Tom Sox Fall in Extras to Braves, 3-1
The Charlottesville Tom Sox held onto a 1-0 lead through most of Tuesday night’s pitchers’ duel against the Staunton Braves, but a last-minute error would eventually sink them as the Tom Sox (16-12) fell in extra innings to the Braves (14-13), 3-1.
Jared Wetherbee began on the mound for the Tom Sox in his first season start and threw five solid innings for the home team, striking out nine batters and keeping the Braves to just one walk, a single hit and no runs. Meanwhile, despite a similarly stellar showing from the Braves’ starting hurler in Justin Showalter, the Tom Sox got on the board in the fifth inning. Nick Bellafronto opened up the bottom of the frame with a lead-off double before Stanford teammate Nick Oar scored him on an RBI single, allowing Charlottesville to take the first lead of the game, 1-0.
The Tom Sox managed to hold onto that advantage through the next three innings despite some dangerous surges from Staunton. Hunter Gregory, coming onto the mound as relief in the sixth inning, ran into trouble in the seventh and eighth frames as Staunton pushed runners all the way to third base, but twice managed to dance out of trouble with a few timely strikeouts.
The Tom Sox came within one out of closing out a 1-0 walk-off win in the top of the ninth, but trouble came with a two-out ground ball off the bat of Braves pinch hitter Chad Cooperman. A ground out turned into an RBI single on an infield error, and the Braves scored to tie the game and force the Tom Sox into the bottom of the ninth, 1-1.
With Charlottesville unable to get anything going in two extra frames, it was again Cooperman who would make the difference, as he arrowed an RBI triple into the right field gap to give the Braves a 2-1 lead in the top of the eleventh. Pinch hitter Eric Conner then scored him to extend the visitors’ lead. The Tom Sox went down quietly in the bottom of the eleventh and would concede the defeat, 3-1.
With the loss, the Tom Sox will fall to 16-12 on the summer and 8-9 in the Valley Baseball League South, forcing their division record below .500 for the first time since their 2016 season. Charlottesville will look to get back in the win column as they hit the road for two away games on Wednesday and Thursday before returning to C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark on Friday for a rematch against the Braves.