Riverdogs open Rumble with victory


star staff


  The East Tennessee Riverdogs come away victorious over the Avoca Pelicans by a final of 5-2 in the opening round of the 2nd Annual Rumble in the Mountains Tournament.
  The defense of the Riverdogs kept the Pelicans off the board through the first four frames, which became a vital key in their success.
  "We played good defense even though we didn't hit the ball like we needed too, but we still got the job done for we were fortunate," Riverdogs coach Gary Smith said.
  After being faced with bases loaded in the top of the first, the Riverdogs got a ground out to the second baseman Preston Smith to keep the Pelicans from cashing in early.
  A run was scored by the Riverdogs in the bottom of the frame, when Miles Key connected on a hit, driving in Smith.
  The Pelicans left a total of 10 runners on base through the first four innings.
  Bases were loaded for the Pelicans once again in the top of the fourth, but a pop-up to the third baseman Zack Messer resulted in the third out of the frame.
  "Our defense was fine, but now we need to start hitting," said Smith. "We did do pretty good when we had runners on base, to work hard through bunts, steals, and other things. We do a lot of hit and run, which we did tonight to score runs for us."
  The Riverdogs added to their lead through both the third and fourth frames.
  A hit from Christian Taylor to right field brought home Logan Bowers during the third inning, and two more runs crossed by the end of the fourth.
  Messer scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a double to right field.
  Another run scored when Drew Hyder smacked a double to left field which brought home Wes Issacs.
  The Pelicans finally caught a break in the top of the fifth, when an error led to their first run of the evening.
  A nice stop by Messer on a big hop would created the third out of the frame, but his throw to first was off which allowed Justin Presnell to score.
  The Riverdogs responded by coming back with a run of their own when Christian Taylor crushed a triple to deep right center field which drove in Bowers.
  Messer made up for his bad throw in the fifth frame, when he made a great diving stretch on a grounder down the third base line along with a throw to first for the out in the top of the sixth.
  "Our third baseman [Messer] made one pretty diving play out there," Smith said. "He made a great stop in the inning before and couldn't get settled to make the throw, but the diving stop down the line was the play of the day."
  Dustin Jaynes headed the mound for the Riverdogs through the first five and two-thirds inning, as the only run given up was unearned.
  "We got a good performance out of our starting pitcher today, for he had just a few walks and threw about 120 pitches through six innings for us," Smith said.
  After trailing 5-1 heading into the last frame, the Pelicans captured just one run off a wild pitch which scored Presnell.
  "We're going to have too start hitting the ball now," Smith said. "We just came back from the World Series in Florida, so we've let them rest, but we're going to have too get to work."