Tom Sox Advance to Division Finals with 3-2 Extra-Inning Victory
The Charlottesville Tom Sox trailed through the entirety of Saturday’s sudden-death matchup against the Waynesboro Generals until a clutch hit from Garrett Jones tied the game in the eleventh hour to send it into extra innings, where the Tom Sox (2-1) would defeat the Generals (1-2) and move on to the second round of the 2018 Valley Baseball League Playoffs with a 3-2 walk-off win.
Like in the opening two games of this first round series, the Generals were the first to get on the scoreboard in Saturday’s ballgame as Jacob Weirich scored on a groundout by Andrew Orzel to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second frame. Although the Tom Sox loaded the bases on walks in the next inning, they weren’t able to answer back as the Generals forced them to strand three.
Dealing with one of the most depleted rosters in the Valley Baseball League, the Generals had to slot a few pitchers into their batting order. That paid off for them as pitcher Nathan Schneider, in his second at-bat of the summer, connected for an RBI single to extend the Generals’ lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Although the Generals continued to threaten with the bases loaded, Hunter Gregory came on in relief and forced them through the final outs of the inning to keep Charlottesville within two.
Nick Bellafronto got one back for the Tom Sox in the bottom of the frame, putting a single in the right field gap to score Will Allocca and cut the Generals’ lead in half, 2-1. The Tom Sox managed to hold Waynesboro back from extending their lead with strikeout-heavy relief efforts from Gregory and Antonio Menendez on the mound, but couldn’t get on the board themselves, struggling to get on base as they were forced through the next four innings with just a single hit and two base runners.
In the bottom of the ninth, with just three outs between them and the end of their season, the Tom Sox found a spark as Nick Bellafronto and Alex Mardiney picked up back-to-back singles to put two runners on base. Pinch-hitter Jones then arrowed a one-out single down center field to score Mardiney, tying the game at 2-2 and sending the deciding ballgame into extra innings.
In the eleventh frame, the Generals ran into trouble as they loaded the bases on two walks and a hit. There, Kirby McMullen stepped up to the plate and drew a hit-by-pitch that sent the winning run home and propelled the Tom Sox into the Southern Division Finals with a 3-2 walk-off victory.
With the elimination of the Generals, there are now just three teams left in the VBL postseason. The Tom Sox will face off against the Lumberjacks on Sunday in Covington to determine the winner of the South Division in a single-elimination series. The victor of that game will then advance to play the New Market Rebels in the championship.
|August 4, 2018||3:00 pm||Valley League Summer||2018|
|1400 Melbourne Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA|
|Charlottesville Tom Sox||3||Win|