The James River baseball team had the sacks full with the tying runs in the seventh inning but couldn’t get them in as the Knights dropped a 5-2 game to Salem at Billy Sample Field in Salem Monday.
The Knights trailed 5-0 after six innings but rallied in the top of the seventh, scoring twice and loading the bases before Salem got out of the jam. Up to that point it had been all Salem, as the Spartans scored four times in the first inning and appeared to be coasting to the win before the seventh inning uprising.
The Knights had four hits in the game, but none until the fifth inning when John Austin doubled to the left centerfield alley. River wouldn’t get another hit until the seventh, when Ben Bailey, Zeal Hammons and Austin all had big hits around some walks and a couple Salem miscues.
Aiden Shotwell made his first start on the mound for the Knights. He struggled through a tough first inning but settled down and pitched three scoreless frames after that. Logan Joyce pitched the last two innings and gave up one run.
With the non-district loss River dropped to 11-6 overall. The Knights are 6-1 in the Three Rivers District after splitting a doubleheader with Carroll County in Springwood last week. River was scheduled to play at Radford Tuesday, but results were too late for publication.
Last Thursday against Carroll the visiting Cavaliers took the first game, 4-0, as Isaiah Edwards shut out the Knights on four hits in a five-inning game. Jonas Wilkes had two hits for River and Dalton Hall and Bailey had one each. Heath Andrews took the loss on the mound despite fanning six Cavs.
In the nightcap the Rivermen earned a split with a 4-2 win. Taylor Wilson and Zeal Hammons combined for a five-hitter while Austin had three hits and two runs batted in for the Knights.
River will be home Friday to host Alleghany in a Three Rivers game and the Knights will wrap up the regular season next Wednesday, May 18, when Radford comes to Springwood for a return trip.