WOODSTOCK, Va. – After the game against the Lumberjacks was postponed due to bad weather and the loss on Tuesday after a courageous effort, the Charlottesville Tom Sox (22-11) came to Woodstock on Thursday (July 20), hoping to regain confidence. However, just like in Tuesday’s game, the comeback attempt fell just short with the Tom Sox falling 5-4.
The River Bandits chose Alex Walsh to take the mound. Aidan Teel (Virginia) was denied a home run after smashing the ball to the center field wall with an amazing play, robbing the ‘Sox of what appeared to be the perfect start. Walsh and the River Bandits started things off with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Tom Sox sent Zach Mack (San Jacinto) to the mound to begin the game. Although shortstop Kyle Edwards of ODU made a heroic diving attempt, Woodstock’s Max Galvin was able to send one through to collect the first hit for either side. It was much ado about nothing, though, as Mack collected back-to-back strikeouts to keep the ‘Bandits off the board in the first.
The Tom Sox had a runner on base to start the top half of the second inning at the top of the second when Nathan Fink (Florida Southwestern) reached base on an error. Henry Ford (Virginia) was the next batter, and he earned a walk for the ‘Sox, putting them in scoring position for the first time in the game. The next batter, David Wiley (Wofford) laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to set up a bases-loaded, no outs situation. Brady Gumpf (Notre Dame) did get a runner in for the first time in the game, but he grounded into an easy double play, and Salvy Alvarez (Florida Southwestern) grounded out, ending the threat.
Mack got into another jam in the second, walking the leadoff batter Hunter Smith. Smith stole second then advanced to third on a groundout, but Mack was once again able to get back-to-back punchouts to retire the side without damage.
Woodstock was able to even up the score in the third inning. A walk and single put two on with one out, and Mack was pulled after his 53rd pitch of the evening. He finished his day with 2.2 innings pitched, allowing two hits, one run, walking two, and striking out five; including the final batter he faced in Tomas Sanchez. Chris Arroyo (Florida) entered the game in his place and walked the first batter he faced before surrendering a wild pitch, allowing Chris Catalano to run home and tie the score.
Woodstock took the lead in the bottom of the 4th. Drake Bicknell continued his hot hitting as he successfully scored Ryan Wilson, who led off the inning with a double, on a hard-hit shot in the gap in right field. After striking out Catalano, Arroyo walked RJ Stinson before giving up a 2-run, bases-clearing double to Max Galvin, which gave Woodstock a 3-run advantage.
Arroyo found his rhythm after the double, striking out the final batter of the inning and working two more scoreless frames. He allowed just one baserunner across the fifth and sixth innings. Walsh, meanwhile, was on cruise control beginning in the third, walking a pair of ‘Sox over the next three innings but allowing no hits. The only additional baserunner to reach was Sergio Rivera (Florida Southwestern), who reached after Ryan Wilson dropped a routine throw from the shortstop.
In the top of the 7th, Rivera earned a 1-out walk to give the ‘Sox some pace on the bases. He was able to steal second and put a runner in scoring position for Charlottesville with Edwards at the plate. An inaccurate throw from the catcher Drake Bicknell allowed Rivera to reach third base safely and then go home, cutting the deficit to two. Edwards then planned a trek that would put an end to Walsh’s day and launch Jackson Rogers of the River Bandits’ bullpen into action. Rogers was able to limit the damage, walking Teel but keeping the Tom Sox off the board for the remainder of the inning.
Arroyo’s day came to an end in the seventh after issuing a 1-out walk to Tomas Sanchez. The Florida product finished his day with 3.2 innings, allowing three hits, three earned runs, four walks, and four strikeouts. Replacing him was Yordani Carmona (St. Thomas U.) who instantly ran into trouble. The first batter he faced, Joe Jaconski, lined a ball into right field for a single. It was misplayed by Fink, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Smith was easily able to bring Sanchez home with a sacrifice fly to left, erasing the run that Charlottesville scored in the previous frame.
In the top of the eighth, Ford got the ‘Sox off to a good start with a leadoff single to right field. He came all the way home from first on a double from Wiley to bring the Sox’s score to within two once more, 5-3. River Bandits manager Mike Bocock pulled Rogers after the hit, opting for Moses Brown V. Brown only faced two batters and did not record an out, walking pinch hitter Garrett Spikes (Georgia) and hitting Salvy Alvarez to once again load the bases with none out.
Bocock once again walked to the mound, bringing in Josh Nielsen to face Sergio Rivera. Rivera laid down a bunt on a safety squeeze that did not work as intended, as Wiley was tagged out at home to maintain the bases loaded but with one out. Kyle Edwards then struck out, giving Connor Hincks (Notre Dame) the final opportunity in the eighth inning. He was able to draw a walk, bringing the score within one as Spikes crossed the plate. Teel then came up and absolutely crushed the ball, but unfortunately for the ‘Sox, it was a routine flyout to right field, leaving three runners on base and the score at 5-4.
Bocock called on his fifth pitcher of the night, Rhett James, to secure a crucial save – however, things did not start as intended for the ‘Bandits. Fink led off with a triple that he absolutely blasted all the way over the head of the right fielder. With a runner on third with no one out, the Tom Sox looked to be in prime position to tie the score – however, James was able to settle down and record the final three outs, keeping Charlottesville just short of a comeback for the second game in a row.
The issue for the Tom Sox was failing to advance runners, as reaching base was not the problem. Charlottesville left 12 runners left on base, their most since July 6 in a loss to Purcellville, and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The ‘Sox will look to get back on the winning side Friday night (July 21) when they travel to Rebel Park, looking to retaliate after a loss in the same spot on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:30 P.M.
Charlottesville and Woodstock will play the final two games of their season series on Monday, with a doubleheader at CHO Airport Field beginning at 4 P.M.
The Tom Sox went 0-for-5 with a runner on third base and less than two outs.
Charlottesville falls to 6-5 against the River Bandits since Mike Bocock took over in 2019. They were previously 9-3 against Woodstock prior to Bocock’s tenure.
David Wiley continued his hot stretch as of late, going 4-for-7 with three RBI and two doubles in his last two games.