Homeruns Power Tom Sox to VBL Championship
By: Zach Hamilton
For the second straight season, the Charlottesville Tom Sox are headed back to the Valley Baseball League Championship Series. Alex Mardiney picked up his first two homeruns of the summer in a 3-5 effort, while Zac Ching came up a triple shy of the cycle for the second time in three games. Kirby McMullen provide a solid five-inning start, while Evan Justice, Jake Hershman, and Bradley Hanner closed the door out of the pen. The Tom Sox will host New Market in game one of the finals at C-Ville Weekly Ballpark on Monday night at 7pm.
Charlottesville wasted no time flexing some muscle in the top of the first inning as Zac Ching crushed a solo homerun to leftfield. His second of the season and postseason put the Tom Sox on top 1-0. Covington’s Noah Bridges led off the bottom half of the inning with a blast of his own to rightfield to even up the score after one. The Lumberjack’s starter, Zac Burch was relieved after just one inning of work by Logan Mann, who quieted the Tom Sox in the second.
Starter Kirby McMullen settled in as well and shut down the next eight batters he faced. Davidson’s Alex Mardiney jumped on an 0-2 pitch from Mann and deposited it over the centerfield fence for his first homerun of the summer. The night saw its fourth long ball of the contest in the bottom of the fourth inning off the bat of Bennett Hostetler even the score once again.
Nick Bellafronto reached on an error to begin the fifth inning and later came around to score when Mardiney launched his second homerun of the day to put Charlottesville up 4-2. The Tom Sox were not finished in the inning as Ching picked a double. Patrick McColl brought the shortstop home on an RBI-single. The Lumberjacks responded in the bottom frame with another leadoff homerun. J.C. Santos made it a 5-3 game with his second of the summer. Connor Hood then singled and scored on an RBI-double by Noah Bridges to make it a one run advantage for the Tom Sox.
Tom Sox made a call to the bullpen in the sixth, bringing on left-hander Evan Justice. The NC State reliever struck out the side in the sixth and the offense showed up again in the seventh. Mardiney continued his night of hits with a single and McColl worked a one out walk. A wild pitch allowed Mardiney to double the margin at 6-4. Charlottesville loaded the bases on back-to-back singles by McMullen and Brett Centracchio. The second wild pitch of the inning resulted in McColl scoring to make it an 7-4 lead.
Covington continued to find answers for the Tom Sox offense. Santos began the seventh a single and Connor Hood walked against Justice. Jake Hershman came on in relief of Justice and the ground ball he needed. However, a bad break error by Charlottesville allowed a run to score. With Noah Bridges at the plate, he sent a sac-fly to centerfield to trim the deficit to just one at 7-6. Hershman was able keep Covington off the board in the eighth inning and Bradley Hanner came on and closed the door on the Lumberjack’s season for the 7-6 victory.
The Tom Sox advance to their second consecutive Valley Baseball League Championship Series. McMullen earned his second win of the summer with a solid five inning starter and Bradley Hanner picked up the save for Charlottesville. Cameron Crone was given the loss for #1 Covington. Game one of the Championship Series will take place at C-Ville Weekly Ballpark on Monday night at 7pm as the Tom Sox host the New Market Rebels.
|August 5, 2018||7:00 pm||Valley League Summer||2018|
|The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, West Oak Street, Covington, VA 24426, USA|
|Charlottesville Tom Sox||7||Win|