River Riders topple Axemen

Published 10:41 am Friday, July 5, 2024

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In a total team effort, the Elizabethton River Riders took a 7-1 victory over the Kingsport Axemen on Thursday night at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark. Spencer Powell retired all 12 hitters he faced over four innings, and Tanner Waldrop’s first-inning grand slam got the offense rolling.

Waldrop crushed a two-ball, one-strike pitch over the wall in right field to stake the Riders (10-15) to a 4-0 advantage.

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“We played really well as a team tonight,” Waldrop said. “I feel like a lot of things are starting to come together for us. Hitters are getting in early to work on their swings, and we are getting better results.”

After Waldrop’s blast—his third home run of the season—the Riders added one more run when Carlos Irizarry singled and came around to score on an infield error, completing a 5-0 first-inning explosion. Elizabethton starting pitcher Powell (2-1) struck out four and did not walk a batter as he retired every hitter he faced. Elijah Karney came on and worked three innings, giving up one run on one hit.

“I want to say that our guys are figuring it out and playing as a team,” River Riders manager Jeremy Owens said. “The guys are playing a lot cleaner games, and we are throwing more quality strikes. Our hitters are taking advantage of mistakes in the zone.”

The Riders added two runs in the fourth when James Hall II walked to open the frame and Cole Torbett doubled him home. Colin Sloan’s single then plated Torbett for a 7-0 lead. In the fifth, with one out, Cal Sefcik got the only hit of the game for Kingsport—a double to left field.

Sefcik moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a ground ball off the bat of Charlie Rogan. For the River Riders, Torbett finished two-for-four, and Waldrop was two-for-five. On the mound, Carson Caudill and Johnny Montgomery each pitched a shutout inning following Karney.

Elizabethton 7-1

Kingsport 000 010 000 – 1 1 1

River Riders 500 200 00x – 7 9 0

W – Powell (2-1) L – Milburn (1-1)

HR – Waldrop (3)