Tom Sox Fall at Harrisonburg, Close Season as #2 Seed
By: Zach Hamilton
Charlottesville falls victim to a late-game surge by Harrisonburg; drops season finale 2-1. In a ballgame where hits were of a premium, the Tom Sox were unable to push across key runs. Max Bazin drove in the only run of the night for Charlottesville and Sean McCracken shined on the mound with 5 shutout innings. Finishing with a record of 24-18, the Tom Sox will begin postseason play tomorrow night as the #2 seed in the South Division.
Harrisonburg starter Luke Scherzer quieted the bats of Charlottesville through the early innings, picking up 4 strikeouts over the first two innings of the contest. Head Coach Corey Hunt gave the ball to right-hander Sean McCracken to begin the night. The John Hopkins’ arm stifled the Turks offense in what was shaping up to be a pitcher’s duel.
The Tom Sox found offense in the top of the third inning when Alex Mardiney led off the frame with a single to rightfield. Mardiney later came around to score on an RBI single by 2nd baseman Max Bazin. With the Tom Sox on top 1-0, McCracken finished his strong outing of five shutout innings.
With both offenses nonexistent, both teams worked into the bullpen. Evan Justice came on in relief of McCracken and provided one shutdown inning. In the top of the seventh, the Turks called on Cade Bullinger to replace Scherzer, who finished with six innings pitched and eight strikeouts. Luke Burton completed a clean seventh inning for Charlottesville.
Michael Portela took to the mound for the bottom of the eighth, however, the Turks found a way to climb back in the ballgame. A leadoff walk by Austin Embler turned into a run for Harrisonburg after Jack Wilson tied the game with a double to rightfield. After recording two outs, Cam Irvine singled home Wilson to give the Turks a 2-1 advantage. Bullinger got a key double play in the ninth to propel Harrisonburg into the playoffs.
Bullinger earned his second win of the campaign, meanwhile, Portela picked up his 1st loss of the summer. Charlottesville finishes the regular season at 24-18 and secures the second seed in the South Division. The Turks snag the fourth and final playoff berth with the win and move to 20-22 on the season. The Tom Sox will open up the postseason at C-Ville Weekly Ballpark on Sunday night against the Waynesboro Generals. First pitch is set for 7:00 PM. Harrisonburg will travel to Covington on Sunday night at 7:00 PM to begin their postseason.