KINGSPORT, TN - The Bluefield Ridge Runners defeated the Kingsport Axmen on Friday night, 9-7, in a come-from-behind effort. Errors were costly for Kingsport, as Bluefield (2-0) strung together nine unanswered runs late.
The postgame fireworks weren’t the only entertainment for the near-capacity crowd at Hunter Wright Stadium on Friday night. Malik Binns was electric on the mound to start the second game of the season for Kingsport, followed by sterling shutout performances out of the bullpen by Adam Parra and Cole Kirschsieper.
The Axmen (0-2) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning thanks to an RBI triple by Dante Leach, and RBI singles by Hunter Fitz-Gerald and MJ Rodriguez. The fifth inning was friendly to the Axmen, with a run-scoring walk by Ben Grable and two-run double by Jordan Varela-Payne (a pair of late roster additions).
The Ridge Runners would not quit. For the second night in a row Bluefield strung out six unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth, capped off by a Kendal Ewell grand slam. A diving catch by first baseman MJ Rodriguez stranded two and ended the rally.
Jefferson County HS graduate Casey Allen came in to try to close it out and was one out away, but Ewell came up with two on and two out and slapped a two-run go-ahead triple into the right-center field gap to give the Ridge Runners the 8-7 lead. Nathan Ackenhausen followed that up with an RBI double to give Bluefield insurance.
Kingsport welcomes in Johnson City on Saturday for a pair, starting at 7 p.m.. Fans can hear all Axmen games by going to https://www.mlb.com/appalachian-league/kingsport/fans/audio-listen-live.
Get your tickets for this local rivalry at www.axmenbaseball.com.