Tom Sox Put Down Rebels, 6-1
Both the Charlottesville Tom Sox and the New Market Rebels saw chances in the early innings of Tuesday night’s game, but only the home team converted those opportunities into runs as the Tom Sox (11-4) improved to their best season start in program history over the Rebels (9-9), 6-1.
The Rebels surged early against starting pitcher Kyle Nicolas, opening the game with a lead-off single and then walking the second batter to threaten in the top of the first. A double play and a fly out got Charlottesville out of hot water, but after going down in order at the bottom of the frame they put themselves right back in trouble in the next inning. After striking out the first batter, Nicolas put runners on first and third with two walks. But the Rebels were once again stymied, seeing the inning come to a close with one runner stranded and none delivered home.
After fighting back base appearances from the Rebels through the first two innings, the Tom Sox took advantage of similar struggles from New Market’s defense in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back walks put runners on first and second, which Anthony Lazar then converted into runs on a two-RBI double to put the home team up 2-0. In the next inning, Zac Ching got to first on an error, then stole second before being scored on an RBI single from Dominic D’Alessandro, giving the Tom Sox a 3-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.
Pitching for both teams settled down in the latter half of the ballgame. After picking up the three-run lead, the Tom Sox went through only nine batters in the next three innings, even as a steady drizzle sent a few pitches slipping wide of the strike zone. Jared Wetherbee made a strong relief appearance in the fifth and sixth frames, striking out four of the six hitters he faced and allowing zero hits and zero walks in two innings.
Evan Justice was called up to the mound to close out the game in the seventh. There, he faced a late push from the Rebels, who took advantage of back-to-back walks to once more put runners the corners. A timely strikeout by Justice, however, kept New Market from cutting into the Tom Sox lead. Charlottesville then put up a few insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, with three two-out RBI hits from Jack Morris, Will Allocca and Alex Mardiney that brought the score to 6-0 heading into the final frame.
Justice struck out the first two batters of the last inning and almost managed to close out the game cleanly before a last-minute home run from Jason Hinchman sailed over the fence and shattered the Tom Sox shutout. Nevertheless, the home team would improve to 11-4 with the 6-1 win, marking their best record through 15 games in four years as a team. Charlottesville is now 8-0 at C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark and will ride a two-game win streak as they head out to face division opponents on the road in Waynesboro and Staunton on Wednesday and Thursday.