ELIZABETHTON, TN — The Kingsport Road Warriors jumped all over the Elizabethton River Riders.
The Road Warriors, hitting second as the defacto home team, plated a pair of runs in the first and shut down the River Riders across the first two innings.
However, Kingsport had to battle not just against Elizabethton but Mother Nature as well. Rain and lightning caused a one hour and 51-minute delay, sparking the River Riders to a 7-3 victory over the Road Warriors on Saturday night.
Kingsport left fielder Josh Hendricks struck first with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the first inning. Conner Hyatt followed with an RBI groundout to put the Road Warriors ahead, 2-0.
Right-hander Landon Slemp made quick work of the River Rivers, but in the top of the third, the skies opened up at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark.
Despite the lengthy interruption of play, Slemp returned to the mound. The Walters State commit tossed the opening 4 1/3 innings and recorded six strikeouts.
Elizabethton (19-16) tallied runs in four consecutive innings, grabbing its first lead in the fourth.
Shortstop Logen Sutton pulled Kingsport (0-2) closer, driving home Preston Steele to make it 5-3 in the fifth.
Cole Hales silenced the River Riders over the last three frames. The right-hander struck out two in his Appalachian League debut.
Despite Hales' efforts, Kingsport was unable to chip at Elizabethton’s advantage.
Up next, the Road Warriors and the River Riders wrap up the two-game set at 5:30 p.m. Sunday with a seven-inning contest.