 13-4 victory. Manning West opened the game on the hill for Betsy, and over five innings of work, struck out 11 Otterbots hitters and made just one mistake.

In the fifth, he hit Addison Smith with a pitch, and an infield error put two Danville runners on base. Jaxon Goldberg then smashed a three-run home run to make it a 4-3 game. West surrendered three runs—two earned—on just one hit and got no decision.

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“He didn’t have great fastball command, but his breaking ball was working, and he was able to pitch and found ways to get strikes,” River Riders manager Jeremy Owens said. “He gave us a chance to win.”

The Riders (4-9) got a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Leandro Perez and added three more in the fourth on a single from Trent Rice to open the frame.

Tanner Waldrop walked, and both runners pulled off a double steal. Perez drove both home with a sharp single to center field. Austin Hartsell drew a two-out walk, and Brady Picarelli singled home Perez for a 4-0 Riders lead.

The Riders ran themselves out of potentially more runs when Hartsell was thrown out trying to reach third base on Picarelli’s hit. They did so again in the seventh when Adam Magpoc stole second, and the throw went into center field, and he took off for third but was thrown out to end the inning.

“We ran ourselves out of a few innings,” Owens said. “I can accept first-week mistakes, but when we are getting into the third week of the season and still making mistakes, then I am not doing my job. We have to eliminate the mistakes we are making at the plate and in the field.”

The Otterbots (7-5) scored two runs in the sixth against Jacob Pointer (0-1) on a hit batter, a single from Cole Johnson, an RBI double from Smith, and a bases-loaded walk for a 5-4 Danville lead.

The Bots tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth for a 7-4 advantage, and in the ninth, the wheels fell off the wagon as Danville plated six runs on five hits against Gus Rogers. In the rally, the Bots got RBI hits from Johnson, Smith, Charlie Carter, Carrington Aaron, and Aden Hill.

Danville 13, Elizabethton 4

Danville 000 032 116 – 13 10 1

Elizabethton 100 300 000 – 4 7 1

W – Lewis (3-0) L – Pointer (0-1)

HR – Goldberg (1)