CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox returned home after falling to the Covington Lumberjacks on the road Sunday night, still awaiting the first win of the year. The weather has been perfect for baseball, but the Tom Sox’s offense has been anything but. That all changed tonight at Charlottesville High School, as the ‘Sox were able to clinch their first season victory, defeating the Staunton Braves 13-8.
The Tom Sox offense finally broke out, matching the total number of runs from the first three games in the sixth inning alone.
The game began with a fantastic line-drive snag from third baseman Tyler Shelnut (Florida); momentum for a clean 1-2-3 inning. From the plate, Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) took the first pitch to the wall in left-center, and Gavin Abrams (Clemson) brought him home shortly after with his own shot in the same area. On both sides of the ball, the tone was set high.
The Braves responded quickly with a sacrifice fly to center from Grant Painter in the top of the second, sending home VBL batting average leader Joe Delossantos. The Braves took the lead shortly after from a line-drive down the third-base line from Jackson Price that set Bryant Goolsby up to score from second.
After the Tom Sox left a runner stranded at third, the Braves stepped further in front during the top of the third. A fielder’s choice single put Jeffrey Snider on first, and after two wild pitches, he progressed to third. Delossantosbrought him home with a single to right, giving the Braves an early two-run lead.
The Tom Sox revived the crowd in the bottom of the fifth, as Hunter Sute (Alabama) cracked a double to the gap in left-center, sending Shelnut (who reached via a walk) home from second, cutting the deficit to one.
The Braves took that personally, as they responded in the top of the sixth in powerful fashion. After Painter doubled down the third-base line, Chase Simmons sent a moonshot over the center-field fence that sent both of them home. Jackson Price gave the fans at CHS another cursed souvenir, as he walloped one to left field, making it back-to-back home runs. Simmons and Price became only the third pair of batters to hit back-to-back homers over the ‘Sox all-time. The carnage continued as an error allowed two more to cross the plate, giving the Braves a commanding 8-2 lead.
The Tom Sox, however, refused to phone-it-in. After Kyle Joye (Wake Forest), John Newton (UNC Wilmington), and Shelnut walked to load the bases, Sute singled to right, scoring two and cutting the deficit to four. Edwards was able to send Newton and Shelnut back to the dugout with a single to shallow right, creeping the Tom Sox closer. As his walk-up song suggested, Julian Rojas (Radford) painted the souls of any Braves fans in attendance black with a single to left, sending two more runs in and erasing the lead.
It seemed like the sixth inning put the Braves in need of a nap, because they became sloppy in the seventh. After Lance Tate (Hampden-Sydney) made quick work of the Braves in the top of the seventh, the Tom Sox took their first lead since the second inning due to an error at first that sent Newton home. Shelnut was able to score again off a single up the middle by Edwards due to another Braves error. A single by Satchell Norman (Florida Southwestern) then sent Menelik Israel (Duke) home after walking. Rojas put the Braves deeper in a hole with another 2-RBI single, making it 13-8.
Tyler McLoughlin (Emory) used straight heat to close the Braves out in the ninth, giving the Tom Sox their much-needed first win of the 2022 season.
The Tom Sox take the road to face the Braves once again on Wednesday night on the road at John Moxie Memorial Stadium. First pitch will be thrown at 7:30 p.m.
The win was the first of Ramon Garza’s coaching career.
The Tom Sox more than doubled their run output from the first three games combined – in fact, they matched the number in the sixth inning alone.
Gavin Abrams reached base in all five plate appearances on the night (2-for-2, three walks). Abrams now has seven walks in his first four games and is one of two players in team history to have seven walks in their first four games with the team. The other? Now-Head Coach Ramon Garza.
Lance Tate was once again outstanding for the ‘Sox, tossing a pair of scoreless frames with one hit. He has not allowed a run in six innings to start the season.
After collecting only one hit with runners in scoring position over the first three games, the Tom Sox collected six of them tonight.
Kyle Edwards now has a hit in each of the Tom Sox’s four games, the only player to do so. Abrams and Satchell Norman join him as the only players to reach base in all four games this season.