River Riders fall in extra innings

Published 9:36 am Monday, June 24, 2024

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Star Correspondent

In the new Appalachian League, if a game is tied in the ninth, the home team has a choice: either hit and try to score a run to win, or pitch to the other team and shut them down for the win. On Friday night, the Riders (5-9) chose to hit but left two runners in scoring position, and Kingsport took a 6-6 tiebreaker win.

The Axemen (6-7) took a three-run lead in the top of the fourth against Riders starter Christian Pencek when Nico Newman struck a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs. First baseman Devon Zirwas also scored.

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In the bottom of the fifth, the River Riders scored a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 3-2 on a double-play grounder from Brady Picarelli that scored Kevin Hall Jr. Later, shortstop Carlos Irizarri’s RBI single brought home Adam Magpoc.

“We were in some situations we misplayed,” River Riders manager Jeremy Owens said. “That’s why we’re here. We have to learn these things, and we have to learn from those mistakes.”

Newman drove in a run in the sixth for a 4-2 Kingsport lead, but the Riders put up a four-spot in the bottom of the frame to take a 6-4 lead. Colin Sloan worked a walk, Hall singled, and Sloan scored on a double by Magpoc, which put Hall at third.

Hall scored on a wild pitch from Kingsport reliever Trey Maples, and Picarelli’s double plated two more runs to give Elizabethton their first lead of the contest. Pencek pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs—all earned—on six hits, striking out seven and walking one.

The Axemen tied the score in the top of the seventh against Elijah Karney. Third baseman Cooper Torres doubled home a run, and center fielder Jet Gilliam reached on a fielder’s choice. He would come around to score on a single from left fielder Bryson Trammell to make it a 6-6 game.

Riders reliever Adam Arther pitched two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out three.

“There has got to be a progression in the learning process,” Owens said. “As long as we find a way to keep moving forward, we’ll figure it out.”

Kingsport 6-6 (tiebreaker)

Kingsport 000 301 200 – 6 11 0
Elizabethton 000 024 000 – 6 8 1