Tom Sox Hang on to Defeat Royals, 5-3
The Charlottesville Tom Sox managed to hang on to an early lead despite a strong comeback attempt from the Winchester Royals as the Tom Sox (19-14) defeated the Royals (16-16), 5-3.
After starting pitchers Jared Wetherbee (Charlottesville) and Evan Richardson (Winchester) kept the game quiet through two full innings, the Tom Sox were the first to break onto the scoreboard with a five-spot third frame. Alex Mardiney started off the scoring with an RBI single before Nick Bellafronto pushed another runner home on a sacrifice bunt, giving the Tom Sox a 2-0 lead. But even with two outs on the board, the Tom Sox weren’t done scoring yet. Brett Centracchio bounced an RBI double off the fence to send Mardiney home before Nick Oar stepped up to the plate and blasted his first home run of the season over the left-field fence, bringing the home team’s lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third.
After their third-inning surge, the Tom Sox were stymied through their next few at-bats, as they were forced to strand five runners through the next four frame. Meanwhile, the Royals started to chip away at the deficit. In the sixth inning, Winchester loaded the bases on a hit, an error and a walk, scoring two runners on a hit-by-pitch and an RBI single. With three runners still on, the Royals threatened to cut even further into the Charlottesville lead, but a stretching double play from first baseman Brett Centracchio shut down the at-bat before the visitors could do any further damage. Winchester did pick up another run in the seventh, however, on an RBI groundout from Jordan Huntley that cut the Tom Sox lead to 5-3.
Relief pitcher Emilio Valdes entered the game in the eighth inning and tamped down any hope of the Tom Sox putting up an insurance run, as he struck out the side to send the ballgame into the top of the ninth. There, Hunter Gregory picked up his first save of the season as he ended the game with two strikeouts, allowing the Tom Sox to take a 5-3 walk-off win.
With tonight’s victory, the Tom Sox will improve to 19-14 on the season. They’ll finish out a four-game homestand tomorrow night at C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark as they take on division rivals the Covington Lumberjacks and look for their third win in a row.