Interstate 81 and the Winchester Royals Get the Better of Charlottesville on Sunday
By: Zach Hamilton
A day full of sitting in traffic turned into a 2-1 walk-off win for Winchester on Sunday night. Jared Wetherbee shined on the mound over five innings of work; allowing just one hit and striking out eight Royals in his start. The Tom Sox produced their only run of the ballgame with two outs on a double by Nick Oar and single by Kirby McMullen. After many of the games in the Valley Baseball League, Charlottesville remains in second place in the south division.
Designated hitter, Anthony Lazar led off the ballgame with an infield single against Winchester starter, Dylan Gentry. However, the Marist product was stranded on base. Jared Wetherbee took to the mound for Coach Corey Hunt and wasted no time going right after the Royals lineup. Neither offense could get anything going until the top of the fourth inning. With two outs in the frame, catcher Nick Oar crushed a double of the wall in rightfield. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, Oar came around to score the contest’s first run on an RBI-single by Kirby McMullen. The Tom Sox kept the inning going with another single and a dropped third strike by the Royals. However, Gentry was able to strand the bases loaded.
Wetherbee continued to hold the Royals at bay over his five innings of work. The left-hander out of Elon shined with eight strikeouts and only allowed one hit. Colby Lee came on in relief in the sixth inning. Winchester was able to capitalize on a lead-off error by shortstop Zac Ching. Jordan Huntley reached on the error and tied the game on a sac-fly by Winchester’s Jonathan Butler to make it 1-1 after six innings.
Charlottesville was able to fill the bases with no outs in the seventh off of an error, walk, and hit-by-pitch against new arm Bryan Whitacre. The Tom Sox were unable to push across the go-ahead run on thanks to a fly out and line-drive double play. Evan Justice relieved Lee and continue the line of strong pitching for the Tom Sox. Both Whitacre and Justice did well over their first few innings of work.
In the bottom of the ninth, Aaron Palensky reached base with one out via a walk against Justice. The southpaw was able to induce a groundball for the second out that did not allow Palensky to advance. After an intentional walk to Samyr Santos, Michael Dodson stepped to the plate and singled into rightfield to drive in the winning run.
Whitacre earned the victory with three innings of shutout relief for his first win of the summer for Winchester. Meanwhile, Justice picked up his third loss of the summer while pitching three innings and striking out five. With the 2-1 loss, Charlottesville moves to 23-16 on the summer and will remain in second place in the south division with three games remaining in the regular season. Winchester moved above .500 with the victory and are now at 19-18 on the summer. The Tom Sox will remain on the road tomorrow as they travel to New Market for a 7:30pm first pitch. The Royals will remain home as they host Strasburg at 7pm tomorrow night.